Check for Quality and Save Money for Back-to-School!

As we approach Back-to-School buying season, spending money on clothing for your children should not be wasteful.  Your kids will want certain brands yet be vigilant, no matter the name on the label be sure to check for quality.  Most clothing is made in an overseas factory with very little over sight.  Fabrics are not checked for color transfer and seams are not finished.  Moreover, buttons have very little thread attaching them to the outfit and stripes do not match up at the seams.  Here are some other tips in making your dollar go further when buying your children’s back-to-school wardrobe.

  • Check for proper labeling:  In addition to the brand name, the law states that there should be a label attached to the garment that identifies the fiber content and the care of the garment.  This information will help you in picking clothing that have easy care properties.
  • Do the plaids and stripes match?  It takes more fabric to line up the stripes and plaids at the sides, back, front and shoulders.  This is your indication of a better made garment.
  • Interfacings should lie smoothly:  If the interfacing is too stiff or is pulling away from the placket of a shirt or waistband of a skirt – walk away.
  • Check for flaws and stains:  Some fabrics by their very nature have flaws and this is noted in the labeling.  However, if there are rust or any other stains – walk away – you can’t get it out and it shouldn’t be your job to try.
  • Is the top and bottom of the outfit the same color?  Fabrics absorb color differently even if its the same fabric on another bolt.  Some of the finest brands of suits have been guilty of the top and bottom being slightly different shades of the same color as a result of irregularity in color absorbtion.  When a suit or two piece outfit seem a bit different – you are probably right and need to walk away.
  • Will the seams ravel apart after the first washing?  Most seams are not finish today.   Clothing termed as fast fashion, often found at H&M and Forever 21 are that – fast and not meant to last.  Check the seams to see if they are finished at all, this will allow them to last a least a few washings.
  • Do the seams pucker:  Usually if the seams are puckering it was sewn with the tension too tight on the machine.  You cannot fix it so walk away.
  • Check buttons for secure attachment:  Since there is very little thread attaching the button to the garment make sure that additional ones are provided.
  • Do your pockets tell all? Does the fashion fabric go far enough into the pocket not to reveal the lining?  Better check and see.
  • Check the inside as well as the outside:  With the limited dollars available to purchase clothing for back to school, make every dollar count and check for quality before you buy.  You will be glad you did!

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About vseitz

Marketing Professor at California State University, San Bernardino and author of "I Don't Wear A Suit."

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