Let’s picture two scenarios.
A. Your closet is buldging but you have nearly nothing to wear on a daily basis. Your closet is comprised of fast fashion pieces from H&M and Forever 21 with some basic pieces from these places as well. The struggle comes when you’ve worn your pieces 5 or 6 times and they’ve developed some quality issues. In the morning, you go to create your stellar outfit only to find that one of your key pieces in it has a hole, thinning fabric, or has shrunken in the wash. You’re frustrated and disappointed with your wardrobe.
Now onto the second scenario:
B. You stand in front of your paired down smaller-sized closet full of high quality pieces. You’ve focused on creating a closet of quality with the basis being basics. A few fast fashion pieces exist but you’ve realized that you only need a few to add in the trends and instead generally invest in quality. Your morning mission to get dressed as quick as possible is always achiveable as you’re never surprised with some quality issue or other. Your pieces are always in impeccable condition.
Closet B, while it has considerably less pieces, is obviously the ideal choice as it makes getting dressed easy and each piece is selected for its quality. Put simply, quality ALWAYS trumps quantity in terms of your closet.
1. Check the Garment Tag.
Garment tags allow you to really investigate whether a product is worth the price or not. Certain fabrics & combinations hold up much better in the long run than others do. Natural fabrics (wool, silk, cotton) are hands down the best buys. Ideally, finding a garment that is 100% wool, silk, or cotton is preferable. However, blends are also acceptable. In order to determine if a blend is a good one, be sure that the percentage of natural fabrics to synthetics is at least 50-60% natural. Labels are important because some synthetic fabrics can trick the eye into thinking that they are really natural fabrics (ex. acrylic can sometimes be mistaken for wool & real genuine leather can be difficult for the untrained eye to identify)
2. Stitching is Key.
It goes without saying that stitching on a garment is one of the top factors when determining if the garment is good quality. After all, it is what holds the garment together! The higher the quality the stitching, the greater the chance that it will stay together. Key details when looking at stitching are looking for loose threads. If you see any naturally hanging off the garment, this is an immediate red flag. Also, ensuring that the stitches are tight and cannot be pulled apart & seen through simply by lightly tugging on either side of the seam. If you are able to see through the stitching or feel it separate when you pull lightly on either side of the seam, step away. There are better made pieces out there.
3. Details are Crucial.
Details on a garment make it memorable. However, those are not what I’m referring to. What I’m referencing are the details when purchasing that are just as crucial. These are the little extras that come attached to good quality pieces that extend the longevity of a piece. Look for extra buttons, extra thread (either inside or in a small baggie) attached to the garment. These items come in incredibly handy when a small issue happens to your garment and easily makes it mendable.
4. Price Doesn’t Determine All.
Just because an item is priced inexpensively, doesn’t mean it’s bad quality. In addition, an expensive item doesn’t declare amazing quality. Looking for details, elements such as stitching and fabric construction are all crucial to determining an item’s worth. Though, truth be told, more often than not, pricier items are better quality. It is incredibly rare to find a good quality item at Forever 21 or H&M. However, most likely, an item picked up at Neiman’s will be decent to superior quality.
5. Equate Cost Per Wear.
Cost per wear is my favorite idea to reference when purchasing clothing (see the original post on it here). While initially a garment’s price might seem expensive, one must also factor in the idea of cost per wear. Simply put, cost per wear is determined by dividing the price of the garment by the number of times you expect to wear it. Typically, cheaply constructed garments fall apart in under 10 wears. Thus, the cost per wear is expensive for what it is as the lifespan of the garment is low. Whereas, a good quality piece will carry you for years to come as the fabrication of the garment is made to stand wear and tear to a greater capacity. These good quality pieces have a much lower cost per wear as you might envision yourself wearing them a hundred times over the course of a few years.