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25-07-2005
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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so how DO you assess quality?
I keep on hearing people say "look for great quality"...but how? What should I look for? Fabric? Stitching? Anything else? I'm going to Beijing and HongKong/Shanghai soon to do some major pre-college shopping and I'd like to buy stuff that won't fall apart after a few wears.

TIA!

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25-07-2005
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I'm no expert by any means, but I'm replying anyway...

Fabric - this one takes a lot of touching and comparing before you really get a good feel for different fabric qualities. With wool blends, for instance, get a feel for what mixes/percentages/etc. feel best and pill the least. Pilling is such a vile disease.

Stitching - I always look for straight and "strong"-looking stitching. If it looks like it's going to come undone or break, it will. And things like loose threads or long, uncut thread ends are often a good indication that little care was taken in the product's construction or finishing.

Cut - I'm not talking about how it fits you, but whether the cut of the fabric is even. This is easiest to check out with t-shirts. For example, I have a t-shirt that I hold lightly at the shoulders and let hang in a manner than it should be totally even and flat when I lay it down. Then when I lay it down, it's totally uneven. There's too much fabric at one side that should have been cut away. And it's something that is obvious (to me) when I wear it. It fits me well, so I like the overall cut a lot, but technically it's cut rather poorly. I would love to undo part of the side seam, cut away an inch of fabric, and resew it sometime. Then it'd be perfect.

Zippers - These are so important. Zippers should be straight and should lie flat. I bought a pretty cool-looking jacket once with a very attractive polished gold zipper. It was a nice detail that kind of "made" the jacket. However, it was the crappiest zipper ever. The teeth were uneven, so zipping it was quite a struggle. Actually, unzipping was the big problem, which made it even worse. Needless to say, I returned that jacket.

Seams - Puckering = bad. And look into different styles of seams. They are not created equal.

Details - After looking at the basics, just consider the overall detail of the piece. How much obvious time was put into it? Is it a basic item with run-of-the-mill construction, or is there a wonderful sublety everywhere you look? If you're paying for designer, it should tend toward the latter.


Last edited by AlexN; 25-07-2005 at 05:10 AM.
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25-07-2005
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That was a wonderful post, Alex! You must have covered everything. Some extra tips:

Fabric--At the stores what I often do (sorry if it's evil...) is I surreptitiously apply gentle pressure on the fabric. For example, if it's a t-shirt I would pull on part of the fabric to see how well it holds its shape. I wouldn't buy it if it became "flabby" from the pull.I also may scrunch up a tiny corner of a woven fabric to see how easily it wrinkles.Check for pills and snags in knits (dont try snagging it though! ) If you find even one snag, be sure they will only increase with wear. When buying black, I always check for lint-attractability.

Lining--Oh, also check the lining in tailored items, that it lies flat and smooth against the fabric and heaven forbid it peeps out from under.

Shoes...ugh, well, basically just say no to plastic soles and pleather uppers if you dont want blistery and sweaty feet.

You can also learn a lot about quality by visiting high end boutiques and touching the clothes and trying them on, even if you are not buying them yet.

Pre-college shopping, how exciting! Hope that helps; have fun Stylephox!

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25-07-2005
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very good question, I cant wait to hear what others post...

for me, quality is the right fit (Seven Jeans vs. Bubblegum)
also the material, that it wont fade with time or wash, or that it wont tear or distress
the feel of it, that its soft and not too stiff, form fitting ofcourse.
Something that is very important to me, is that garmets do not lose thier shapes, such as become too loose or stretch with a few times of wearing...

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25-07-2005
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-Do all wool blends pill eventually?
-how do I tell 'lint attractibility'? hehe
-I just discovered that one of my cardigans is made out of Alpaca wool...can anyone tell me more about the quality of this material?

thanks for the awesome advice everyone; Plastic'sWife, Melisande, AlexN.

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25-07-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stylephox
-Do all wool blends pill eventually?
-how do I tell 'lint attractibility'? hehe
-I just discovered that one of my cardigans is made out of Alpaca wool...can anyone tell me more about the quality of this material?

thanks for the awesome advice everyone; Plastic'sWife, Melisande, AlexN.
Wool and wool blends, or cotton or any combination of raw materials can pill. Fibers are longer or shorter, thinner or more coarse. In general, you want longer and thinner fibers to make a high quality yarn/fabric of any kind. Pilling occurs because fibers "slip out of" the knit/fabric. The shorter and coarser fibers are, the more likely they are to "slip out" and create pilling. Longer/thinner fibers are of course more expensive than shorter/coarser.

Alpaca wool comes from the alpaca animal; it's related to the lama. It's a light, warm kind of wool. The quality can vary wildly, just like it can for regular lambs wool.

Lint attractability depends on the surface of the knit/fabric. Watch what it looks like, does the surface look or feel hairy, dry or irregular in some way? Then it's likely to be a dust magnet...


Last edited by tott; 25-07-2005 at 04:23 PM.
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25-07-2005
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The most obvious distintor in a product that is of poor quality are the stitching and seams. That is the first thing I look at/notice. Crooked seams and stitching really really bother me. But other than that, like AlexN said, the cut and the fabric are very good determinants in the quality of the product.

And as far as shoes- I buy nothing but real leather with clean seams.

I don't mind buying jeans that may distress/tear with time. I like it when my old jeans look worn, and (to me) it does not look "cheap" or of poor quality.

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25-07-2005
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Tott!! That was so informative about the pilling issue, thanks. So I guess tightly knit, long, thin fibers are the best bet. But sometimes it's hard to tell if a fiber is long or short, no? Do you have any other tips, pretty please?

As for lint-attractability, static is a huge factor to consider: some synthetic fabrics and blends =static=lint. Lint on black is my personal pet-peeve!

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28-07-2005
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thanks for the advice everyone. I tried to look for the things suggested today, I must have scared some salespeople by scrutinizing everything so intently

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