Quality: how do you define it & what you look for?

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  1. There has been a lot of talk, "good" quality clothes and "bad" quality. I wonder what is your criteria, what do you look for in quality? Is it a deal breaker or are some poor quality clothes acceptable?
  2. I have paid a lot for what I would consider mediocre quality. I consider good quality something that feels sturdy in my hands. No loose threads, something that washes or dry cleans well (no fading, pilling or color bleeding).
  3. I look at fabric content, drape, fit, if it's a classic style that will last several seasons, quality of the lining, pocket placement, quality of buttons and other embellishments if there are any. The highest price doesn't alway equal the best quality. You're often times paying for the label. I've found quality J Crew as well as more high end designers.
  4. Agreed, but how do you define good quality lining say to poor lining? Or quality pocket placement or good quality buttons?
  5. The materials used. I like natural materials ( cotton, silk, linen, wool). I like metal buttons or shell vs plastic synthetics. As for pocket placement, I look at where they hit on me when trying the garment on and where they are in proportion to the lines / silhouette of the piece. Are they distracting? Do they stick out? I don't like trendy features, such as big, exposed zippers, especially in silver tones. I don't care for things like fringe. I'm a minamilist and prefer quality over quantity and I go for classic pieces that will be mainstays in my wardrobe...cashmere sweaters and turtlenecks, silk blouses, wool slacks and blazers, classic trench, dark denim in styles that flatter my body vs what's trending.

    For silks, look at stitching. Is it even, no holes. For cashmere, is it a good gauge, no pilling after one wear! Is button downs, do they fit well, tailoring must be impeccable. Are the buttons sewn on well? I find a few brands that consistently make quality basics that fit my body and style, and keep going back . I think once you establish a personal style, it's much easier to find quality clothing.
    Vling13, ElainePG and HADASSA like this.
  6. To answer your question "are some poor quality items acceptable?" For me, it can be acceptable sometimes.

    A couple of examples are:
    -trying out a style or trend that is new to you. When skinny jeans/jeggings hit the scene, I didn't know if or how they would work in my life or on my body. I chose to purchase a "cheap" pair to try out before spending $200 a pop for them. I discovered that I quite liked them, especially in winter with boots, so I started adding higher quality pairs into my closet.

    -quite suddenly realizing you don't have appropriate attire for an event, such as a funeral. This has sadly happened to me. I ran out, grabbed the first conservative black dress I could find and got on a plane. I was not examining stitches or fabric contents, etc. I also didn't want to pay a ton of money without carefully considering the garment and this was not the time to do this. This taught me that I need to have something I can "grab and go" with and I have since filled this hole with something that is classic and well constructed/tailored.

    -say for instance you live in a hot climate, so you have no need for a heavy winter coat. But...you decide you want to visit a cold city in the winter. Let's use New York as an example; say you always wanted to go see Rockefeller Plaza and the big Christmas tree, but gosh it's going to be cold!! Do you go out and buy the very best goose down coat or do you go to Burlington Coat Factory and get an inexpensive but warm coat for the occasion? I guess it would depend on if you plan to vacation to cold, snowy destinations often or was this a "one off" and you don't really need an uber expensive Moncler goose down coat languishing in you closet.

    As far as determining what "quality" means, this can be somewhat subjective, although there are universally held standards. For example, subjectively, there are those who find J.Crew cashmere to be a fine quality item and then there are those who wouldn't think to purchase anything lesser than Loro Piana cashmere. What both groups of people hold in common are certain standards mentioned by the posters above. Does the garment drape well, are the seems nicely finished, are the threads too loose or too tight, is the fabric made of natural fibers or synthetics? The list can go on and on! What I have found, for myself, is the more time spent really examining the construction (the inside can be as important as the outside) of various levels of high and low quality clothing, the better I have gotten at quickly spotting well made garments. Bringing me back to the "subjective" comment, it all boils down to your own personal comfort level.
    Bitten and loveydovey35 like this.
  7. This question has the potential to open a can of worms. One person's "high quality" is another person's "so-so". There is the budget factor, for most. I think we often buy under a bang-for-buck determination. Like a previous poster said, if you have a limited use for a certain garment, you're not going to want to spend a fortune for it. On the other hand, those clothes you'll consider the workhorses of your wardrobe will justify some splurging. And then you need to adhere to a price point that is comfortable to you, where the price/quality ratio comes into play.

    Once you buy something, it pays to take good care of it. A well-pressed clean garment free of loose threads always looks better than clothes that don't get taken care of.
  8. I check for blind hems and hand-sewn finishing. Obviously not every quality garment has these attributes, but it I'm spending a lot I don't wanted to be putting a lot down for something finished with a serger.

