Professional women’s evaluation of the quality of career wear

  • M Smith
  • HM de Klerk
  • L Fletcher


Professionally employed women have considerable spending power and clothing constitutes the third largest household expenditure. Personal image is important to career growth, thus satisfying the career wear needs of this market segment is important to retailers.

Quality evaluation occurs at two stages during the consumer decision-making process. Firstly, quality is evaluated during the decision-making stage, and secondly during product use. Quality indicators used may differ during these two stages.

Both intrinsic and extrinsic product features play a role in the consumer’s quality evaluation. The intrinsic product features primarily influence the tangible quality indicators (functional and sensory indicators). Extrinsic product features, such as brand name, price, store image and the “hanger appeal” of the garment, directly influence the non-tangible quality indicators (emotional, cognitive and influence of self and others). Inexperienced consumers may use extrinsic product features as an indication of the quality of a product.

Through the use of T-tests and the Pearson’s correlation coefficient it was found that respondents used similar quality indicators to evaluate career wear quality both during the decision-making stage and during product use. Tangible quality indicators were seen as significantly more important than non-tangible quality indicators during both stages of quality evaluation. 


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eISSN: 0378-5254