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11-02-2008
  1
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SohoKitten's Avatar
 
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How to spot good quality?
Hope to get some advice from you

How can I find out if the clothes are made of good quality when buying in stores?

Please share your knowledge & secrets!

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11-02-2008
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seams are a biggie - they should be finished cleanly with no loose threads/strings

linings - is the garment lined, if it's something that should be (coat, wool pants, etc)? what is the lining made of (ideally not a synthetic)?

fabric - how to judge depends on the fiber content and fabric... i stay away from poly chiffons as i think they often look cheap. with cashmere sweaters, i hold them up to the light and put my hand behind it - you shouldn't be able to see your hand through a thick, quality cashmere. there are lots of things to look for with fabrics.

buttons are another thing to look for, nice ones in natural materials or really interesting, substantial plastic ones can be nice too... but buttons can easily be changed, so i don't bother with them too much personally. buttonHOLES, though, should be finished off cleanly with no threads hanging...

i will add more later, have to figure out dinner

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11-02-2008
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^i agree, and i'll elaborate...

linings: if the garment is lined - check how it's attached to the exterior fabric - is it stitched in, is it partially stitched? worse - is there a cardboard or stiff fabric to give the cloth shape? this is a no-no, it creates unnatural lines in the fabric, creates awkward angles that your body could not possibly make in a garment. also - this backing over time and cleaning will stiffen or generate an unnatural shape to the garment.


fabric - always touch, don't look. read labels - what is the material? what are the care instructions? a higher thread count shirt will be lighter in the hand, almost like silk to the touch. it will cradle your hand,but when you let it back, it should have a clean hang with no depressions or ripples.

buttons - look for the shinier, harder buttons - you'll see them on quality garments - these are typically mother of pearl or another durable material - they won't break or let a sewing machine pass through. check for the stitching method - is it across or diagonal? how is the stitching finished on the fabric? it should all be clean lines.

on shirts - look for additional details - are the arms, shoulders and body attached carefully, or is it a front, back and a collar? if the shirt is patterned, do the patterns connect at the shoulder, on the back, on the sides? a quality handmade shirt will have interlaced patterns.

on shoes - look for the stitching on the bottom of the shoe - if the upper and sole are stitched, it's more durable. if you don't see stitching, it's probably glued. for the leathers, check the quality of the hide - if it's rough, it's synthetic or a cheaper hide. if it is soft to the touch, it could be higher grade (nappa). the softer, more supple leather scratches less than tougher leather.

also, when you're shopping - if the salesperson asks you for assistance AND you like the way they are groomed, manicured, neat in appearance, and properly dressed - ask them for their opinion on the clothing - if not, don't let them try to tell you anything about the garment. knowledge of what you are looking for and why empowers you over the salesperson, so you don't get bullied to buy.

it would probably help if you could tell us what kind of garments you might be looking for, then we could refine our advice. hope this helps

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12-02-2008
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i also tend to notice weight of sweaters.
like i found H&M sweaters to be really heavy while benetton sweater to be light as a paper.
does this have anything to do with quality? idk why a sweater can weigh more when its same material

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13-02-2008
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^sometimes it's lighter because it is less material...if the yarn weight or threadcount of each garment that you are comparing is the same - then the garment that is "lighter" or softer to the touch is probably woven tighter, ergo...less wrinklage and less chance of pilling, and better quality/durability.

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13-02-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crepebacksatin View Post
there are lots of things to look for with fabrics.
OH I would love to know more about fabrics!

SirSunday, I am looking for information on sweaters, jeans and tops, basically the things you can buy at H&M and Zara!

