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Six Secrets to Spotting High Quality Clothes

The following is a guest post from our friends at The Budget Fashionista.

Do we really need to splurge in order to find high quality clothes? Not all of us can spend $400 on socks, and that’s okay. It’s about knowing how to spot affordable, reliable clothing without breaking the bank. That being said, here are six ways to pick out the best of the best.

The Budget Fashionista's Guide to Finding High Quality Clothes

1. It’s lined. This is when you say "everything’s lined"—not true. I’ve definitely picked up some jackets and skirts that could've used some extra help. We all have that one garment in our closet that makes us ask "why is this see-through?" And yet, we still bought it because it’s "chic." Yes, it’s true that some pieces are meant to be sheer, but most pieces need to be lined, or else the garment looks flimsy and cheap. For jackets and coats, I find lined ones more comfortable against my skin than the unlined ones.

2. Extra notions included. Ever had a jacket that zips and buttons up? How about a pair of pants with more than one hook-and-eye? When I’m trying on clothing, sometimes I wonder, "why did they put so many x’s, y’s, and z’s?" Instead of asking, just count your blessings. Having an extra closure or a sturdy reinforced seam goes a long way if you don’t have a Singer handy.

3. Straight seams. Look at the seams. Are they dotted, crooked or coming apart? Not a good sign. Extra stitching, however, like top stitching, is a good sign. Usually pieces that have a lot of top-stitching are high quality pieces made with extra care.

The flat felled seam, standard for denim, adds a finished look to the garment.

4. Smaller hem. I’ve spent enough time in front of sewing machine to know that smaller hems take much more time than larger ones. Not to say you won’t find larger hems on high quality garments—it depends on the style and design of the garment—but smaller hems take much longer to execute than larger hems—especially on slippery fabric like chiffon or jersey. If you see a small, straight hem on a garment, odds are someone took their time to execute it. In this case, time equals money, which in the end, equals equality.

5. Decorative elements are secured. It’s pretty normal for a sequin to fall off a blouse or a to bead fall off a sweater, but if the glitter on your razzle dazzle dress is leaving a trail across the kitchen floor then, Houston, we have a problem. Take it right back to whoever sold it to you because if it’s shedding in the bag, just think of how much it’s going to shed when you put it in the wash.

Beading is beautiful and time-consuming. Make sure it’s secure before you buy.

6. Mind the material. Yes it’s true—some fabric blends are stronger than others. You want to know why your jeggings, leggings and yoga pants start pilling after only a few washes? That’s because they’re probably made from a cotton/polyester blend, and this blend is notorious for leaving little white balls in all the wrong places. If you want sturdier pieces of clothing, try blends/natural fibers that are known for their strength like wool. Don’t depend on price for quality. Just because you’re paying a lot for a garment doesn’t mean it’s well made and comfortable. Try it on, test it out, and if you have the opportunity, look for reviews on individual garments before you buy them.

These six points are just a start. There are many other ways to make sure you have a high-quality garment, but think twice before spending your many on pieces that won’t make it through the season. And don’t forget: high-quality is also about wash and care. Make sure you read the care labels and follow the directions so that your clothing lasts as long as possible. With the power of home economics invested in me, I now pronounce you a clothing expert. You may pick your clothes.

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