Are you tired of spending hundreds of dollars on your outfits, only to have the pieces break or tear after a few wears? Isn’t it frustrating to have to keep replacing items that didn’t even last a year? You end up with more clothes to throw out than to wear in your wardrobe. And if you feel guilty about disposing of these unwearable pieces, they end up taking up too much space in your closet and giving you problems about where to store newer purchases.
You’ll notice that none of truly vintage clothes are made of cheap material. While cheap, trendy pieces may seem like a steal, they’re likely made of low-quality material and aren’t designed to last. Some brands usually scrimp on the material so that customers can come back to buy more at a low price. You may think you’re not spending much, but the accumulated total from having to constantly replace your clothes is better spent on quality clothes that last.
Perhaps you want to start investing in better quality clothes but aren’t sure where to start. Do you simply buy branded items or choose the higher price tag? Can you still shop in more affordable places like a department store or an online fast fashion brand? This piece will offer tips on how to determine if the clothes you are eyeing are of good quality, if not the best quality possible. From what features to look for and what garments to invest in, the tips below will help you spot superior pieces on the rack wherever you shop. Read on and find out how you can start investing in a better-quality wardrobe.
11 Signs of Long-Lasting Clothes
It passes the 80/20 test.
The garment passes the 80/20 test if 80% is made of natural fibers and 20% is made of synthetic fibers. Natural fibers guarantee durability, while the synthetic portion is typically made of polyester, spandex, rayon, acrylic, and other manmade fibers that give a stretchy quality to the piece. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why buy cotton leggings when fully synthetic blends are cheaper?” following this rule can help you find a new pair of stretchy pants that can last for years instead of just a few months.
There are no gaps when you pull at the seams.
Frequent and tight stitches usually indicate a stronger seam. Look at how close the stitches are and how often they occur on the fabric. Loose stitches are more likely to split and cause the garment to tear more easily. To test the stitches, lightly pull on a seam. If you can see through the other side, then the piece is of low quality. A higher-quality piece would have sturdier stitches that don’t have any gaps.
The pants or skirt hems are finished.
Raw hems that aren’t sewn or completed with another fabric will likely unravel over time. Check if the skirt or pant hem is folded over and sewn—this assures you that it will last over time without fraying. Some brands finish the hem with additional material to make it more durable. This is an especially important feature to have in clothes that are made of delicate fabrics.
An extra panel is found between the shoulders of a shirt.
To know if a collared shirt will last, look for a “back yoke” between the shoulders. A back yoke is an extra panel of material that adds durability to the back of a shirt. It reinforces the area against actions like rubbing and pulling that occurs from wearing and washing the shirt.
There are no exposed zippers.
Durable clothing comes in designs that lessen the chances of splits or snags. If the piece has an exposed zipper, this will likely catch the fabric and have a higher chance of being snagged. A quality garment would shelter the zipper in a fabric placket and not leave it exposed. It also looks a lot more stylish and polished.
The clothing maintains its shape after it’s stretched.
Tug at the piece and see if the clothing keeps its shape. A high-quality item won’t end up limp after a hard tug. It should easily spring back into its original form after the stretch. This is important for a garment with a specific shape or worn tightly against the skin, like pants or a dress.
The pattern matches at the seams.
Check if the pattern holds and matches at the seams. This detail is particularly crucial for matching patterns such as plaids and stripes. Low-quality garments wouldn’t have the pattern run at the seams, which may be a sign that the manufacturer cuts corners in the overall construction. A high-quality garment, however, would have the patterns match up. This makes for a cohesive overall look and assures good, long-lasting quality.
The garment comes with a comprehensive and detailed care label.
Check if the garment comes with proper care instructions. A detailed care label will include text instructions or specific symbols that show how to launder and dry the clothing in a way that maintains good condition. It should also give you enough information about the fabric content. These are all indicators that the garment is made of high-quality fabric and that proper care is required for its longevity.
The clothing includes extra thread and buttons.
The inclusion of additional buttons and thread is an assurance that it’ll be a while before the garment needs repairing. At the same time, the manufacturer provides you with the appropriate sewing materials to help you repair the garment while maintaining its original design elements.
It comes with a warranty.
A high-quality brand usually offers a warranty or high-quality guarantee with every purchase. It’s the opposite of companies that won’t mind you refunding or returning a low-quality garment. A good warranty plan is a sign that the company puts enough time, effort, and resources into ensuring that the clothing lasts for years.
The clothing has a heavier weight.
If the garment is light, thin, rough, or brittle, then it is likely made of lower-quality materials. High-quality garments are usually heavier from the real fibers and metal accessories used to complete the piece. For lightweight fabrics, check if they are woven from tightly packed, thin yarns. These are usually soft and smooth but the tight weave allows them to be durable while retaining that lightweight quality.
High-Quality Pieces to Include in Your Closet
Now that you know how to determine if a garment is of good quality, what are the best staples to include in your wardrobe? Here’s a shortlist of durable pieces that you’re sure to use repeatedly and can match all kinds of styles:
- Double-breasted coat – A basic winter coat staple that’s genderless and best worn in wool, this classic design will never go out of style.
- Sweater – Your go-to layer in the fall and winter, you can purchase at least two different kinds to give you options. Choose a sweater made from a light material to wear when the weather is still a little warm then go for thicker ones when the temperature drops.
- Black slacks – While you’re likely to wear a pair more often in the office, they also work with casual oxford shirts or t-shirts for when you want to upscale your street look.
- Oxford shirt – This is a top you can wear casually with pants or cotton leggings, as business formal wear in a meeting, or over a slip dress for a stylish ensemble.
When you buy quality clothing, you’ll enjoy materials that last and fabrics that feel comfortable on your skin. You also don’t need to worry about wasted purchases, needing to replace your clothes too soon, or accidentally snagging the seams of your dress right before a meeting. While choosing pieces that suit your style and personality are important, don’t discount the details that ensure longevity, durability, and highest quality in clothing. They might cost a little more than when you used to buy, but now you can expect to enjoy putting together stylish ensembles that you can wear for years to come.