How to recognize poor vs. good quality in clothes (in 5 points) | Justine Leconte

How to recognize poor vs. good quality in clothes (in 5 points) | Justine Leconte

Hi everyone! It’s Justine. How to recognize good and bad quality when you’re shopping for clothes? There are some elements that are easy to check before you purchase the garment and you don’t have to be a fashion designer to be able to spot at least the signs of poor quality. In today’s video I’d like to tackle cut and fit. Colors and dyeing. Prints, appliques and jacquards. Fabric quality and fiber quality. And then the sewing. And we’re going to look inside garments so you can see what’s good and what’s bad. I will show you complete examples so that you can see what’s good and what’s not good compared. Fun fact, I own all the garment’s you’re going to see. I actually paid money to get them. It was before I became a designer, I didn’t know any better. Most of the garments you’re going to see I would never buy again but now that they’re here, let’s use them for science. Good fit and good cut. There are two signs of poor quality you should literally run away from. The first one is poor fit. Look at this nice and colorful sweater. One question though: where is the space for the breasts? It is a boxy cut. It is not body, okay. But I’m still missing breathing space at the bust level here. And the fabric is woven, not knitted so it’s not stretching at all as I move. This garment would be good if it was either even more boxy, or if I had at least bust darts, to give the fabric the shape of the bust, like on a woman’s shirt. Right now this construction is just not working. And the second thing is the cutting. When manufacturers don’t care in which direction they cut the fabric, you get side seams that twist. That’s something really everyone notices. It’s super annoying and there’s nothing you can do against it. When you take a roll of fabric, it has a direction: vertically. All your pattern pieces must be aligned vertically with the fabric. But then typically fast fashion brands will say: “Oh, look! There’s still space to get one sleeve here!” It’s not aligning with the fabric, but who cares! So they optimize the fabric consumption and in the end, you end up with pieces cut in all fabric directions, that’s why your seams twist more and move with every wash. Colors and dyeing. You want a colorful, vibrant piece to remain vibrant over time, right? But when you buy a piece too cheap, you will see the colors fade out very quickly with washes. Always look at these two spaghetti strap tops. This one used to be black. To give you a benchmark, this is black. Hehehee And this other one used to be pink. Now it just looks like a white top that has been washed with a pink dress, which lost its color. Too cheap is just too cheap sometimes. Remember my sweater? The care instructions say: not washable, so they probably tested it and found out that the blue or the pink bleeds onto the cream color when you wash it. So they said, let’s just say: don’t wash it at all! But like how is that supposed to work for me as a consumer? Same issue with prints and appliques. This one here was once a vibrant, acid green print with rubber on top. It looked pretty cool actually. Now the rubber effect is almost gone. The T-shirt just looks stiff and old. And the green is low-quality too, so now this is fading out as well. This here is a knitting mistake in the fabric, which I didn’t see when I bought it. And the hole just kept growing. So if you’re standing in the shop and you have the choice between two T-shirts. Same price. One is a solid plain color, the other one has a print on top. Always go for the solid color because you can be sure that on the printed version, they cut costs somewhere else to compensate for the margin loss and you’ll end up with thinner fabric or with twisting seams. You just don’t know it yet. Go for the plain one. One question I often get: Why are jacquards more expensive than prints? Because in jacquard, the motif is woven or knitted into the fabric. The yarns themselves are of different colors. While for print, you take a finished fabric and you just apply a layer of colors on top of it. It is by definition less durable than jacquard. Fabrics and fibers. If the fabric is too loosely knitted or woven together, you can notice that with your finger. You take the fabric and you try to push, back and forth – the little loops or the little weaving. If you can do that with your fingers, not so good! it’s too loose! A tight knit will be more dense, it will be heavier. It will fall nicely, will fall better. When you buy clothes online, by the way and you can’t touch the fabric, look at the way the fabric and the weight falls on the model on the picture and then you’ll know. Then quickly about the fibers fabric is made of. You have natural fibers and synthetic ones. Among the natural fibers, the classic four are silk, cotton, linen from flax, and wool. Then come modal, viscose, tencel – they are also of natural origin, but they have better characteristics, they’re more modern. Like they are more breathable. They are lighter on the skin. They don’t shrink when you wash them, etc. I write the name of the fibers down below in the description box, so you guys can look them up if you want to. And then there are the synthetic fibers. Stay away from acetates, it’s also made of petrol, it’s as breathable as plastic, hehehe, super-sweaty! And then you have the other ones, like polyester, acrylic, rayon, etc. There are quite a few ones. They are chemically made, but chemical fibers are much more stable than natural fibres and that’s something people don’t always know. A garment that’s completely made in synthetic fibers, is not always the nicest feeling on the skin, let’s be honest. But the problem is that 100% cotton is not a guarantee for high quality anymore either. Because the cotton production worldwide, just to take the example of cotton, has been so fast fashion optimized, that now you can find really cheap quality cotton and if you have a T-shirt in that fabric, it’s going to shrink by one size the first time you wash it! So sometimes, nowadays, a mix of natural and synthetic fibers is not a bad choice at all. In fact I like to work with mixes, especially for thicker fabrics. You see that in my collection. Because you have the stability and the breathability and the nice properties of the synthetic evolved fibers, and the nice feeling of the natural ones. I like fabric mixes. Sewing, stitching, threads, etc. Now let’s look into garments for real. First the hem. Here on this piece, the machine wasn’t even set up correctly. The thread is not lying flat on the fabric, you see how bulky and 3D it is. That’s not good! A good hem looks like this. That’s correct thread tension. It’s lying flat. On the inside, the stitching also looks clean and tidy. Even better, you can cover the seam at the hem with an extra fabric detail, like here. Or what I did in my collection, is that I covered the side seams completely with an organza. It will stay in place forever and it will not itch on your skin. Then let’s look inside. On this skirt, they opened the side seams. That’s great, because it’s a thick stiff woven fabric. So this way it’s not too bulky. It keeps everything flat, it’s easy to iron, that’s good. But on the pocket they didn’t do a great job. It’s messy really. On high quality pants the pocket seams are hidden, like here. All around, you don’t see a seam anymore. On this skirt here, there is something fancy. They made the hem stitch line invisible, but inside, they left the edge completely visible, instead of folding it inwards a second time. So they basically spared one centimetre of fabric. That’s cheap! Then they attach the hem with the invisible 5 millimeter stitch, but it’s not tight enough. 5 millimeter is actually just a temporary stitching. So what happens when you move in this skirt, this year the hem comes undone. And since we were talking about fabric, the outside here is wool, polyester, 5% others. What the hell is others? And the inside lining which touches your skin in the end, is hundred percent polyester, not so good. Last one. This one has a full lining. The darts of the outside fabrics are also on the inside fabric, so you can actually move in these garments, that’s excellent! You also have a bit of extra fabric at the hem, extra lining fabric, that’s for comfort. That’s also good for movement, great! The outside fabric is polyester, that’s cheap, but the inside, next to your skin, is viscose. Better this way, than the other way around. At least you have a nice fabric touching your skin. So next time you go shopping, you know what to look at, what to look for and if you see those signs of poor quality, then definitely the garments are not worth your money. They’re not going to last that long. I hope you found this video useful, helpful. I hope in answering your question about poor versus good quality. If it did, give the video a thumb up! Thank you so much! Also, thank you for 50,000 subscribers. It’s already more by now. It’s growing so fast, it’s incredible! Let me know in the comments below, if you have questions about poor versus good quality, or if you have tips to share on how you shop clothing. I see you Sunday and Monday again and here two videos for you to watch until then! Take care! Bye-bye!

