Do You Know How to Identify Quality Clothes?


Do you know how to identify quality clothes? I don’t know about you but it happened to me before : My new t-shirt looks old and worn with just 1-2 wash.

We shop constantly, and always want more new stuff, creating a culture of disposable, low-quality clothes. The quality of our clothes is in decline, some argue, and the culprit is a global fashion system that prioritizes lightning-fast production and a cheap price tag.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a clothing expert to judge whether that next item you’re thinking of buying is good quality or not. Shopping smart means investing in quality clothes that look good and last longer. Here’s how to spot high-quality clothing when you’re shopping:

Quality Clothes quality seam

1. Check the seams on clothes – inside and outside!

Fabric isn’t the only element that matters. Look at the seams of any outfit you’re thinking of buying to make sure they are even, closely spaced and lay flat on the fabric. Also pay attention that seams are free of puckers and other irregularities. If it’s already falling apart on the hanger, it’s going to be no friend of yours.

Then, flip the piece inside out, and look at how the seams were finished. Unfinished edges are a sign of poor quality. Serged edges connote quality, but French seams, flat-felled seams, and bound seams are the true mark of quality. Learn a bit about seams, so you can identify well-made pieces.

2. Choose easy to maintain clothes

If an item under $100 has to be dry cleaned, you will end up spending more on the maintenance than it’s actually worth. Synthetic fabrics are notorious for piling and require a lot of special care (i.e., expensive trips to the dry cleaner). If you want your clothing to look great (wash after wash), stick to natural fibers like cotton, wool, cashmere, linen…

3. Do a little test on clothes

Hold it up to the light, and stretch it. You can’t always judge a fabric from touch alone, however. manufacturers may add chemicals, or something as simple as starch, to make cloth feel heftier and smoother, creating a nice surface on that button-up or t-shirt on the hanger that can disappear as soon as you wash it. (On the other hand, pre-washed clothes, such as jeans, give you a good sense of how the clothes will feel after you’ve put it through the laundry yourself). Pay attention to the individual yarns, too. The more tightly spun they appear, the better.

4. Spare buttons on clothes

When an outfit comes with spare buttons, it’s a sign that the designer expects it to be around long enough to require a few minor repairs, and it assures you’ll have everything you need to make those repairs. If you happen to come across a garment that also includes spare thread, take that as a sign that you’ve found a quality item.

Quality-Clothes quality seam

5. Bet on designer collaborations

I’m an avid supporter of any and all designer collaborations (think Alexander McQueen for Target or JW Anderson for Topshop). A designer won’t stick their name on something that doesn’t meet their quality & design standards.

6. Good thread on clothes

A wimpy thread is only going to get wimpier over time. Take a minute to examine the quality of the thread that’s been used to put the garment together. Does it appear to be strong enough to hold the fabric together? Could they have used something stronger? Are the stitches reinforced where they should be?

7. Beware of “bargain mode”

Just because something is a good deal does not mean it’s a good investment. If you haven’t fallen absolutely head over heels with that pair of shoes, trousers, or even a t-shirt, don’t buy it. If you can’t envision yourself wearing it with multiple items in your closet and to several different occasions, it’s not worth your money — whether it’s $2 or $200.

8. What to look for in cashmere

The best cashmere is full, with an even, compact knit structure. You can often tell by the weight and feel. If it feels thin and not filled out, that’s a good indicator of [low] quality.

Here’s another thing to watch for, and it might not be what you’d expect: If a brand-new cashmere sweater feels extremely soft, that’s a warning sign. Manufacturers may heavily wash lower-grade cashmere to give it the softness shoppers are seeking. But this overwashing can cause it to be much more fragile and pill easily.

Do you have any other tips on shopping quality clothes? Let us know in comments or on facebook. If you like this post pin it on Pinterest!

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