Buying new clothes can be fun. You update your style and find a pair of jeans that fits just right, or a new blouse that’s ultra-comfortable and chic. The downside is that many clothes these days just don’t last. They tear and shred and pill within only a few months. Here’s how to buy clothes that last.
Beware of Pilling
Pilling, or small balls that pop up all over your shirts or pants after a few weeks or months is the scourge of shoppers everywhere. It’s good to look for tight knits and clothes that seem sturdy. Short-strand cotton tends to pill more but long-strand cotton like Pima cotton is very durable and doesn’t pill nearly as much – however, it’s also more expensive.
In terms of things like dress shirts – and jeans – it can be a good idea to go for a polyester and cotton blend with at least 20 percent polyester, which often increases the durability and anti-pilling abilities of the garment.
Generally, there is no way to know for sure if a clothing item will pill, but if it does you should return it within the warranty or return period for refund or exchange and consider spending a bit more or looking a bit more carefully to find pill-proof items.¹
Another important tip for buying clothes that last is to be selective. It is better to spend slightly more or take your time at the thrift shop or wherever you prefer than to rush out and buy piles of clothes you barely need at the cheapest nearby store.
Chances are half will be ripped, pilled or rarely worn within only a few days.
Instead, take your time shopping. Really look around and find your own sense of style. Look out for promotions and sales at slightly higher-end shops you might not usually go and then buy one nice tee shirt or pain of jeans instead of five at the local mass market place. You’ll end up saving in the long run.²
Avoid Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is all over. Pale knockoffs of the latest runway trends at lower prices. But it’s called fast fashion for a reason and it falls apart faster than you can blink. Don’t bother buying it. Instead go for linens, high-quality wool, strong polyester blends and other clothes that are more durable. Even things like zippers are often lower quality on fast fashion and before you know it the money you think you saved to get the “look” you dream of turned out to be a waste. Before you buy anything feel the fabric carefully and try it on. There’s nothing as important as how you feel in your clothes, even the price.³
You’d be surprised what you can find out from reviews. Generalizations about whole brands aren’t always true but you can look up specific items and find out their advantages and disadvantages. Is a tank top prone to ripping or over stretching? Do the jeans you have your eye on tend to fit poorly? Check out reviews online whether you are shopping virtually or in store. You may find customer feedback that is relevant and useful to your buying decision.²
The Right Care
In addition to buying high-quality clothes, caring for them is almost equally as important. If you have a silk product, for example, you can’t treat it the same as a cotton shirt in terms of washing or drying.
It can seem like a chore, but take the time to read the instruction tag on clothes and find out the best way to wash and dry them. It will end up greatly increasing the durability and life of your clothes and make them feel better when you wear them.¹