What Products are Worth the Name Brand?

name brand

So there I was sitting at a friend’s party with two women I didn’t know that well. One was a friend of a friend, and she was telling the other woman about her wedding dress, which had experienced an unfortunate accident at the hands of a seamstress.

Apparently, the seamstress made a pretty big mistake, and she wasn’t going to be able to wear it. She sat there telling her story almost near tears, and then exclaimed, “and it was a Vera!”

I felt for her – I really did. No woman wants her wedding dress ruined. However, it was her emphasis on the word Vera (as in Vera Wang) that kind of irked me, as if the name brand of the dress made the situation even more dire. I’m sure she spent a considerable amount of money on her dress, and rightly so since Vera Wang dresses are absolutely stunning. However, it was her tone that made me wonder if she expected the name brand and the price to make her dress exempt from seamstress disasters? Surely no brand name has that sort of magic…

Buying Name Brands

When brainstorming for this post, I tried to think about everything I buy that is a name brand. One weird thing I’m devoted to is name brand q-tips. The off brand just doesn’t have the same… fluffiness? However q-tips are a far cry from Vera Wang so it’s not that much of a luxury. ;-)

I actually buy off brand laundry detergent, cereal, canned goods, and tons of other items. It’s kind of hard to buy shoes and cars and clothes without some sort of brand on them, but I’ll usually purchase clothing from Target versus something with a “better” name on the tag.

However, I’ve learned recently that name brand diapers are definitely worth the extra money. It only took getting peed on twice in one night by two different kids to convince me of that! :-) (Editor’s note – I think we learned the exact same lesson too! Getting urine on you has a funny way of causing you to spend a little more. ;-) )

Name Brand Experiences

I also find it interesting that so many experiences and vacations are falling under the name brand category too, like taking a “Disney” or a “Sandals” vacation versus one that’s off the beaten path and lesser known. Also, I feel like many people purchase “name brand pets,” ones with special pedigrees or certain breeds. (My dog, the side of the road rescue mutt, is about the furthest thing from that!) However, I definitely fell for the name brand college and have a nice student loan payment every month to remind me of it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that name brands are all around us whether it’s a can of green beans or an entire branded vacation. Some of them are definitely worth it and exude quality and style while others are simply overrated.


What are some name brand items that you buy consistently? Be honest: Is it because of the name or because it’s actually really great quality?

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Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer and blogger. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog,

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