I can be picky when it comes to my clothing. Yes, I can be very picky and with good reason. I am not a fan of the clothing out on the market. I don’t like a lot of the available fabric quality, and to a high degree, very much dislike the quality of the way the clothes are made. Plus, we work hard to buy clothes that we expect to last. I don’t know about you, but for me clothing and shoes are investments, that I expect to reap the benefits from time and time again, without them ever falling apart, or at least, not for a very long time.
When I was a teenager, I would buy clothes with imperfections at a very low cost, because I would always fix them and make them whole again. I would inspect them to see what I could and couldn’t tolerate and if the injury was minor would buy at a deep discount and fix it myself at home. For a working teenager who didn’t make a lot of money, that was the way to have some stylish clothing that would otherwise have cost me a lot of money. Nowadays, I am the opposite, though I use the same methods of inspection. I work full-time, and blog on the side and don’t have as much time as I would like, to fix deeply discounted clothing, much less look for that type of bargain through the racks. As I mentioned above, I want my clothes to last me a long time, and usually do not walk out of the store with anything that doesn’t pass my inspections. So, what do I look for, you ask? Below are the 5 things I look at when shopping for quality clothing.
1. Inner Stitching: One of the first things I do before buying clothing is check the inside of the garment for poor stitching. A lot of the cheaply made items, like what you may find at Forever 21, will most likely be serged together, simply because it is quicker for the manufacturer of the garment. I don’t mind serged clothing, I have a serger myself, and to me it makes the garment look professionally made on the inside, but I like it to be a finishing touch and not the main stitch at the seam. This tends to be the cause of garments falling apart because most of what is holding two pattern pieces together is a loose serged stitch. I like to see a stitched seam done on a sewing machine first, and then see that the edges are serged. That to me looks more professional and because the seam is secure I don’t fear the garment falling apart.
2. Seams: Before leaving a store, I make sure to inspect my clothes for holes in the seams from the outside. I have been guilty of walking out before with a garment, just to find out when I got home that there was a hole near the armpit or on the side seam somewhere that would have stood out to me had I inspected it properly. If your garment was put together by serging and not with normal stitches, you probably will note that the seams can be easily pulled apart and that there are gaps between stitches. Save yourself the trouble of having to fix or return the garment back to the store by inspecting the seams.
3. Loose Strings: I have seen more and more of this lately moving into department stores, which is a shame, but you should always check to see if there are lose strings everywhere. If there is little to no strings, this tells me that there was care taken in making the garment. On the other side, if there are lose strings everywhere, this tells me that the makers were in a hurry to finish the garment and move on to the next one. The lower the quantity of loose strings the better. If you must buy something with loose strings of thread everywhere, make sure that you clip these off. Check out this post I wrote on how to care for your clothing for why you should clip these off.
4. Stains: I will not pay top dollar on something with stains. No way! Why should I have to go home to attempt to remove makeup or shoe stains from people stepping all over the clothes in the fitting room? Unless the store or boutique has a way to get it off at the store in front of me, I usually do not buy anything with stains, even if it is the last in my size.
5. Fabric Quality: I always inspect the tag to see what materials the fabric is made of. I also rub the fabric in my hands to feel the quality. This one is hard to explain, because I can tell by the fabric most of the time if it is poor quality. You will get used to this if you start doing this more often. Sometimes, you can tell by the wash instructions too, though not always, since delicate fabric may require hand washing. Let’s say that it is rayon, however, and it requires hand washing, this is a good indicator that your garment will likely not last you a long time. You would have to take extra care to make sure that it doesn’t warp on you or fall apart. Heaven forbid, you accidentally wash it in the washer.
Though I am guilty of having purchased cheaply made clothing in the past, I very rarely do only because I hate wasting money on something I know I will have to trash or recycle shortly after purchase. It isn’t worth it to me. I would rather not buy than to buy and be disappointed. I would love your comments on this topic. Are you as tired of poorly made clothing as I am?1 Like!