What to Look for
When Shopping for Quality
We all have been in the situation where we are wondering if something is worth our money. I'm here to make sure that you know how to find that answer out on your own. Of course, there are probably thousands of ways to check quality on your garment. I am going to break down the easiest ways and have you looking like a VERY well dressed Sherlock Holmes. So grab your magnifying glass, your trench coat and get to quality checking!
1. Be Your Own Detective.
When it comes to quality, be your own detective. If the salesperson is telling you it's great quality, always check for yourself. Below are some ways to make sure you are getting your bang for your buck.
2. Check the Stitching.
Stitches, the heart and muscle of your clothing. Stitching is the most important thing to look for because this is the life of your gear. If you have weak stitching, you are decreasing the life of your garment and increasing the CPW (Cost Per Wear) of that piece. A lot of cheap manufacturers put so much time into fooling their consumers into thinking they have good products by focusing on the outside appearance of their garment, that they hardly are constructing the garment. Some high quality brands will even put what’s called binding on the seams, so that there are no exposed fabric edges inside the garment. ALWAYS check the stitching of a piece before even trying it on.
Quick and easy things to look for:
- Are the threads lining up?
- Are the threads loose or pulling?
- Are the threads lying flat?
After looking for these things, the inside of the product should mirror the exterior. If it is, it typically shows that the item was made with care.
3. All in the Details.
Details, details, details. Look at hem lines, neck lines, and armholes. TOUCH EVERYTHING. Does it feel thin, brittle, and rough? Or does it feel smooth, soft, and substantial? You can feel the difference between a shirt made from thin, brittle cotton and a shirt made from thick, lustrous material... as well as see the difference. You should be able to see that they took time in creating this piece. Check the thread count, and throw it on to see how the piece fits and lays. The more fiber there is, the better. To clarify, the garment doesn't have to heavy to be good. If the yarns are tightly packed but thin, the piece can still be lightweight. Density is what you should be looking for when feeling the piece.
4. Tags, a Shoppers Best Friend.
This is where you will find materials, where the garment is manufactured, and where the fabric is sourced from. Even a garment labeled 100% cotton can be low-quality. Fiber content is what we are looking for. Fabrics still be cheap if the manufacturers use low-grade fibers or not much fibers in the fabric. To cut labor costs, a cheap quality brand will take a page from a fast fashion retailers handbook and cut corners to produce clothing more quickly which is resulting in clothing that’s poorly made. Check that fiber content. While you're there, check the cleaning recommendations and follow thoroughly. There are blended fibers and natural fibers and blended fibers don't wash like natural fibers can. When you dry a cotton-polyester blend garment in the dryer, the two materials can shrink at different rates, this will change the shape of the garment. So always look at the tag and follow the care. This is all important information and will help you decide if this is worth the hefty number on the price tag.
5. Look for Function.
Functionality can be easy be measured by the way that the garment is cut or constructed. The fabric of a garment should be cut straight along the grain. The only time other than that should be in the case of a what is called a bias cut, which is typically grading at a 45 degree angle, which allows for the fabric to stretch and give function. You'll know when something is cut wrong, usually when it loses it's shape after wear.
Thank you for reading, I hope this is helpful.