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Choosing Quality Clothing: 7 Things to Check

6/29/2017

Choosing Quality Clothing: 7 Things to Check

Which is better: a closet full of cheaply made clothes or a few amazing, quality pieces? When faced with a choice like this, most people would choose quality over quantity. There are so many reasons to buy better clothing. Well-made clothes last years instead of months, make you feel good about yourself, and save time and space. With today's trend toward minimalism, more and more consumers are looking for quality in their clothes.

But how do you know a piece of clothing is well-made? You can't just look at the price tag. While more expensive clothing is often better quality, these two traits don't always go hand in hand. Instead, learn a little about clothing and the way it's made. Here are seven ways to figure out if your clothing is of decent quality.

Look at the Fabric

Just like you read labels at the supermarket for sugar and fat content, you should read the labels on clothing so you'll know what it's made of. Natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, silk, cashmere, linen, and bamboo, can last longer than synthetics. However, that's not to say that quality clothing can't be made of synthetic fibers.

One of the ways to know you have a quality fabric is to touch it. How the fabric feels is called the hand of the fabric. If the fabric feels coarse, the garment is probably cheaply made.

Look at the Fabric

Are Buttons and/or Thread Included?

When designers include buttons and extra thread, that's a good sign of quality. It means the piece will likely last long enough to need a quick repair or two. Even if you don't anticipate making the repairs yourself, always save buttons and thread. A tailor can easily make the repairs for you if you have the original spare parts.

Buttons & Thread

Examine the Seams

Look inside the garment at the seams--the places where two pieces of fabric have been sewn together. Seams need to be straight--if they aren't, the garment won't fit correctly. Seams should also be finished. This means they should be bound together with a special kind of stitch, leaving no rough edges of fabric. Rough edges can fray, making threads from the fabric's weave come off of your clothing.

Seams

Check the Stitches

A trick for checking the quality of stitches is to hold the garment up to the light while separating a seam. If you see a lot of light, that means the stitches are too far apart, making the garment likely to rip easily. Stitches should look small, flat, and uniform. Loose or broken stitches are a sure sign of a poorly made piece. If it's falling apart on the hanger, it's not likely to stay together on your moving body.

Stitches

Look at the Details

Details matter to the overall look of clothing. Designers pick buttons, zippers, and embellishments to enhance their designs. Cheap-looking buttons can ruin a shirt and are a sure sign of low quality. Buttons can be made of many materials, including mother-of-pearl, plastic, resin, and bone. It's not so much the button's material that indicates its quality, but the size, style, and placement of the button.

Plastic zippers don't lay as flat as metal zippers and tend to break sooner. A quality piece would be unlikely to include a plastic zipper.

Details

Do the Patterns Match Up?

Nothing says cheap like patterns not matching up at the seams. Think of a striped shirt. The stripes should go across or around your body continuously, without interruption. This is done by lining up the seams correctly. If a manufacturer doesn't take the time to do this, they are probably cutting corners elsewhere are well.

Patterns

How's the Fit?

In the end, it doesn't matter how a piece fits on the hanger. What matters is how it fits on your body. Well-made clothes fit better because they drape better on your body. One way designers do this is with more seams. The seams should align correctly with your body, especially in the shoulders.

Fit

There are many advantages of choosing quality over quantity when it comes to clothing. Try these tactics, and you won't be surprised by clothes that fall apart right after you buy them.

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