    As many mentioned, I try to avoid synthetics except where necessary (waterproofing, for example).

    I also look out for bits of dried glue sticking out of shoes or things sewn on crooked, anything that suggests a lack of attention to detail.

    And I try to avoid buying any unlined coats or shirts made of excessively thin material. They're usually advertised as layerable but I tend to think that's an excuse to get away with a cheap product.
  9. Quality is a must, I am willing to pay more for that, up to a certain level. I don't need to have the very best quality or designer brands, but any clothing purchase has to have a certain extent of visible quality. It has to look and feel luxurious in plain terms. First and foremost I see the material and texture, I look for and feel in my hands soft and smooth texture, followed by impeccable and flawless stitching and colour dye must be rich but not loud. Design has to be timeless and minimalistic, I go maximalistic on accessories. This is my personal definition of quality in clothing.
    loveydovey35 likes this.

  10. Thank you for these excellent points.:ty:
  11. #11 May 30, 2016
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
    I have bought better pure cotton £1 T-shirts in 'run-out' shops than I've found in some famous name high-street shops. I never buy poor quality however cheap. For example, I returned one of two scarves from Liberty recently. One returned had lovely colours and print but the thinness and lack of flow in the chiffon was not worth the money paid (and that was 20% off). Other scarf amazing, so it's on a item by item basis and not just about brands. .

    These are regardless of cost or cost per wear.

    1. Material(s) - I'm very tactile, 'cheap' or naff prints are also a turn-off. Generosity of material in respect of style (no skimping).

    I also prefer natural fibres but even those can be inferior. If the material isn't right nothing else will be.

    2. Fit (added darts, yoke etc) - I'm not a paper doll, I'm 3D

    3. Details (even 'stealth' details) - I'd rather have something completely plain and basic

    4. Stitching

    5. Finishing
  12. I agree a lot with papertiger's list. I think quality is determined by

    The inputs: materials, fabric, threads, buttons, zippers, etc. It is surprising how much easier a good zipper works over a bad one.

    The craftsmanship: even stitching, smooth seams, pattern matching on prints, knits that are fully fashioned instead of cut and sewn, laborious handiwork, etc.

    And attention to detail: linings that look as nice on the inside as the outside of the garment, french or bound seams, bound buttonholes, selvedge edges, etc.

    Some people equate quality with durability, but those are two completely different things in my mind. Many high quality items are delicate and need extra care. High quality woven cotton, linen, and silk need to be pressed. Cashmere has to be washed by hand. My longest wearing item is a machine washable synthetic shirt that never wrinkles, and while it isn't low quality, it's merely adequate, certainly not high.

    My standards for quality depend on the function of the garment. I care more about ease of maintenance for beachwear and athletic wear.

    My bar for quality keeps going up. Every time I replace an article of clothing, I want it be nicer than the last. All my shoes have leather soles. My handbags have leather linings and pockets. The large majority of my wardrobe is leather, cashmere, wool, and silk. I dislike seeing machine overcast seams. I love the luxury of high quality items, but I am more exacting about function, style and fit, and will not compromise on those. There is a level of quality that is "good enough" for me.
  13. I consider good quality to be the material of the piece [how it feels on my skin, the texture, the proneness to piling or lack thereof], the fit of the piece [is it cut well? does it drape well?], and the craftsmanship- stitching, zippers, hem, buttons...it must feel sturdy and not like it's going to rip or fall apart. I simply cannot be bothered to baby my clothes.

    *To add, pocket placement on trousers/jeans is huge, as another poster mentioned, as well as how the sleeves are cut in the armpit area- there must be sufficient give, so it doesn't feel constricting!

    Price is definitely NOT a determinate of quality...and I really abhor spending a lot on say, a boutique piece of a high-end clothing store when I see the piece is made in China. That's never worth it to me!
  14. I think this article covers it pretty well: http://recoveringshopaholic.com/how-to-tell-if-a-garment-is-well-made/

    That said, I don't think synthetic fabrics necessary indicate inferior quality. One of my favorite designers of the moment is Maticevski, and he uses fabric custom-made to his specs. A lot of it is polyester and nylon, but he uses silk for lining and the stitching and finishing is excellent.
    Bitten and tulipfield like this.
  15. Hand-stitched details, use of leather/silk in pockets, quality fabrics ( zegna/loro piana wools, silks, linens), metal, pearl or horn buttons. Fabrics must not fade within a decade with regular washing.
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