We all want to get the most out of our money and not sacrifice quality. When it comes to purchasing clothes, you can train yourself to spot shoddy construction, identify cheap materials, and make informed decisions. It takes time and personal experience, but the investment is worthwhile. Here are five things to look for when you’re considering a clothing purchase:
1. Sewing: Look for loose threads and broken stitches. Also remember that a higher density of stitches per inch is generally better, and stitching should be relatively tight, not not so much that it prevents the garment from moving freely. Serged seams or double straight seams are generally stronger and, therefore, preferrable to single straight seams. At Midori, we use serged seams and double straight seams to provide longevity for our bamboo clothing.
2. Material: Everyone has her own material preferences, but in my opinion natural fibers are always a good bet. Wool, silk, cotton, and linen, and bamboo viscose beat out nylon, polyester, and acetate any day. Not to mention they are usually gentler on your skin and on our planet.
3. Weight: Heavier is not necessarily better. A wool blazer that weighs next to nothing likely lacks a lining, real pockets, and quality notions. It may also be constructed from a flimsy textile. Heavier cottons age better, dense linens last longer … not foolproof, by any means, but if you pick up a garment that SHOULD feel heavy and dense but doesn’t, keep looking. On the other hand, there are silk blouses and bamboo tops that are feather-weight and are well worth purchasing.
4. Stains, rips, and other obvious damage: Garments can get ruined in department stores more easily than they can get ruined in boutiques. Don’t forget to give your potential purchase the visual check.
5. Care instructions: ALWAYS check care instructions. A “dry clean only” garment will cost you far more in the long haul than its retail price. But bear in mind, too, that repeated trips to a lousy dry cleaner can ruin a garment – stiffen, shrink, or otherwise alter its original condition. So examine care instructions and construction with the same rigor. All of our Midori bamboo clothes are washable either in gentle cycle or by hand. For more longevity, hang dry instead of putting in the dryer. That’s what you should try to do with all delicate items in your wardrobe.