How to Determine Quality in Plus Size Fashion
- and it’s not always about the dollar
Twitter after dark has transformed into a great open discussion about plus size fashion, ideals, gripes, concerns, and questions as it pertains to the plus size community and last night was no exception. On the topic of prices, investing in items, and quality was brought up that had me thinking again, as I have in the past addressed pricing and quality- after a few questions, I thought I would break things down a little bit more.
How to determine Quality in Plus Size Clothing…
In plus size fashion, this ideal of quality, investing, and paying more for clothing seems to be a highly sensitive and hot topic that polarizes some and enlightens others.
You see, the play ground for plus size fashion has gotten bigger, allowing newer entrants at both ends of the fashion scale- both in higher end and luxury down to fast fashion must haves. While we may see more options, we also see different prices, and we also see different levels of QUALITY.
There’s a whole new generation of women in their 20’s who think the idea of investing in a piece of clothing is completely foreign. We’ve spent the last decade thinking, It’s Friday at 4pm. I’m going to H+M to buy something to wear tonight and then throw it out at the end of the night and leave it in the restroom. If you said the word “tailoring” to some of these 22 year-olds, they look at you like you’re insane. To put on a suit, to put on something that’s beautifully tailored quite frankly, you just can’t knock off beautiful tailoring.
So how do you determine quality in fashion, especially when you have never been afforded these options before? After being relegated to polyesters, rayons, and pieces that would only last you maybe a year or two (if you are very lucky and careful with your garments), how do you know what quality is? How do you justify paying (investing) a bit more for an item?
You look to these key indicators for Quality. Regardless of the price point, these indicators will help you gauge the WHY an item will cost more (not always- but mostly!)
Lining, finishing, fabrication, zippers (invisible and exposed), natural fabrics, shape, cut, etc = indicators of quality
I am a fabric snob. Hands down. My skin is also sensitive to fabrics, so I often lean towards the natural fabrics, which tend to cost more, and for me that is okay. When shopping for clothes, check the type of fabric blend. Natural fabrics last longer, hold its shape better, and hang on your shape nicely. When patterns are present, they should match across the dress, not just cut across or run against the pattern.
In reference to the zippers, buttons, clasps, these minute details are often the first visual details that give your garment personality. Zippers should be able to glide up and down your garment smoothly (including the invisible ones). Button holes should be reinforced. Buttons and clasps should also be reinforced and oftentimes, a secondary button comes attached inside the garment- just in case.
Lining gives your clothes the ability to graze your curves without showing every nook and cranny. Oftentimes you will see lining in jackets, skirts, and dresses, with half lining in pants. Linings are usually solid and they vary in fabrication. Your lining should not be tight and should have a bit of wiggle room, when done right.
As plus size women, we naturally have more curves and the finishing is key. To test its quality, pull the garment taught at the seams to see gauge its tension and relief it will give. Also check to see if you can see through the garment. If you can, be careful, as this will give you an idea of how it will wear on your curves.
Higher end garments stitching always has a straight seam and is finished (meaning never left without a stitch). Also check for the type of stitching your item has. Stitching prevents your item from unraveling- unless the fabrication of the item prevents this, then it is treated as such. *You usually see this in cottons and it rolls up.* Your seams and hems should also be pressed to lay flat in the proper direction.
What is even better with quality items, should something happen to a garment, unlike fast fashion pieces, you are more apt to be able to fix, exchange, or repair your garment at your place of purchase if defected. More like an insurance policy for your clothes.
I will go into pricing and quality in another post, but in the meantime, please take a peek at Trapped in our Own Plus Size Stigmas to learn more about the changing field of plus size fashion.
What do you think about what I shared??