10 Tips to Recognise Better Quality Clothing

If we’re ready to support a more environmentally sustainable and ethically focused lifestyle, then selecting “quality clothing over quantity” is a sure start.

It’s said we are filling our wardrobes 60% more than only 10 years ago, and journalist Lucy Siegle tells us 80 billion new garments are produced globally every year.

Not only are we consuming more than necessary, but also we are feverishly filling our wardrobes with bargain-priced pieces, only to quickly discard them for another seasonal ‘must-have’.

For those of us who were clothes shopping before the fast-fashion phenomenon took hold 20 years ago, can perhaps recognise the deterioration of fabric and stitching quality in today’s disposable apparel.

Mothers and grandmothers who were brought up in the 1940-60’s, still hold an appreciation for a well-sewn item of clothing. Their eye for quality might have been developed through their own sewing skills or that of tailors and seamstresses of their day.

Yet now with the ferocious spread of cheap fast-fashion production and consumption, we’re hard pressed to identify true quality.

Buying less, then selecting quality items, are empowering actions in support of more sustainable and ethical consumerism.

Here’s a starting point to signs of quality clothing:

  1. Fabric quality and composition. Choose organic cotton over polyester, linen over nylon and lyocell/tencell over spandex
  2. Buttons are securely stitched on
  3. Additional spare buttons (and thread) are enclosed
  4. Striped fabric match at seam lines and, if stripes run either horizontal or vertical, should run straight across or down the garment (i.e. not skew or twisted, unless purposely cut on the bias)
  5. When gently pulling on either side of a seam, stitching thread or gaps can’t be seen
  6. Garment has double stitched seams, and/or blind hems and/or hand sewn hemlines
  7. The inside, and outside, of garment has no loose threads
  8. Inside facings use the same fabric as outer garment
  9. Larger seam and hem allowances are offered
  10. The item should be flawless in fabric, dye colour, hardware, and symmetrical in shape and length.

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