Shopping for high-quality clothes takes time and needs practice. In the past, I often found myself in a shop, looking at a pile of clothes, unable to make up my mind. Is this sweater worth the money? How can I tell if these jeans are well-made? Will this shirt last or fall apart after one wash? If you’ve ever asked yourself similar questions, read on.
Unfortunately, many of the garments today aren’t really made to last. It has become a challenge to spot quality pieces among all those ‘cheap’ clothes. And I don’t mean cheap in the sense of inexpensive. We should, of course, always shop smart and try to get the best deal. I mean cheap in terms of the garment’s construction and the fact that it won’t stand the test of time. It seems the production of high-quality items is no longer the rule but the exception.
But it is possible to find the needle in the haystack. Here are the 3 things I always check before buying a new piece of clothing:
No. 1: The Garment’s Construction
Before buying a garment, examine it carefully – and not only from the outside. The lining or inside of a piece of clothing says a lot about its quality.
Always check the seams. Are they done properly? Do they break when pulling them gently apart? Is the hemline even and neat? Check the vertical lines. Are there any seams that hinder the natural movement of the garment? Also, take a closer look at the stitching. Does it look like somebody did it in a rush, without paying much attention? And don’t forget to check the buttonholes. Are there any loose threads? Or is the garment well-made in every detail?
From my experience, a garment’s construction is the most important thing to check – even or especially when buying more expensive clothes. Price and brand name doesn’t guarantee good quality. Unfortunately, some premium and luxury brands produce ‘cheap’ products – at the cost of quality and at the expense of fashion workers in low-cost countries.
No. 2: Prints and Patterns
The alignment of patterns and the quality of prints have a considerable impact on how well-made a garment appears and how long it lasts. So again, check the seams. Is there an uninterrupted flow? Do both parts of the pattern align? The more attention to these details was paid, the more expensive a garment looks.
To check the quality of a print, rub it gently in your hands to see if parts of it come off. Also, check if it breaks when you slightly move and bend the garment. Thereby you get an idea of how durable it will be. However, such items generally tend to wash out rather quickly. So if you look for hardworking basics, you may want to skip prints.
No. 3: Hardware and Extras
Always check for loose buttons. Moreover, high-quality clothes should always come with spare buttons and threads.
If the item has a zipper, check whether it can be opened and closed easily. Also, make sure the garment drapes nicely and that there aren’t any odd creases in the area around the zipper.
A Word on Shopping Second Hand
When buying second-hand, be extra careful and examine every detail of the garment. Check if there are any holes or stains. Look if any buttons are missing and if zippers work properly. Also, consider how the item smells. The good thing is that you might end up with an item from the last century, which is significantly better made than many garments today. Fabrics, tailoring, and details often exceed the quality of current clothing. That’s why shopping second-hand is a worthwhile option when searching for high-quality clothes.
More Tips for Buying and Maintaining High-Quality Clothing
Know What You Want Before You Go Shopping
Before you even enter a store, know what you are looking for. If you need help deciding what to buy, check out my wardrobe planning articles:
- Wardrobe Planning: Recap + Free Printable Worksheets
- Wardrobe Planning: Why It’s Worth Doing It and How to Get Started
When your goal is to add some hardworking staples to your wardrobe, you probably want to get the best quality possible. So this is definitely the right time to apply the above tips.
Become a Shopping Pro
- Shop smart – based on a wardrobe wishlist
- Learn how to become a mindful shopper
- Practice how to spot quality also when buying quality shoes
Commit to Take Care of The Item – Before Buying It
Always read the care instructions before making a purchase. Ask yourself if you’re prepared to invest the time and effort in maintaining the item. If not, put it back on the rack. If yes, my wardrobe maintenance articles can be helpful:
- 7 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Clothes
- How to Take Care of Luxury Fabrics
- Laundry Symbols Explained
And not to forget, here’s how to take care of your quality shoes:
Store Your Clothes, Shoes, and Accessories Properly
A rule of thumb is that knitted items should be folded, shirts, skirts, and blazers hung. Use suitable hangers, so they don’t lose shape. When you have an open, walk-in closet, use garment bags to protect your clothes from dust and sunlight. Just like you would store your handbags and delicate shoes in a dust bag.
Shopping for quality clothes requires time and patience. Be prepared that you might leave a shop empty-handed or spend twice as long as you planned on looking for a new piece of clothing. However, if you follow the above instructions, chances are you find garments you love and enjoy longer than just a couple of washes. And this not only supports you in building a curated wardrobe but also to smoothly transition into slow fashion.
I truly believe investing in quality means investing in YOURSELF!
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Let me know how you get on with these shopping tips for quality clothes. Is there anything missing? Love to hear from you!