Shopping for clothes (especially if its cheap) will never fail to attract women (and men alike). With hundreds of shopping malls around housing thousands of brands, it becomes difficult to resist the temptation of buying. And in this adrenaline rush, you forget to check if that piece of clothing will stand the abuse of washing and the daily wear and tear.
Discounts-induced-shopping-syndrome is the word that I struck upon to describe those who resort to impulsive buying as soon as they spot a $10 dress or a $15 jacket, no matter how crammed their wardrobe might be with clothes.
I would say that instead of taking pride in the quantity of outfits, invest in some quality clothing. Don’t just enter an outlet because there’s a ‘Sale’; ask for recommendations from your friends, check the ratings of a particular outlet online, check the store website (if they have got one), and inquire around to check if the store is trustworthy. After you enter, quickly scan the store visually, check if the store is properly maintained, the staff is properly dressed and well-behaved, and whether they have a proper exchange policy in place. While selecting a garment, check the instructions for cloth care, see where it is made, inquire about the durability, and then decide if you should invest in it.
Before going into the nitty-gritty, here’s a fundamental fact. There is no foolproof method of checking the sturdiness of a cloth; it is only after several rounds of trial and error that you will be able to judge the quality and finalize the outlet that caters to your taste.
While the good news is that if you become a little aware and train yourself into rejecting shoddy material, you’ll end up investing in clothes that are really worth the buck!
Tips to Help You Identify Quality Clothing
For the Fabric
Check the Material
The first thing you do after you look at garment (and you kinda like it!) is to touch it. But what do you look for by touching it? Is it just the softness of material, or do you check for any other parameter? I don’t say that ‘fabric-must-feel-good’ notion is wrong but purchasing it just on the “feel factor” is not recommended.
Usually, what needs to be checked is whether the material is ‘100% natural’ like cotton, silk, and wool, or is it ‘mixed’ or ‘synthetic’, like nylon, or polyester.
Aspects to Keep in Mind
► Ability to resist wrinkles
► Water-absorption capacity
► Ability to regulate temperature
► Dust resistance
► Ability to resist shrinkage
► Antimicrobial ability
It is seen that natural fibers are easy to launder. They are highly breathable and have a higher capacity to regulate body temperature. They do not emit static electricity and are a great option for people with skin allergies, rashes, or chemical sensitivity. It is true that natural fibers wear a little faster over time as compared to the synthetic counterparts. However, you can opt for synthetics, as there’s no way I can say that synthetics are not good; even they can become a ‘good buy’ when purchased thoughtfully.
For the Garment
Check the Seams
The first thing that you should do while checking for quality of a garment is to turn the garment inside out and check the seams carefully. Seams are those lines of stitches that run down along the sides and join two pieces of cloth.
As a beginner, start looking out for loose threads and broken stitches. You can also hold the cloth from both sides of the seam and pull the stitches (a little!) to see if they are loose. Double seams are usually stronger than single seams. The density of seams also matter — usually 8-12 stitches per inch should be the ideal density. Checking these little points can guarantee you a sturdy piece of clothing.
Check the Hems
Hems are edges or the ends of a piece of cloth which are folded inside and sewn in order to prevent the fabric from unwinding. It is seen that nowadays to manufacture and complete the garments faster, the hems are sewn by advanced computerized sewing machines. But quality hems are the ones that are stitched by hand.
The only garment that can be an exception for a visible hem is a pair of jeans. Other than jeans, no other garment should have a top-stitched hem. Ideally, the hem should be stitched in such a way that it should not have any puckering or crookedness and should blend magically with the fabric.
Check for Lining
Lining is the extra piece of clothing that is stitched to the inner side of a garment. It is observed that lined garments are more durable than unlined ones. Contrary to the belief, a lining should never be tight. Speaking from a practical point of view, it should actually be a little loose so that it allows ease of movement without tearing or ripping apart. Also lined clothes usually are easier to glide on and provide a better fit.
Check the Buttons and Zippers
The first thing to observe about buttons are if they are complete, broken buttons are an indicator of poor quality. The harder and shinier buttons are usually considered superior. You should also check if they are sewn tightly and also if they fit into their respective buttonholes or not. The buttonholes should also be checked for poor stitching. Quality buttonholes are the ones that are stitched by hand and have a slight irregularity in the stitches. Coming to zippers, I would recommend metal zippers from my personal experience. They zip and unzip better and usually do not run out of track. Do not go for plastic zippers unless absolutely necessary.
Check for Design Matching
Design or pattern matching is nothing but a parameter to judge quality craftsmanship. If the designs blend with each other at the seams in such a way that the complete garment seems to be made of a single piece of cloth, then it is an indicator of superior quality. If the designs and patterns don’t align, it shows that the garment was made hurriedly by the manufacturer to produce quantity rather than quality.
Check for Discolorations, Blots, or Any Other Damage
It is also during its stay in the department store that the garment can undergo damage. Check thoroughly for any rips, stains, discolorations, or any other visible or the not-so-visible damages before taking the garment home.
Check the Instruction Tag
Here’s a tip for post-purchase care of your prized possession. Check the ‘instructions for care’ tag. If a garment is tagged ‘dry clean only’, it is impractical that you will visit the dry cleaner every time you feel the need to wash a garment. However, you can at least do it for the first time. Diligently following the instructions, like ‘dry in shade’, ‘do not wring’ or ‘do not iron’ will save the garment from getting ruined permanently.
To sum up, I would say that you should try to purchase clothing as if you are buying an asset. Instead of stuffing your wardrobe with cheap and deceptive clothes, search for quality by browsing through the various brands properly. Don’t condemn brands for being costly; they have earned that reputation over time and through customer satisfaction. Checking the garments before purchasing for all the above-given points will ensure that you bag only some sturdy and stylish long-lasting clothes.