Style Theory App / Style Theory Apparel / Wardrobe

5 Expert Ways to Tell If Your Clothes Are Built to Last

Let’s set the scene: Your favourite dress seems to fall apart after a couple washes in the washing machine. Many of us have been there far too often than we should. Style Theory’s consumer research survey shows that 33.9% of Singapore females now seek quality, well-made styles when it comes to fashion options. The question is, how do you know good quality when you see it? Here’s how you can tell if your wardrobe is – or isn’t –  made to last.

5 signs your wardrobe is built to last:

#1 You can’t see through the material

Lightweight materials can be a blessing on a hot day, but sheerness is usually a sign that a piece of clothing will have a short lifespan. To quickly assess an item’s quality, hold the fabric up to a bright light. If you can discern the outline of your hand through the piece, the fabric weave isn’t very dense and might not be that durable. 


Sheer material is more prone to tearing and contains fewer fibres.

#2 You can’t see any gaps when you pull at the seams

Do a simple “pull test” — More durable clothing should have tighter, more frequent stitches with no discernible gaps that make for a stronger seam. On the other hand, loose stitches placed far apart can make a seam weaker and more prone to splitting. 


#3 Your shirt doesn’t pill easily

Ever noticed small balls of fluff forming all over the surface of your clothes? Those are called pills! Pills that form on synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester usually stay visible after they’re formed in the wash. On the other hand, natural fibres like cotton and wool actually shed their pills in the wash. However, if that cotton or wool shirt you just bought is already showing signs of pilling, it might be a sign that it isn’t actually completely made of high-quality natural fibres. 


#4 The hems of your clothes are “finished”

Many higher quality garments include something called a hem allowance. Clothing that includes raw hems that haven’t been sewn or “finished” with extra fabric is more likely to unravel.


Many fast fashion manufacturers often simply cut the ends of pants or skirts without finishing the hem to cut costs, which can lead to fraying and can make it harder to alter. If the hem appears to be folded over and sewn, it’s more likely to last without fraying. 

#5 The fabric patterns match up at the seams or pockets

This is a subtle way to judge the quality of a piece of patterned clothing. Because matching patterns like stripes or plaids at the seams requires more time and extra material, it’s a step likely to be skipped by manufacturers who don’t prioritise precise workmanship. If the patterns on a garment do match up, be proud of the time and thought put into making your outfit!


Matching a plaid or horizontal stripe may mean using more fabric to cut out the individual pieces of the garment, so this drives up the cost of the garment.

Build your own lasting wardrobe with the Infinite Wardrobe

Fast fashion may be more affordable, but it costs our environment a much higher price. We’re quickly turning our environment into a textile wasteland, simply because the trend cycles and shorter lifespans of fast fashion wear means we have to buy and throw away more than we really should 

At Style Theory, we curate high quality items that have proven to stand through the test of time of repeated washes and wear (trust us, it’s been tested and proven!) By renting from our Infinite Wardrobe, you’ll not only get to access a wide collection of quality, well-tailored designer brands, but experiment with different styles and trends at just one monthly price!


Read more: 5 Truths About Preloved Shopping You Should Know

Be a part of a circular fashion movement, where the lifespan of each and every piece is extended to its fullest potential! Dip your toes into renting with our new apparel subscription plans, starting at just $59/month, or buy preloved styles from our Style Theory Shop.

Read more: Why Circular Fashion Matters

About Author

Pei Szan is a dreamy idealist (a.k.a chronic daydreamer) who easily speaks in metaphors. She enjoys anything philosophical, loves jet-setting around the world, and has a serious boba addiction. Fun fact: Hailing from the land of Nasi Lemak, she left the legal scene to pursue her creative calling and hopes to inspire more women along the way. Her favourite section of the wardrobe? One-piece wonders like jumpsuits for the lazy days.

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    %d bloggers like this: