How to Choose High Quality Women's Clothing

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Women walking with hands full of shopping bags.
Women walking with hands full of shopping bags. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Just because a woman’s garment is expensive, doesn’t mean that it is high quality. It's important to identify high-quality garments that are seasonless, versatile and well made before you make a purchase. It's also crucial to read the fabric care label for hints on how expensive it is to clean and maintain.

Consider the Fabric

If you want an item to last, invest in natural fibers such as 100-percent cotton, silk, cashmere and linen. You can buy high-quality rayons, polyesters and nylons, but make sure that these fabrics are not too stiff or shiny. If the material is too sheer when you hold it up to the light, or it feels rough to the touch, it will look cheap on your body and may not last beyond a few washings.

Mind the Details

Check the lining, buttons, zipper, hems and stitching for high-quality clues. An expensive lining feels good on your skin and helps the garment hang correctly. Look for straight seams that are beautifully finished, feature topstitching and are turned under neatly. After a few gentle tugs, the buttons should stay put and the zipper should open and close easily. If you turn the item inside out and can see that the item is coming apart at the seams, this is an indication the garment is not high-quality.

Invest in Versatile Closet Basics

Fashion expert Jill Martin recommends that shoppers put their money toward well-fitting, high-quality basics instead of buying trendy and often disposable fast-fashions. To get more mileage out of your clothing, invest first in fashion staples, such as cashmere sweaters, a trench coat, a little black dress, an all-season wool suit and a winter coat.

Designer Clothing Clues

The types of women’s clothing lines range from high-end haute couture and pret-a-porter to lower-end contemporary, bridge and mass market. In comparison to the other clothing categories, pret-a-porter and haute couture offer higher quality garments because of the designers’ use of high-quality fabrics and a greater attention to the fashion details.

Cost Per Wear

Cost-per-wear is a shopping term, which considers the total cost of the garment divided by the number of days of you’ll wear it annually. For example, if you buy a $500 black suit -- and plan to wear it once a week to the office for the next six months -- the cost-per-wear is $20.83. By factoring in the low cost-per-wear of the suit, you’ve identified a well-made piece of clothing that deserves a permanent place in your wardrobe.

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