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About the Author: John Markowski


  1. THANK YOU FOR THIS VIDEO. I don't understand fashion and all that goes along with it so i have never been able to figure out what is good/bad. How you laid this out in short and simple terms….i understood right away and i feel now i can build on it easier when i am comfortable. I have ZERO fashion sense so i need all the help i can get

  2. When I saw how ill fitting the first shirt was I had to take a quick from the video. It was a little hard to watch XD

  3. YouTube algorithm is drunk again.. haha!

    Thank you for that information though..
    Any advice for men? 😀 does the same things you mentioned applies for Men's clothing?

  4. Could you do something like this specifically for men?
    Things such as what to look for in a dress shirt and suit, and perhaps jackets and leather jackets.

    I think it would be well received even though it might be more difficult since you're not a man ?

  5. What about when a fabric is rougher on the inside than the outside? Is that a sign of poor quality?

    If a fabric has a smooth side I would prefer it to be facing my skin. When at home I sometimes reverse t shirts to get the seams on the outside.

  6. J’adore tes vidéos Justine! All great information! Do you have videos with more examples and comparisons. Especially on how to tell if the item was cut against the grain of the fabric. I’ve bought too many items that warp after the first wash ????

  7. I think we all need to learn more about fabrics so we don't buy bad products. And maybe if enough of us stops consuming fast fashion, some people might actually start making these clothes in a better way which will lead to better working enviroments for people who make these clothes in 3rd world countries and maybe it will stop harming the nature so much too.

    Also, please watch 'The True Cost' documentary. It would teach you a lot about the fast fashion endustry.

  8. Thank you for this very informative video. I actually started with shoes and your insights were so helpful, I'm in the process of watching all you posted re: quality/construction. Armed with your tips, I'll be making wiser choices during future shopping adventures. Merci.

  9. Another way is to look at the brand tag. If it say "BOSS" in big letters across the whole chest of a T-shirt it's low quallity compared to a T-shirt with a very descrete BOSS brand tag or a tag not visable at all on the outside.

  10. You should do the tips for choosing low budget but not so bad quality of clothes.
    And I love your accent 🙂

  11. Am I the only one who likes to ensure that if I buy garments with a printed design of lines, I ensure the lines are line up despite stitching?

  12. Por qué me sale el titulo e info de este video en español?

    Why is the title and info of this video in spanish on my phone?