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14-02-2008
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wanted to write a little something now...i have a few thoughts i'll probably elaborate upon at a later time.

with respect to denim:
you have to touch it, hold it to gauge it's weight, and whether or not there are any other fabrics interwoven. i've seen denim in 8 oz, 10 oz and 14 oz weight, obviously the lighter it is, the finer the fabric (fabric is usually designated weight and thread count based off the raw material used in making a yard of it)- and the easier to rip or tear (usually by accident...) i am a jean junkie and look to the original levi's - 5 pockets, cotton rivets, simple design on the bottom, neat hem down the outer sides, with stitched hem on the inner leg.

pure denim (selvage) will feel like canvas or burlap - a bit coarse to the hand, and little give - meaning it kind of feels like you're holding deconstructed posterboard (if that makes sense). the stitching inside the material should have short spaces and tight weaving. the inner stitching along the hem should be clean, meaning the thread running between the two pieces of fabric should run horizontally and you shouldn't be able to see individual threads. this is better for durability, and will hold up better to stress when your legs are bent. check for stress points - if there is already thin material, the fabric will deteriorate quickly with wear - look at the inside of the knees, the crotch, and the bum, where the material is joined. make sure there are no loose threads, and when you pull on the material, it doesn't move.

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14-02-2008
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^
thanks Sir Sunday for all your inputs, this is a really good thread

So then, the more expensive the clothing, the better the fabric, make or craftmanship?

I didn't think so but wanted the opinion of others.

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Last edited by MizBlue; 14-02-2008 at 02:04 PM.
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14-02-2008
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^you're welcome. generally speaking, i'd say yes - if you are having a garment custom made. however, for most clothing off the rack i don't care who the designer is, what the label says, or what the price is - i'm not convinced that the more you spend, the better it is...you have to scrutinize each piece.

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14-02-2008
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What about thinner cashmere garments? Like from Vince, for example, there are nearly diaphanous cashmere tees & lightweight cardigans. Are these lower quality cashmere than a really thick (4 ply etc) sweater? Because, in general, sometimes very expensive brands use slinky fabrics in their sportswear lines and it can be hard to tell if it's a glorified but cheaply produced product or if it's just very "delicate".

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14-02-2008
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What about shoes?

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14-02-2008
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thanks, now can you tell me how to buy fruit. :p

seriously though, that's a lot of great advice.
the only thing i can add is

when buying alpaca, (i learned this while in Peru from the natives)

the fabric should feel cool the touch, it should be kind of heavy. baby alpaca is generally what you want because it won't be itchy.

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15-02-2008
  13
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SirSunday, thank you again for the great advice!
I will have a close look at the next jeans i buy - you mentioned levi's, so you like them a lot? do they last long?

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15-02-2008
  14
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Does anyone have any advice for silk scarves? I saw some today that were unhemmed and just had a fringe of threads at the edge. Would this fray very easily? They weren't cheap - they were going at 120 euros. Any ideas?

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15-02-2008
  15
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so many questions, yet so little time to dispense advice...
shirleebee - 4 ply indicates the number of hairs woven into thread - this doesn't necessarily mean better quality, or tighter/durable weave. it helps to know where the cashmere comes from - are they the lucky lambs in Mongolia or Scotland? they shave the underhair of the lambs - the wool is so fine, but so tightly woven, you'd never tell that they are so warm (it covers particularly sensitive spots, so it should insulate)...I don't know about Vince, but I would say that the cashmere tee likely isn't 100% cashmere, it probably has some fabric (cotton, lycra, polyester) to help it retain shape and wick moisture...
mousquerader - i mentioned shoes briefly in another post...basically you should look for hand crafted details - lining, stitching, and leather. A leather sole and heel that is not glued is usually a sign of good workmanship. if you can't tell from the outside if it's real leather throughout the shoe, touch the interior - if it feels like leather you could wear as a glove - then it's of quality...
SohoKitten - You're welcome. Levi's originated the jean. They know what they're doing You could check out the 501 version at LevisStore.com I do like them, however I don't wear them - because they don't fit the way I'd like them to...my jeans are from Abercrombie, but from a few years ago when they focused on the fabric more and less on trend (i.e. sandblasting, ripping, tearing, etc.) When I go to New York later this year I'm probably going to have some custom made, but I'm still trying to figure out who does that best...

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