Short on Price, Long on Value

I think most will agree that I have a bit of a thing for bargains, although there is considerable dispute about what a bargain actually is. For instance, there are those who consider a pair of bespoke shoes from Cleverley to be stupendously expensive, and those who consider them ‘excellent value.’

Worth is generally subjective, and there are many items of clothing that – at both ends of the price spectrum – can represent either a fortunate steal or a lavish waste.

I have fair experience with both, and the delight when one realises the former is only equalled by the disappointment with the latter; there is nothing worse than purchasing an item only to find it months or even years later, crumpled and dusty at the bottom of the wardrobe, sad and forgotten.

I recently found a jumper that I must have worn on only a couple of occasions that, while relatively inexpensive as a purchase, is actually something of an absurd extravagance – and one which often comes when one purchases something because it is cheap, rather than because it is worth having.

However, it is possible to keep your nerve and find a combination of economy and worth in the marketplace, and it is especially worthwhile when the prospected utility of the item is limited by forces outside of human control; in this case, the British weather.

I have slowly been amassing a collection of cotton shorts as the pairs from my youth are of a strange cut and/or style and have had to be condemned. I now own some of stone blue linen, seersucker, white and mustard but I have looked to add to this collection without spending significant sums of cash; there’s nothing sadder than a pair of designer shorts on a glum Englishman who stares from his window at the driving rain outside.

H&M shorts

After some indifferent searching, I found a pair that fit the bill. There are those who would scoff at items purchased from the famous, pile ‘em high Swedish clothing colossus H&M. Any money spent at the store, they would argue, is wasted. I am not so dismissive. In fact, I have been something of a cheerleader for the store, simply because some items of clothing represent, what I would consider to be, a bargain.

Case in point; this pair of smart, 100% cotton shorts bought for £7.99. Most of the cheap to mid-range high street stores like TopMan, Zara and Uniqlo have been retailing cotton shorts at between £20 and £35 – not a bad price, considering the recent spike in the cost of cotton – but, at the lower range, more than double the cost of those from H&M.

“There has to be something wrong with them”, the most practical and non-brand focused gentleman would be excused for saying, but he would be wrong. In comparison to other more expensive shorts I own, they are perhaps a little less refined when it comes to the stitching, but this is not immediately noticeable. Crucially, they don’t look like they’re going to fall apart after a couple of summers.

For such an item, I would expect to pay up to £18, but here they were priced at less than half that amount – and not even part of a promotion. I purchased a khaki pair but may well return for a pair of bright green or blue.