With the abundance of mass-produced garments in today’s fast-fashion market, it can be trial finding well-made pieces of clothing. Before every purchase, you might even find yourself asking, how do I know I’m getting my money’s worth? Will this item serve me well for years?
It’s possible to find women’s apparel for sale in the proverbial haystack of sub-par clothing, fortunately. The following are tips to help you determine if the clothing you are interested in buying is worth the cost.
Check the material it’s made out of.
Look at the label of the piece that caught your eye and check what it’s made out of. Most high-quality garments are made of 100% natural fibers. These include fibers taken out from animals and plants, such as cotton, linen, wool, silk, snakeskin, cashmere, and leathers. There are also newer sustainable fabrics which include modal and tencel.
Stay away from anything made out of 100% polyester. Polyester is a type of plastic and is not breathable, so it will make you sweat. Additionally, while polyester is an inexpensive material, it’s hard to repair and won’t last long.
Other types of plastic that are used in clothing are acetate and acrylic.
Do the 80/20 fiber test.
Designers can use synthetic materials for design purposes, but remember to be cautious of blended fibers. Most blended fibers have some form of acrylic, polyester, rayon, spandex, and other man-made plastic or petrochemical fibers. One quick way to ascertain if what you’ve got is quality make is to do the 80/20 test. This means that to be considered as quality, at least 80% of the clothing should be made of natural fibers and at most 20% out of synthetic fibers.
Check how it feels on your skin.
Literally feeling the piece of clothing or product that you’re eyeing will help you determine its quality. Take note of its softness, weight, and stretch. Is it rough, light, thin or brittle? If so, it is more likely made out of sub-par material. Well-made clothing often is heavier because it is made of real fibers, embellishments, and metals. Clothing with a little more weight will also hang nicely over your figure. They’ll adjust their fit to your body and result in a more put-together look.
Take note, however, that a fabric doesn’t always need to be heavy to be of good quality. If the yarns in a piece are tightly packed but thin, it follows that the cloth could be lightweight. So check out material density before dismissing a piece of clothing.
A garment with excellent fabric quality will feel soft and smooth to the touch, like butter. There won’t be nicks that will scratch you or snags in the weave.
Look at the item’s construction.
The way clothing is made is a dead giveaway of its quality. For example, with knits, try stretching a part of the fabric opposite of the grain. Ideally, it should bounce back to its original shape. If it doesn’t, then it also won’t after you wear it. Stay away from this type of fabric as it will begin to distend and look worn quickly.
Aside from the clothing’s fabric, check its the seams. Stitching clearly indicates the quality of a piece. Does it look like it was done in a rush? Stitches must be closely spaced and lie flat on the garment. This applies to the inside of the garment, as well. The inside seams shouldn’t be sloppy or have areas where they look loose or stitched over several times. Check the buttons and the button holes, too: see how well they were stitched together. These are sure signs of a garment’s sub-par quality.
Lastly, remember that brand name and a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean good quality.
Check the hardware and extras.
Look at the buttons and see if there are loosely stitched ones or if there are missing buttons. If the product has a zipper, check if it can be opened and closed easily. Make sure also that the clothing drapes nicely and there are no odd creases around the zipper.
Try it on to see how it fits on you.
The fit of the clothing you desire is one of the most important things to consider. A $10 dress that perfectly fits you will always look better than an ill-fitting $200 dress. No matter how good the quality of a piece, if it doesn’t fit you, then it is simply is not worth your money unless you’re willing to go to a tailor skilled enough to make the appropriate adjustments.
Follow these tips to find garments that you will love and will enjoy longer than a couple of washes. Happy shopping!