INEFFICIENCY: The Dress Mess

It was a genuine sheepskin coat, chic, classy and no less than $ 175 off the rack at Saks Fifth Ave. When its wearer reached for a taxi door one morning, only a part of the sheep went with her: the left sleeve tore away from the armhole. A fluke perhaps, but not if the sour suspicions of a swelling number of retailers and their customers are correct. In all price ranges, women's clothing is suffering a major crisis of quality.

Dangling threads, unpressed seams, bulging linings, drooping hems, pop-off buttons, crooked pockets,...

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