How to check the quality of an an item
30 June 2018
In our series of smart shopping, how to identify a good quality item is really important. The positioning of a brand and price is sometimes directly proportional to its quality, but not always.
In the era of small internet businesses sprouting and selling online, we can find great quality pieces at affordable prices. Why? Because these little businesses don’t have the same marketing budgets as the big brands (advertising, events, launches, boutiques, brand ambassadors, etc.), so they can offer better quality at a better price!
Also, an entrepreneur with a young brand will give double the effort to please its customers, so more often than not, you will have a wonderful product and excellent personalized customer service.
Fast-fashion isn’t always the best solution: We live in a culture of low-income, disposable clothes. So sometimes we buy a t-shirt that dies after it’s first wash, or a blouse with threads hanging around, a pair of jeans that cracks open in the middle of the day, or buttons that fall off with a first wear.
Feeling frustrated? These are some tips for checking for quality:
Learn your lessons: Start by taking a look at your wardrobe. What clothes have kept their shape and texture and which ones are good to throw away or recycle? Why?
When shopping, try the item on if you are in a store. You will know immediately in terms of texture, fit and shape about the quality of the garment.
Check the seams holding the garment together to see if they are sown straight. The stitches need to be regular, closely spaced and lying flat on the fabric. Check the inside and outside of the garment. If the stitch is sloppy inside a pair of trousers or a shirt, it’s a bad sign. It some stitches are loose, don’t bother buying the garment. It won’t last. For skirts, dresses and trousers, make sure there is a decent-sized hem.
Make sure your pattern matches the seam, at the hem and pockets.
Button holes must be sturdy not flimsy with threads flying around. Make sure the buttonholes have tight stitching and neat slots for the button.
Read the label: Though culturally we may favor natural fabrics like cotton, wool, linen and silk, synthetic material is increasingly found in our clothes, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Polyester, acrylic, spandex, rayon are present in an increasing majority of clothes. Do they have advantages? Polyester fabrics and fibers, for example, are incredibly strong, durable and resistant. They also resist wrinkles, shrinking, abrasion and mildew. Some synthetic fibres offer qualities such as stretch.
Natural doesn’t mean good quality. Some natural fibers are not of good quality. For cotton, some producers may use low-grade fibers or less fiber to cut cost.
Remember to look and touch before buying! The best test is to touch the garment (online it’s impossible). If the garment feels thin, brittle or rough then maybe it isn’t what you’re looking for. If, on the other hand, the texture is smooth, substantial and soft, it’s a good sign! Think density of the fiber, be it heavy or light in weight.
For knits, stretch it in an inconspicuous place and see if it bounces back.
Test the fabric by holding it up to a bright light. The thicker the material, the better the quality.
Exposed zippers: avoid these since they tend to be a sign of poor quality.
Hope this helps and makes you more secure when you go shopping!
©I-DYLIC. Article by Eleonore Vadon