Quality Control

After working in retail for a while (seven months now? Jesus christ), doing quality control for my internship with Malia Mills on a regular basis, and just generally having champagne tastes on a beer budget, I've picked up a few tips and tricks to make sure a piece of clothing is high quality.

Caveat: high quality does NOT mean high price. This is important to know.
I've seen great quality pieces at Target and H&M, and some truly shoddy pieces at higher end department stores.

I consider a steal to be high quality for a relatively low price. This means you're definitely getting your money's worth.

So how do you know if a piece of clothing you're eyeing is high quality? Here's a few tips and tricks:

The Label
For sure this isn't a tried and true method, but most high quality pieces are made of natural fibers: linen, silk, cotton, wool, cashmere, leather ect. They tend to wear better as well as keep you warmer during the winter and breath better during the summer.
Polyester, acetate, spandex (aka anything made of plastic) TEND to make up the cheaper stuff. Workout clothes and shapers as exceptions, of course.

The Seams
Look at the stitching. It should be even and straight with no loose threads. the hems should be finished (meaning no loose, raw, or fraying edges). An inch or more of hem, especially a french seam hem, is a good sign because it allows for alterations if you grow or shrink. The stitching should blend into the fabric (Generally contrasting stitching makes clothing or shoes look cheap. But of course, this is personal taste)
 Gently pull on the seams or any loose threads. The seam will not unravel or pull apart to show the stitching on a quality garment.

The Pattern
Any patterns should match up at the seams to be visually pleasing, which shows that the pattern was well thought out.
Also any trim, buttons, or extras should match the style and quality of the clothing. Plastic buttons always warrant a closer look.

The Extras
Button holes should be serged or stitched, and buttons should fit through them easily. Zippers should glide, not hitch. Give a little tug to any embellishments or doodads on the clothing, they shouldn't start to pull away from the garment.

The Fabric
Take a handful of fabric and squeeze it in a tight fist for a few seconds, then let go. If it wrinkles, you know that at the end of the day you are going to be a wrinkled mess.
Take two pieces of the fabric and rub them together briskly. If it starts to pill, realize that after a few trips around the washing machine rubbing up against other clothes, you better invest in a de-fuzzer.
Quality garments are also usually cut on the grain of the fabric and have lining so that the fabric glides smoothly over the body.

Of course, the best quality garment in the world still looks cheap if it doesn't fit well. That's why a great tailor is completely indispensable because a little nip or tuck can make all the difference.
But there's only so much a tailor can do, so next I'll give a few tips on how to tell if the fit is right for you.

Photo thanks to Becaberry

1 comment:

Miss at la Playa said...

thank you so much for your NY tips! :) They are really appreciated :)