In the past decade, the fashion industry has shifted from fast fashion and one-time-use garments towards more sustainable brands and practices. Many brands and fashion influencers have started to focus on better quality garments that are made to last. Also, many brands have begun to source sustainable materials and focus on eco-friendly production.
What does this mean for consumers?
It is a step in the right direction, but we have a long way to go as many brands start to focus on sustainability, thousands of others do not.
We, as consumers, must take responsibility and practice sustainability. That means buy fewer fast-fashion items and instead try to source quality garments that last for many seasons.
How to spot a quality garment?
High-quality clothes can sound a bit intimidating if you are shopping on a budget. For many of us, high-quality garments are associated with higher prices and unaffordable brand names. But this is not true today.
High-quality clothing can be purchased at reasonable prices; however, it requires dedication, patience, and persistence. Let us go through a few must-have qualities of a well-made piece.
Fabric is a significant indicator. Cheap synthetic materials do not last. They also require expensive maintenance like dry clean services. While a garment made with synthetic material might look amazing featuring cool prints and bright colors, the material is not breathable causing more sweat and discomfort.
Natural fibers like cotton, cashmere, silk, wool, or linen are better options. Garments made with natural fibers last longer, comfortable to the touch, and are better for the environment. If you decide to buy a nice cashmere sweater, with good care, it can last for many seasons. How to Spot Quality Clothing by Erin Huffstetler.
Lining and Pockets
Another characteristic of a well-made garment is lining and pockets. Both of these features require extra steps, more material, and higher craftsmanship.
Inspect your coats, dresses, and skirts. Do they have pockets? Are they lined?
The lining is very important when it comes to coats and jackets. The lining will increase durability, garment's life, and improve the overall look. Also, a lining covers all the inside stitching creating a polished look. It can also add a bit of a flare if the lining's material is of a contrasting color. How to Assess the Quality of Clothing Items by Angie Cox.
Pockets require high expertise and take time to design, cut, and stitch. They need to be deep and made of reinforced materials if we want them to last.
Buttons and Stitching
Another important step when you review a garment is to check for buttons and buttonholes. Cheap producers tend to use inferior buttons and ignore buttonholes. Carefully examine all closures to ensure that buttons are attached well, and buttonholes edges are neat. How to Spot Quality Clothing by Erin Huffstetler.
Stitching is equally important. Examine a garment to make sure there are no loose threads, stitches are straight and neat. Carefully perform a pull test to notice any holes or seams that are coming apart.
This issue is personal because I cannot stand when a print does not line up at a stitching point. Take a look at your striped top or patterned dress: does the pattern line up?
Higher quality pieces do have prints aligned. Not only will aligned patterns make an item look better, but it also suggests that a brand pays attention to detail and puts a high value on its' merchandise.
When you are shopping next time, keep these points in mind. Pay attention to each garment you are considering to buy and you will be surprised how many brands cut corners and offer inferior products. Do not waste your time and money on such items, but rather move ahead to explore other possibilities.