Many people have their own rules and guidelines for shopping. After receiving a wonderful e-mail from a reader, I set out to make a post about my ultimate rule "Quality over Quantity".
My personal style is all about classic pieces. Classics are less likely to go out of style, and the quality is usually better. Quality over Quantity doesn't mean expensive over cheap... Designer labels do not guarantee quality! Finding quality requires closely inspecting the garment, so in the spirit of good shopping, here are my thoughts...
Consider the Material
Choose natural fabrics over polyester or synthetics
Sweaters: I like cashmere because it is light, warm and lasts
For going out tops and dresses my preference is silk
For casual tops and dresses, my preference is 100% cotton
For shoes, always choose leather
Inspect the Fabric
It should be cut and sewn on the grain
Patterns should line up at the seams' especially at the shoulders, collar and pockets
Hold fabric to light and make sure the weave is tight, even and uniform
The fabric should also hold its shape well.
Grab the fabric at the seams with both hands, and gently pull. If the thread pulls apart, they're not sewn properly
Check the Seams and Hems
Seams and hems of a high-quality garment are always sewn straight
Hems should be nearly invisible
Garments should have at least two inches wide hems to allow for alterations.
Check the Buttons and Zippers
Check for loose buttons
Button holes in a high-quality garment are often bound with thread for durability
Zippers should move freely up and down without hesitation
Check the Trim
Trim should be sewn securely. Gently pull on the trim at different places to test.
Trim should complement the garment in color and in style
Check the Lining
The lining in suits, blazer, and jackets should be dense and opaque
If the lining was properly sewn into the garment, it will not be tight
Check the Belt
If a garment comes with a belt check it for quality
A cheap cardboard belt is a sure sign of a cheap garment.
The best quality shoes are made of leather
Check the tag if you are unsure - many types of leather look "real"
Examine the sole to make sure it is firmly attached to the shoe
Extras should always be attached securely
High-quality shoes sometimes have leather heels, with a layer of rubber or nylon on the heel
Heels are usually plastic covered with leather, and the higher the price, the better the plastic
Inspect the shoe's interior. Leather interiors absorb foot moisture best
Good-quality shoes are fully lined from front to back
Proper care can increase the life of your garment.
So be sure to read the label and know how to properly care for your clothes.
I understand why people prefer to buy multiple items - it's more fun! But I have learned my lessons, and almost always choose quality over quantity. For some specific advice, I will be honest and say that I am not a big fan of brands like American Apparel and Forever 21. Based on my personal experience, Forever 21 does not last past the first wash and AA is overpriced for the quality they provide. If you love the brands, I hope your experience is better, but for me - never again!
Mainstream Stores WithLove... Loves:
Online and Retail Stores for more expensive pieces
(in order of preference):
Ssense (great selection and great sales)
Shopbop (great selection, but crazy taxes)
Bluefly (my all time favorite)
in Canada, Holt Renfrew
in England, Cruise
Saks Fifth Avenue (awesome sales)
Preferring quality over quantity is my personal belief, but it is something that takes strong will. The one quality item will serve me better than the three that I must replace in just a wear or two. You don't have to spend a fortune to get quality. It takes patience and searching, not compromising on your standards, checking for the details, and understanding what it is that you want.
And remember sales are always great for buying things that were out of your price point before... personally I buy majority of my classic pieces on sale. But do not buy something just because it is on sale, you must love it. Keep in mind that fit matters and right undergarments. As well as, make sure you pay attention to details, especially wrinkles, stains, and holes.
THE most important rule, if you don't love it, don't buy it. Buy things that make you feel beautiful and confident. Also Remember that you are going to wear them - so no matter what others think, be yourself and wear what makes you feel wonderful.
Sources: associated content; eHow; fashion spot; Moschino; lolita