August 9, 2012

Will your clothes stand the test of time?

When you dish out money for new clothes, you expect your purchases to last more than a few washings. However, if you can't spot a good quality clothing item from a bad one, you will end up wasting your hard-earned money on clothes that are not worth the price tag. Whether you shop in designer boutiques or thrift shops, use smart shopping techniques to determine if the clothes you are buying will stand up to the test of time.

Examine the item of clothing carefully and look for any stray threads, missing buttons or any other wear and tear. If there are several duplicates of the same item, check those too. If the garment cannot stand up to being on a hanger, it will not last long when you regularly wash or wear it.
Check the tag to see what the garment is made of. Cotton is one of the most used fabrics because of its durability. However, when used alone, it can stretch or shrink. Choose items that are made from a cotton blend, such as nylon, wool or rayon, which are more durable.
Try on each piece of clothing you buy. Test the zipper, and note how the fabric fits against your body. A well-made garment will be constructed with zippers that are easy to pull up and down, buttons that are easy to button, and the garment's construction will be symmetrical.
Check the seams to see if the stitching is tight. A garment with tightly stitched seams is less likely to rip apart and will hold together even if you move or twist into different positions.
 Look inside the garment and examine how it was constructed. A good quality garment will have interfacing, boning or double lined seams that help the garment keep its shape. The more effort that was put into the sewing, the higher quality the purchase.
No matter the situation, ALWAYS check care instructions. A “dry clean only” garment will cost you far more in the long haul than its retail price. But bear in mind, too, that repeated trips to a crappy dry cleaner can ruin a garment – stiffen, shrink, or otherwise alter its original condition. The flip side is that shoddily-constructed washables will often come undone in the machine. So examine care instructions and construction with the same rigor.
Look for stains, rips, and other obvious damage: Yeah, I know. But garments can get ruined in department stores just as easily as they can get ruined in thrift stores. Don’t forget to give every potential purchase the damage-once-over.
Again, none of these tests are foolproof, but if you want to train yourself to shop for quality and longevity, they’re a good place to start!
How do YOU test a garment for quality? Any other construction-related tips from those who make their own clothing? Do you have a go-to brand that you’ll trust to create and sell quality clothing till the end of time?

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