1. 1. To quickly assess an item’s quality, hold the fabric up to a bright light.
Here’s an example of two different silk blouses held up against a strong light. “The thicker the material, the higher the quality,” Debbie Roes — creator of the Recovering Shopaholic blog — told BuzzFeed.
2. Do the “scrunch test” to see if clothes stay wrinkly.
Ball part of the garment up in your fist, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it go. Does the fabric stay wrinkled or do the wrinkles come out quickly? If it can’t stand being wrinkled for a few seconds in your hand, it’s probably not going to withstand the test of time.
3. Make sure your pattern matches at the seams.
Check the side seams of a shirt and around any pockets to instantly tell if quality is high or not. “Matching a plaid or horizontal stripe may mean using more fabric to cut out the individual pieces of the garment, which can drive up the cost,” Roes said.
4. Check out clothing AFTER you try it on.
Well-made clothing retains its original shape. Odds are that if it looks misshapen after wearing it for 5 minutes, it’ll only go downhill from there. Before you leave the fitting room, see if any pulls or misshapen areas have started to form so you don’t waste your money.
5. If you’re shopping for a sheer fabric or lingerie, look for French seams.
French seams are a favored seam-finishing technique for designers, Roes explained, since the raw edges of the fabric are hidden in a neat finished seam. French seams are best for fine, thin fabrics that can fray easily, or for lingerie so you don’t have a rough seam against your skin.
6. Linings are always a *good* sign.
“Well-made jackets have a taped edge holding lining to the jacket material,” Roes said.
7. And lastly: Find something you love with a pen stain on it? Remove it with hairspray when you get home.
Spray the pen mark with hairspray and then wipe away with a damp sponge. Try this BEFORE you take the tags off — if the pen turns out to be permanent marker and won’t budge, you can still return it.