A FASHION PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Shopping Quality Clothes pt.1
So you are over having to replace your favorite clothes every few months and done hunting Poshmark for your favorite top that disintegrated after 5 washes? Or have you decided that it's time to begin investing in quality pieces for your wardrobe? Well this series of blog posts will help you navigate how to tell if a garment is quality and actually worth the money. Of course there are the obvious items that need to be considered. The type of fabric used and how the garment is made. Beyond that, there are the design details and how they are executed. Below are the basics which can be applied to any woven (non-stretch / non-knit) garment.
FIBER - NO, NOT THE KIND IN YOUR SMOOTHIE
Let’s start with the obvious; what things should be considered when looking at the garment fabric. A huge mistake that people make is assuming that if the fabric is called one thing then it is quality. A popular misconception is that all satin is made out of silk. This is not true. All fabric is made up of a weave and fibers. Satin is a type of fabric weave and silk is a fiber. Therefore satin can be made of a satin weave and a wide range of fibers such as polyester, nylon, cotton or silk. So, it pays to look at the care label where it lists the fiber content. In general natural fibers are of better quality than made fibers. If it is made of a blend you want the natural fiber to be the larger percentage. You will also find that recycled fibers are often softer on the skin. While organic natural fibers are always best! Annnnnd for those of you with ADHD, here is a quick reference …
OOOOHHH IS THAT VELVEEET? TOUCH THE FABRIC
When it comes to the fabric ask yourself … in no specific order
- Is the fabric rough or itchy? Or does the color look faded? Or does the color looking like and 80s tie dye AND not on purpose?
- Does it snag or run easily?
- When you stretch it does the fabric become see thru or kind of sheer? That is an automatic PASS unless you want the guy at yoga to seeing all of your business during downward dog. all Thanks to cheep leggings!
- (excluding linen) Crumple the fabric; does it wrinkle easily?
With any of the above you can expect the fabric to deteriorate quickly or become limp and begin to pill. If more than half of these are true AND you cant live without that dress then consider buying 2 at the same time, because in the words of RuPaul “It won’t last, Hunteeee”. *Insert neck roll here*
CONSTRUCTION – HOT GLUE GUN OR HAND SEWN?
Next we need to look at how the garment is made. Specifically what does it looks like on the inside. One enduring hallmark of Couture, really any well-made garment, is that it looks as beautiful on the inside as it does on the outside. Ok, ok. So we both know we aren’t shopping actual French Couture. … Yet! What this means is that you are looking for the inside to have some extra details beyond the basic. Yes, that means it should have some sort of lining and if no lining then some detailing on the inside that makes it look prettier. Like bias binding on the seams. See photo below for some things to look for.
Next, Two Words: wide hems. Look at the inside of a cheap garment. If it is non-stretch the hem on the inside is probably around ½" wide. This shows that the manufacture was trying to conserve fabric when making the garment. This is the equivalent of giving you a spork instead of a spoon and fork! Garments made with wide hems, wider than 1”, are meant to be tailored. Would you have that cheap Shien dress tailored? No! Why spend the extra money on something that will fall apart. Well the same is true for a quality garment that costs more. The wider the hem AND seams the better the quality. This is standard for all of the Aesthetik pieces. Yes, I have blessed you, one of my Amazons (tall), or (like me) a hiiiiiigh heel wearing Glamazon with enough fabric on the inside to have it altered to fit perfectly despite the dreaded Holiday weight. You are welcome!
Look for the following: For non-stretch fabric Inside hems should be more than 1” and a good quality seam is at least ½” wide and same with darts. Though, as with most things I tend to be extra and also gift my the Aesthetik lovers giving you extra fabric in the darts.The standard of quality varies wildly for garments that stretch.
The following is for you but also I am calling out anyone who claims to make quality clothing! Unless it is an intentional part of the garment design ZIPPERS TEETH AND TAPE ARE NOT MEANT TO BE SEEN! And if everyone but you questions if the zipper us part of the design you for damn sure need to FIX THE ZIPPER!
WHAT SIZE ARE YOU? -ALPHA vs. NUMERIC SIZING ( SMALL vs. SIZE 4)
For sizing you will find that there are two types. Numeric (2, 4, 6, 8, etc) and Letter ( xs, s, m, l, etc). In general numeric (number) sized garments are better quality. However, letter sizing is acceptable if the gament is loose fitting or is a knit (has stretch) . The reason is numeric sized garments have a number of specific measurement points in order to ensure a better fit. The more specific the measurements are + more work for everyone = a more costly garment .. usually.
Trust me on this, it is always better to buy the fitted non-stretch dress in a numbered size than the letter size version. If your garment wrinkles or bunches up while walking, it is the wrong size. You know your favorite skirt that you always have to pull down? Sorry, it is the wrong size. And if none of the sizes available fit; ask yourself if it's worth paying a little extra to have it altered. Additionally, the sizing should be consistent across different styles within the same brand.
So beware the small, medium, large…
Don’t be overwhelmed. These are the main components of quality a quality non-stretch garment. Even though they are not hard and fast rules they are the main items to keep in mind. Think about it this way, if the piece breaks more than half of the rules it would be safe to say it might not last past a couple of wears.
Also, just because it’s expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s quality, but we will get to that in part 2!