How to identify quality clothing: Part 1

Discussion in 'The Good Life' started by PLANofMAN, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    I thought it might be fun to post about clothes, not any particular brands, but just how to identify a quality made product, regardless of any brand name or price, at a glance. 99% of the time, quality is not something that is readily visible. This is part one.

    Part One: Jeans & Denim

    So... You've got to turn stuff inside out. That's where you'll see the difference.

    If it has a zipper, take a look at the back of the zipper pull. YKK makes the best zippers in the world. (That is not an opinion, but fact). If you don't see YKK, stop right there. If the company won't pay a few cents more for a good zipper, chances are they skimped in other places too. I remember reading somewhere that the average wholesale price of YKK jean zippers were .14 to .20 cents.

    Roll up the cuff of the jeans. You'll see something like this:
    IMG_1576085945428.jpeg
    These are four random brands of jeans I pulled out of my closet. The top one is a no name brand of work jeans, cheap, but excellent quality. The two in the middle are name brand, average quality. The bottom one is name brand, exceptional quality. You are looking at the amount of stitching, weight of the thread, and how close the stitches are.

    The one on the bottom is also made from ring spun cotton. It's not a 'visible' indication of quality, but it does up the price. I have 20 year old ring spun denim jeans in my closet. It is incredibly hard wearing and durable. My non-ring spun jeans last about 3-5 years.

    Next, look at the front pockets. Is the stitching good?
    IMG_1576087775179.JPEG
    Same four pairs of jeans, slightly different order. Top left, work jeans, excellent quality, triple stitched. They will never wear out. Top right, name brand, double stitched, but with heavier thread and tighter stitching than the work jeans. Superb quality. Bottom left, name brand, decent quality. The pocket is double stitched where it attaches to the denim, single stitched at the bottom edge of the pocket, with some back stitching to reinforce the point. This is the absolute minimum required to still be considered quality construction. Bottom right, name brand, crap quality. Single needle stitching throughout, no reinforcement. In a year or two, you'll be able to stick your finger through the point of the pocket, because the stitching will start to unravel.

    Just checking those three things will be a good indicator of overall quality. Other things you can check are belt loops and back pockets. You should see nice solid bar tack stitches on the loops and in the upper corners of the back pockets. All front pockets should be riveted for reinforcement, including the coin/lighter pocket. (Edit: It was once, and probably still is called a watch pocket by some manufacturers. It was invented by Levi Strauss for cowboys to store their pocket watch in, because they would often lose them when they kept them in the waistcoat (vest) pockets. It is also the source of the phrase, "five-pocket jeans.")

    With a bit of practice, you should be able to visually pick out quality jeans in about 30 seconds or less. I'll post up Part Two: Shirts & Part Three: Sweatshirts & Hoodies in the next few days.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
  2. J_Man

    J_Man right on the Mass border

    Surprisingly enough I have never owned a pair of jeans, or anything made of denim for that matter.

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    PLANofMAN likes this.

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