How to Spot Good Quality Clothing

In a world of fast fashion and overpriced designer brands, it can actually be difficult to find good quality clothing that will last you a long time. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to pay over $20 on a piece of clothing that falls apart after a couple of washes. Spotting good quality clothing can help you when thrifting clothes and when shopping in a higher-end shop. Follow these rules and don’t get ripped off. 

  1. 1. Metal Hardware

    Zippers should be metal and not plastic with a hook-and-eye clasp or button at the top to keep it in place. Zippers should be hidden by a placket and run up and down smoothly with no snags. (A ruined zipper can destroy a garment and are a hassle to replace.) For buttons and design features, feel them in order to make sure they are metal and not plastic. Quality hardware has some heft to it. 

  2. 2. It isn't Sheer

    It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘supposed to be sheer.’ Sheerness is an indicator that it wasn’t built to last. This includes lightweight and expensive materials like silk and cashmere. That thing will be in threads in a week. Put your hand under the fabric and hold it near the light. If you see the outline of your hand, the garment will be sheer in most lighting.

  3. 3. "Natural" Fibers

    As much as I despise calling something ‘natural’ better, it’s in reference to the fact that natural fibers like cotton, wool, cashmere, and silk hold up much better than synthetic fibers like polyester. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. The main exceptions would be denim and workout gear. Lycra is infused in denim to give jeans a comfier fit. Polyester, nylon, and spandex work well as workout wear.

  4. 4. Spare Buttons

    Spare buttons and matching thread indicate that the designer is confident that the garment will last long enough to need small repairs. (Also why it helps to know how to sew, even the basics.) Same with the wash tag. If something comes with specific washing instructions that indicates that it’s designed to be taken care of over a long period of time. 

  5. 5. Strong Stitches

    Turn the garment inside out and gently pull at the side seams. If light passes through the seam it likely won’t last. High-quality items have tighter seams and more stitches per inch, that makes it harder for threads to snag.

  6. 6. It Came From the Men's Department

    In general, men’s sweaters tend to be thicker and of higher quality at lower prices than similar items in the women’s department. The same goes for button-downs. If you are curvier or want a tighter fit this might not work for you.

  7. 7. It Passes the Wrinkle Test

    Before you buy something, scrunch it up in your hand and observe how many wrinkles form. Unless you want to iron it before you wear it leave it. You’ll see this in 100% cotton fails this a lot, try non-wrinkle versions or cotton blends instead. 

  8. 8. Fabric Patterns That Match Up

    In well-made clothing, the patterns, especially horizontal stripes, will match up at the seams and sleeves. You can ignore this for large or random patterns like polka dots, and a garment with a lot of sleeves like a blouse. 

Now, remember, quality clothes are an investment. If you take care of them, they’ll last for years.