I was interviewed by The Washington Post for tips on how to choose the best quality garments for you and your budget. Read the entire article, or see below for some of my excerpts.
Clothing pricing can be baffling, and it’s not always clear if a price tag correlates to a garment’s quality. And what is “quality” anyway?
To some extent, shopping for quality means defining what that means to you. There’s the question of durability (will it fall apart quickly?); material (is it breathable, and does it feel nice to the touch?); fit (do you feel both comfortable and confident?) and practicality (does it require special care?). And there are values-based considerations, such as sustainability or labor practices.
Taking all of this into account, we spoke with fashion experts about how to find quality clothes on a budget.
Be smart about fabric
Natural fibers come with many benefits — cotton holds up well, wool is cozy yet breathable, linen is light and airy, and silk is, well, silky — and are often priced accordingly. However, there is significant variation within fabrics, and simply seeing natural fibers on a care tag is not a slam dunk.
Your appetite for maintenance matters, too. “Any sort of silk with a sheen to it is a goner because the first time you spill on it, it’s done for,” says Lani Inlander, a personal stylist in D.C. She favors more matte fabrics or washable silk for that reason.
Don’t discount (all) synthetics
Polyester sometimes gets a bad reputation, but that’s not necessarily warranted. “A lot of our clients prefer polyester blouses over silk ones because they don’t want to have to worry about ruining their blouse all the time,” Inlander says. “I think a lot of people are afraid of tech fabrics, and they’re all about natural fabrics. However, I think that something 100 percent polyester can also last a long time. A lot of it has to do with the weight of the fabric.”