Clothing Quality on the Decrease?


I only wear live fur
Aug 30, 2007
I spent a good part of last night sewing every single button back onto a brand new shirt. The buttons were sewn on with a machine and come right off if you pull a single thread. It got me to thinking about quality and how it seems to be on the decrease. Agree or disagree? Give me your horror stories about quality.

I have lots of vintage clothes (1940-1960's) and they just seem to be better quality. They have better quality fabrics, linings, seams, etc. They aren't made with sergers and don't come unstitched by pulling a single thread.

I'm just getting really tired of clothing that I wear a few times and a seam comes out or a button falls off.


always an if in life
May 19, 2010
i do see what you mean. my sister and i recently bought True Religion jeans, and a pair she bought had a loose thread! for around $250, we were shocked. luckily we exchanged them for a pair that were fine.


Dec 19, 2008
i can totally relate... i got a BR trenchcoat this spring and just last night while i was swapping it for my winter coats i noticed the tread was coming out of one of the buttons. this is the second button on this coat that i'm having to sew back on! i know a BR trenchcoat isn't the highest quality but for a coat you'd expect those buttons to be reinforced...and they're not. i dream about getting a burberry trench someday but i can't afford it. yet when i see how poorly made a $100 version is, it really gets me thinking that it's worth the good quality when it'll last a lifetime. ...sigh.
Jun 28, 2010
BR has definitely gone downhill. I have a dress that I just bought in August that I'm going to have to hem because the stitching completely came out at the bottom. I only wore this dress to work a few times, and I have a cubicle/desk type-job where I attend all-day meetings. So nothing too strenuous on the clothing.

Don't stone me, but I notice that my vintage and American/French/Italian-made clothing is holding up much better. Much of the Made in China stuff is crap, I'm sorry. Esp when it comes from huge mass producers like BR. BR quality used to be great; I don't know what happened.

And the Made in China stuff from them was much better a decade ago. Heck, even 5-7 years ago. Now it's just produce more even if it's shoddy workmanship.

That's why I basically buy lots of certain brands and spend a bit more on them. I'm tired of this throwaway clothing. And a high price tag doesn't always mean quality either, IMO.

Couture Zoe

May 8, 2010
I completely agree! I have many vintage dresses that are of a quality that's very hard to find these days.


super stylin' nerd
Mar 2, 2009
Great White North
I'm not too concerned about buttons falling off -even with expensive items, this is still plausible because they are all put on with sewing machines.

However, fabric and seams are more of a concern for me. I cannot stand wool sweaters that are not 100% wool. SO annoying because they get covered with fuzzballs after a couple of wears.

Also, poorly sewn clothes also suck. I can understand poorly made clothes from HM and other bargain brands, but even some of the mid range designer clothing brands that charge an arm and a leg for tshirts and plain sweaters look very much like the HM brands these days.


Dec 2, 2006
i had to re-sew ALL the buttons back onto a Club Monaco double-breasted pea coat last winter, and it was a new coat in January 2010. Very annoying.


Aug 31, 2009
I have a pair of IRO silk pants I wore one time. They were serged and the seam is coming undone next to the pocket area. I can't wear them again until I pay to have the seam put back together. They were expensive too!:rant:


Literally amazing!
May 8, 2010
Agreed, completely! It takes a long search to find a longsleeved shirt that will hold up a year... (without shrinking, holes, etc..)


Feb 1, 2009
United States
I had to resew a button on my J.Crew coat after wearing it daily for only 2 months. I was shocked because I take excellent care of all my clothes, and I didn't expect a button to fall off with gentle use.

I also noticed some precariously loose threads on both sleeves of a brand new Alice + Olivia tshirt (which was not cheap, retailing for $118). I worry about the rolled cuffs completely falling off the sleeves. LOL.


I only wear live fur
Aug 30, 2007
I'm just glad I know how to sew, both hand sewing and machine, because it seems like half the clothes I buy need to be fixed within a month or two.


Mar 3, 2008
I personally don't think it is acceptable when buttons fall off and hems fall on mid-price brands like Banana Republic. Much as I like some pieces I have from Banana, they are not durable - a down coat and a trench coat had problems with tears and buttons after just one season.


Want. Want. Want.
Jun 24, 2006
East Coast
It is interesting/frustrating to see the decline in quality of certain brands over time.

Not a clothing item, but I still have a Nine West leather wallet that I purchased back when I was in high school (10 years ago). It has held up like you wouldn't believe and looks much more expensive than it actually is. I still use it today. It's funny because I look at some of Nine West's wallets now and they just look/feel cheaper. They probably switched manufacturing processes/location.

Clothing is funny--you don't necessarily "get what you pay for." I spent nearly $200 on a Bailey 44 dress last year and the strap started to fray/detach after the first wear.

J Crew, in my opinion, is one of the worst offenders. Way overpriced for the quality. I also see so many flimsy tops hanging on the racks in Saks for $200+.

Coco Belle

spreading love!
Jul 14, 2009
I learned to sew at my mother's knee from the age of 4, so I've always looked at seams and hems and button detailing and such with a critical eye. And I must say I completely agree with you. Buttons are the worst, since not so long ago, high-use buttons (say for flies, or cuffs) were still hand-stitched onto clothing, and were correctly finished to withstand daily use. Now they're machine attached and not even tied off, so the thread just falls out of the button after a few days.

The number of times I've had to stitch actual CUFFS back onto shirts for DH... never mind cuff buttons. I mean, CUFFS? Seriously?? I can understand a button falling off, it happens... but if a cuff is placed correctly into a sleeve, it should have been stitched over more than once at least.

It really annoys me. It also depresses me hugely to go into a nice dept store and take something off the rack, and be able to see immediately that the hem is already unloosed, etc. Or worse, that you can SEE the hem on a smart, $250+ skirt?! What ever happened to invisible hemming?