Fashion · laraswanderings

What is a quality dress?

My search into runway fashions led me to the question of why would some one pay $2000 for a Valentino skirt? In fact why would anyone pay more than Walmart or Dollar store prices for clothes? The answer turns out to be very practical, it has to do with quality.

More expensive does not equal quality nor visa versa. You can get quality clothes for less on ebay, garage sales, charity shops, thrift stores, or as hand-me-downs. If you are buying quality clothes full price you will typically pay more. Why? Because it cost more to make.

First of all, the material choice is a huge factor in cost. Natural fibers like wool, silk, linen, cotton tend to last longer, hold their shape better, and feel more comfortable. The methods for weaving, dying, and embellishing tend to product better colorfastness, more durable cloth, and more comfort in a variety of weather because of being water resistant yet breathable. You may not be able to spot the difference between a pleather jacket and a real leather jacket, but just look at them a year later! Real leather gets softer and more character with age while pleather cracks and falls apart at the seams.

The next factor is the sewing quality. I had always assumed that poor quality hems and buttons loosely attached just happened with mass produced clothes. Nope. Demand better! You should be able to give a slight tug on the hems and they hold and same with the buttons. The seams should sit straight at your sides. Darts should be even on both sides of your body. Lining should be as well sewn as the outer garment. There shouldn’t be loose threads, discolorations (unless on purpose for style), or uneven hems. Hooks, zippers, and any sort of fasteners should work right, lay right, look right, and be easy to use.

All this is the basics, but reading a book on mending clothes can give you even more ideas of what to look for in quality clothes. If you can work your way through an old fashion book on dressmaking you can see the true purpose of the way clothes is supposed to be made. This also doesn’t cover the patterns and styles that quality clothes create for better fits, to line up patterned material correctly, to create slimming seams, and to preventing weird puckering of fabric when you move. Does this mean I will pay $2000 for a Valentino skirt? Not a chance even if it is entirely hand sewn and custom fitted and can be passed down to my grandchildren, but I will be looking for better quality clothes.


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