Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All American Clothing Co. vs. Land's End

So, I wanted to be a big ol' suck-up to one of my profs and make him an iron-on t-shirt and, like all liberal arts professors, he is a hippie so I also wanted to use socially-conscious materials.  I found an online store called All American Clothing Co. that sells only union-made clothes manufactured in the USA.  I ended up buying more than the t-shirt because they had a deal where if you bought 75-dollars worth of stuff you got free shipping.  All in all, I ended up getting one t-shirt, a 3-pack of black work socks and pair of black twill work pants for the Old Man, and two pairs of argyle socks for myself. The socks I was especially pleased with because they are Wigwam-brand socks, probably one of the few remaining sock manufacturers in the US.

I was fretting momentarily about the cost and then realized if I had bought the same items from Land's End (our usual default online store for work clothes and what-not) I would probably have paid the same or similar.
I ended up obsessing on this question for the 5-7 working days it took for the package of clothing to arrive and decided to blog about the comparison of the two companies and their offerings.
So, I already know that my purchases from All American Clothing Co. was $82.91 for the items I described above.  I tried to arrange the screencaps of the two different businesses so that the Land's End items would be on the left and the All American Clothing Co. stuff was on the right.  From first glance you can see that the prices are fairly similar for clothing with similar features. Looking at the prices in black on the LE side, since the red indicates a sale-price, the cost of the LE items next to their comparable AAC counterparts is way more for the t-shirt and crew socks; it's a little more for the LE pants than the AAC pants, and the AAC argyles were actually more than the comparable patterned women's socks offered by LE.  Below is a somewhat coherent chart describing the cost breakdown and the totals.  So, if you include the extra pair of socks I would have gotten from LE in their 3-pack, it comes to about the same price.

Now, you may be asking, "Michele, when have you ever paid for anything full-price at Land's End?" and I would have to say, not too often.  The only things I pay full-price for are work pants and shirts for my husband.  Land's End, I have to admit, makes a fine work shirt that lasts a long, long time through numerous washings (I'm sorry if it sounds like a plug, but it's true).  But, the black twill work pants we got from AAC are pretty sweet, too, with welt pocket construction, a gusset for "extra comfort" (they even have a link to explain what a gusset is), and a special welt pocket on the right leg for your cell phone because, when you're on the construction site, you need quick access to your communication device.  That's what I think.

Land’s End
Cost per item
All American CC
Cost per item
Crew socks
19.50 (3 pack)
Crew Socks
10.99 (3 pack)
Ladies socks
16.50 (3 pack)
Ladies socks
23.98 (for 2 pairs)



I'm pretty convinced that buying from AAC is the better option, mostly because when you buy from them you know you are buying stuff that's been what they call "grown and sewn" in the USA.  It gives Americans jobs and anything that helps our national economy, especially now, is a good choice.  My only big question is whether or not the clothes are union-made.  I find it interesting that the site doesn't state anywhere if this is the case; I was linked to the AAC site from the Union Plus website, which lists union-made clothing manufacturers.  As a caveat, the t-shirt I bought did state on the label that it was union-made, so at least my prof is going to get the ultimate in socially-conscious apparel.

I've decided that one of my new projects is going to be how far I can get with buying union-made clothing for our family.  My next stop: Bras.
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