  13. I actually wear black all the time, like my shoes and my bags are the only colors in my wardrobe. That being said I wear natural fibers during the summer, and in the winters I wear really anything else. Most of my summer clothes I make myself, and the winter outfits I purchase most of them. Overall it works for me. I also cold wash my clothes and hang dry almost everything

  14. This is so informative! I feel like target has quality clothes but this shows my budget. I'm not spending a bunch of money on clothes lol.

  15. This is an amazing video! Thank you!!! Lot of new facts I have learned about clothing quality and what to look for. Very helpful!

  16. I thought I was imagining that some of my clothes suddenly seem to be a size smaller and dont fit anymore, all while I ve been very careful when handling it.

  17. … and 100% cotton does not fit: t shirts and jeans that get so stretched out with wear in a given day or 2 that they practically fall off. Using a mix of cotton and enough synthetic stretch to guarantee that the piece will keep its shape as you walk-sit-bike-slouch-etc.

  18. That boxy top might be best turned into a cushion.

    ( what were you thinking when buying a cushion to wear ? ! )

  19. I'm going to go get a notebook and replay this video to write down the tips for future putchases. I shall not be fooled anymore!

  20. So how do you go on about recycling those mixed fabrics that you design ? You have to think of the whole life cycle of the product when you are making it.

  21. Also one tip for you people out there, if you are buying something with a pattern, let's say a shirt or skirt and the pattern doesn't match on the stitching, it's been poorly made.

  22. This was very interesting, but you are mistaken about rayon. Rayon is considered a natural fiber. Although it is “manufactured”, it is made completely of cellulose. Ironically, the three “more modern” natural fibers you praised – modal, viscose, and tencel – are all types of rayon!

  23. I know very little about fashion but I worked in a textile testing laboratory. I never buy clothes online because I don't trust something I can't touch.

  24. I thought that those side seams that twist are due to being unable to fold the clothes symmetrically, and since I suffer from the OCD it would drive me insane.
    Also cheers for sharing the tips.

    One can tell someone really knows their job well when they can explain the abstract concepts from it so well to the laymen.

  25. Est vous francais? I love other people's accents. I'm just trying to figure out where your's is from. Thanks for this informational video!

  26. Fabric mixes are a catastrophy for the environment, because they cannot be recycled anymore at all. They need to be burned when discarded. Even if it is 97% natural fibre and 3% synthetic.

  27. Youtube finally recommended a useful video for once. Thank you Justine, will put your tips to work next time I go shopping for clothing.

  28. Hi Justine, How can you predict seams will twist? Is there any way one can see the fabric has been cut in all directions?

  29. I have bought many T-shirt that were not cut correctly from the fabric, but it never shows before after washing.
    Ho do I spot it before buying?

  30. I know this video is 2 years old now but YouTube just recommended it to me. I'd appreciate it if people can comment below with brands they've found to be high quality that aren't super expensive (or brands that they've found to be bad quality, that helps too so we know what to avoid!)

    In Canada, RW&Co tends to be very good quality, while their cheaper counterpart, Reitmans isn't good quality.

  31. The problem with cheap cotton clothes is not only that they are low-quality products, but also that a lot of manufacturers use child labour and they spend too much water and dangerous herbicides to grow cotton. When I buy clothes, I always pay attention to the country where the piece is made in, I prefer local designers (for a lot of reasons such as carbon footprint and national economy), and mostly I buy clothes made of wool, hemp, silk and linen, although I try not to buy new clothes if I don't really need them. Now I will also pay attention to the stitches, thank you.

  32. A better topic would be how to recognise clothes which production not involved child work and war support, also how not to spend tons of money for a piece of cotton.

  33. idk, it's like 5$ tshirt with bad quality vs 30$ with good quality. So basicaly you can wear 5$ for a season and then utilize it, and buy a new one for the next season.
    Where with 30$ you need to spend much more to update your style every season, or you'll have to wear same clothing for long, which is bad either.

    Sewing… same here – everything extra costs money. Do we need that? Is this money spending is really important?
    I would say no – not at all. Go better buy 5$ tshirt and get bank investmnet for 25$. Thank me in 20 years

  34. Thank you a lot for the videos!!!
    Buying clothes for my kids i noticed that t-shirts with Disney characters are always more expensive (which is obvious) but if the price is lower and close to any other graphic t-shirt the quality of a disney t-shirt is poorer, cotton + polyester ?

  35. You are so creative to have come up with this; merci!
    With twisting and fading, how are you supposed to know prior to buying and washing? I am a victim. Lol.

  36. Then you drop the bomb viscose good (natural), rayon bad… When they are the same cellulose fabric (artificially made but natural source) with two different names. You lost credibility

  37. So if my 10€ shirt comes apart after just 5 years it's bad quality, right?

    Why am I even here?

    Should I buy a second shirt?

  38. the overall quality level of clothing production is almost entirely captured by fight for minimum profit. lowerand lowerand lower. everything and everywhere.

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