This is a hard question to answer. Many people think about the quality of the fabric or the amount of work involved in designing the garment; all that matters is that the garment looks good. A good dress might involve a lot of embroidery or some form of design detailing. A bad dress is a poor fit, and a piece of vintage clothing is just bad.
What types of items sell best?
This is a really tough question. On one hand, everything that sells is fashion. If a garment isn’t up to your standards, you certainly can’t buy it. You’ll probably find it out of production or be unable to find or purchase that item.
On the other hand, I think every item has a niche and every product/searches have an audience. You’re going to find a good, functional and stylish item that is affordable for all. You’ll find something beautiful but not the most practical for every person in the world. A great way to figure out what items are good and what aren’t is to look to the past. You’re going to find garments that are pretty but were never mass-produced, clothing that was simply designed in the pre-WWII era that didn’t get around to a mass production until the 70s or so. (This is a bit of an unpopular viewpoint since it doesn’t fit well with current fashion trends, but I think it’s a good way of looking for good stuff.)
The next issue is a bit more specific. If you know what you’re shopping for, chances are the item is in the “best-selling” section. A garment may be in a category where it ranks pretty highly but is not the cheapest item in that category because the “best selling” item is usually the pricier or more expensive item. This means that a dress has lots of potential but may not be the best fit of the bunch because of the pricier item (see this post about cost vs. price). This may also lead you to some bad fits as you try out different size, weight, fabric types, etc.
Now that I think of it, I can see where a designer might think that the “best selling” items are the newest, most glamorous or highest quality models. This is not going to be true though. A few dollars in the “best selling” section could mean everything else in the category. So the first thing I would do is to look at where clothing goes on the “best selling” section.
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