By: Nicole Pink
The fashion industry has grown increasingly over the past decades, and in return fast fashion brands are at an all-time high. Fast fashion involves styles that go from the runway to stores in a matter of weeks in order to keep up with current trends. This may seem great, but in actuality the products are of poor quality, fall apart after one season’s use, and end up costing more in the end. Here’s how to save money and shop for clothes that are classic and will last for years.
Have you ever bought a fantastic dress for cheap (no, not on sale), and wondered why it cost so little? Well the first clue would be the stitch length. In this case, the dress most likely has been sewn together by a very wide stitch length. Also look for crooked and loose stitches and stray threads. These can all be signs or poor quality and should be avoided. A clean and tight stitch length ensures the garment won’t fall apart after ten washes.
When it comes to materials, you can never go wrong with choosing quality over the bargain deal. Overall, natural fibers cost more, but are better. However, don’t completely rule out synthetics. A small amount of synthetic material can add stretch or fit that natural materials do not provide. Fast fashion retailers will cut out naturals entirely to save money, but in reality a smart blend can be the best way to go.
Another aspect to consider when inspecting fabric is if the material is cut “on-grain”. Often times companies will cut out clothing items on the diagonal, or bias, of the fabric instead of straight to save money. This causes the fabric to twist and hang the wrong way on the wearer. An easy way to spot this is if a side seam is twisted to the front of your body. Also check that the print of the fabric matches up at the seams. For example, a plaid should match up at the lines and look as if there is no seam at all.
Unmatched Plaids: the pattern from the sleeve and shoulder does not create a complete design.
The inside of your clothes count just as much as the outside! Even if the entire shell of your garment is great, the inside must be up to the same standards. The material should be a good weight and structured to keep the product in its desired shape.
Some companies decide to save money by ditching the lining all together. However, many help keep the outer fabric from clinging to the wearer and create an overall more attractive look. They also hide the inner seams of the outer shell as well as protect them from wear and tear. In turn, it helps the garment last longer. Do not underestimate the importance of linings!
Zippers are often overlooked in the shopping process, but we need to pay attention to them! They can make or break a garment – literally! If your favorite dress comes with a low quality zipper, it may very well “pop” open while you are wearing it. Always look for invisible zippers on formal and evening wear. The fabric should be sewn very close to the teeth of the zipper, so it almost disappears. For all other zippers, except for handbags, flaps of fabric covering the zipper entirely indicates great quality.
Quality pockets are the best addition to any clothing item, in my opinion. Whether they be in a blazer, pant, or dress, functioning pockets always indicated an extra level of quality. All pockets should be of correct size, approximately one hand, and made of the same materials as the rest of the garment or of similar weight. Usually pockets on blazers and pants will come loosely sewn shut so they display correctly and can be cut open at home. Many manufacturers make small or fake pockets out of cheaper materials to cut corners. This is yet another tell that a piece of clothing will fall apart quickly.
Lastly, your purchase should always fit you perfectly! Quality does not only pertain to materials and construction, but also how it compliments you. Facings and interfacings, items that help keep the correct shape of a piece, are not always a must, but do create great fit in jackets and dresses. Looking for multiple seams, such as a back seam and darts will help as well. These all help the fabric fit your body in a flattering way.
All in all, look for a garment of great quality that fits you best! If it’s a classic piece you will wear for years, it will last that long and be well worth the extra money in the end!