But how can you tell whether what you’re buying is up to scratch in the first place? Whether you’re a seasoned fashionista, or just starting out on your fashion journey, we’ve got all the checks to keep in mind before the next time you swipe your card on the next purchase.
#1: Assessing High Quality Clothing and Fabrics
Having a general idea of how to assess the quality of clothing and fabrics is a good place to start. This will help you to differentiate between high quality garments versus more cheaply made alternatives. For starters, there are some fabrics which have a reputation for quality – consider the history of silk in fashion, for example, which has always oozed class.
The first thing to do with a potential new piece of clothing is to hold it up to the light to check its thickness. Generally speaking, the thicker the fabric, the better quality it will be. Next, do a quick pull test by tugging at the garment very gently, then releasing it. If it returns to its original shape without sagging, it’s a keeper.
#2: Identify the Type of Fabric
These days, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the different types of fabrics on the market. Back in 440 AD, it was so hard to get your hands on silk, that an adventurous Chinese princess went as far as smuggling silkworm eggs in her headpiece to evade the authorities.
Whether you’re buying organic cotton, linen, leather or denim, you should always identify the fabric type before you buy. Knowing what you’re looking for and doing your research early will get you closer to understanding its general quality level. Although usually more expensive, natural fabrics are generally higher quality than synthetics and blends.
#3: Colour Fastness Counts
Colour fastness refers to how resistant the dye used in any fabric will be to running or fading. With the garment or fabric in hand, cover all corners to see if there are any signs of uneven dyeing. If so, move on right away, as this is generally a sign of lower quality, and will be more likely to fade or run over time, or even after a single wash.
#4: Grain Over Grandiosity
Although we live for grandiose, eye-catching pieces of clothing, you can’t consider what you’re wearing high quality unless the grain is 100% correct. In particular, the grain line is one of the first things you should have your eye on. It’s so important because the orientation will affect the way the fabric hangs, stretches and fits as a whole.
#5: Check The Weight
Although this can be difficult to assess if the label isn’t very forthcoming, the weight of the fabric could also indicate its overall quality level. Researching a few rough estimate GSM (or grams per square meter) numbers can empower you on the mission for quality shopping. T-shirts should always weigh upwards of 130gsm and, since bottoms usually use heavier fabrics than tops, high quality lounge pants should come in between 180 to 250gsm.
#6: Consider The Shrinkage Factor
Whether or not a fabric shrinks in the wash can make all the difference between an item of clothing being a practical option in your wardrobe, or something that you’ll never be able to wear again. When buying any clothing, keep the shrinkage factor in mind from the get go. Every fabric shrinks differently, but cotton and wool are the two primary culprits – some are sold pre-shrunk, to make life easier for designers and consumers alike.
#7: Take Care When You Shop Online
Buying online is the norm these days, but if you’re hoping to get a high quality garment every time, you’ll need to stay vigilant. Read every product description carefully in search of the info we’ve outlined above, and if you can’t find it, reach out to the seller directly. Be careful not to buy in bulk when using a store for the first time, as you’ll only be able to physically touch one of their pieces once it lands on your doorstep. If the quality matches the description, you’re good to go for next time. And if not, you’ll be left with a tricky returns process to deal with.
Now you’re equipped with everything you need to know about purchasing high quality clothing and fabric, the world is truly your oyster and in no time at all, you’ll be able to get your hands on a high quality new outfit or three at an affordable price. Expect your confidence to skyrocket, thanks to the knowledge that you’re wearing high quality garments, perfectly matched to your high quality lifestyle.