The relationship between price and quality has always been one of great confusion. Bulging marketing budgets, elaborate shop fittings and slick advertising campaigns can whack a hefty premium on top of what you buy. Add to that a staggering array of fabrics, finishes and details and it is little wonder we struggle to determine whether what we are buying is actually worth the money. The golden rule to not getting caught out? Never use price as a guide. Read ahead on our tips for finding top-quality clothing and accessories built to last.
Know Your Materials:
While a punchy colour or interesting print might draw you in, fabric is the first thing to check once you get up close and personal with a potential purchase. What a garment is made from is one of the major factors in determining the number that ends up on its price tag, so if you’re about to shell out over $100 for a PU leather bag, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Synthetic fabrics – being specifically developed to withstand wear and tear – should not be automatically shunned, but be weary. Try deploying the ‘scrunch’ test: use your hand to scrunch up an area of the garment and then release. If the wrinkles that initially form don’t disappear and the fabric doesn’t return to its initially smooth appearance, there’s every chance that the quality might not be up to scratch.
The Importance Of Provenance:
Few of us really know how or where our clothes are actually made, and the country of origin tag can be a clue as to whether the item was mass-produced in a factory, or hand-shirred by artisans. ‘Clue’ is the operative word here – just because something was made in the Far East doesn’t mean it’s bound to fall to pieces. Consider country of origin a rule of thumb, rather than one that’s hard and fast. For tailoring, shirting, shoes and leather accessories, Italy is in many respects the padre of manufacturers. The brands that produce their clothes there, from Prada to Bottega Veneta, make use of premium raw materials that come out of the country’s mills, supported by years of production expertise.
Avoid Impulse Buying:
It’s easy to get dazzled by a one-day flash sale, an in-store celebrity endorsement, or a limited time offer, but buying on impulse isn’t great logic for making sound investments. If there is something you are dying to get your hands on, try stalling for 30 days and then re-evaluate. If you have forgotten about it, then you probably don’t need it. If you have decided you definitely cannot live without it, then make sure it is worth the money. Ask questions (Where was it made? Can you find a similar, better-quality item elsewhere?) and do your homework by scoping out the style online if possible.
Don’t Shop Blind:
Ultimately, when it comes to materials, bricks and mortar shopping will always have the edge over buying online. Go into stores, touch fabrics, see how they hang on you, and hold them up against each other to compare and contrast. Whilst purchasing online is convenient, filling out a returns form and waiting in a post office queue is not everyone’s idea of a fun lunch break. Unless you already have a good idea of how an item fits and its fabrication, swap cyberspace for old-school shopping.