Entertainment Fashion & Style How to Spot Quality Clothing 10 tips to spot high-quality clothing that will last you for years Share PINTEREST Email Print Hero Images/Getty Images Entertainment Accessories Tops & Sweaters Dresses Skirts Jeans Pants Outerwear Lingerie & Swimwear Do It Yourself Shoes Skincare Advice Makeup Hair Fragrance Tattoos and Body Piercings Kids and Teens Bumps & Babies Learn More By Erin Huffstetler Maryville College Erin Huffstetler is the former frugal living expert for The Balance. She covered how to save money and get out of debt. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter LinkedIn LinkedIn Erin Huffstetler Updated August 17, 2018 If you're tired of clothes that pill, fade, and fall apart after just one season, it's time to start shopping smart. Shopping smart means investing in quality clothes that look good and last longer. Here's how to spot high-quality clothing when you're shopping: Metal Zippers Francisco Rama / EyeEm Plastic zippers are hard to zip (and keep zipped). They also tend to go off track, and they wear out quickly. Look for garments with metal zippers and you'll avoid all of these headaches. Spare Buttons blueclue/Getty Images When an outfit comes with spare buttons, it's a sign that the designer expects it to be around long enough to require a few minor repairs, and it assures you'll have everything you need to make those repairs. If you happen to come across a garment that also includes spare thread, take that as a sign that you've found a quality item. Natural Fibers Adél Békefi/Getty Images Synthetic fabrics are notorious for piling and require a lot of special care (i.e., expensive trips to the dry cleaner). If you want your clothing to look great (wash after wash), stick to natural fibers like cotton, wool, cashmere, linen, and silk. Strong Stitches Halfdark/Getty Images Before making a purchase, inspect the stitching of the garment for signs of unraveling, missed stitches, loose stitches, snags, crooked lines, and other imperfections. Then, grab the fabric on each side of a seam, and tug lightly to see how well the garment holds together. If there's any sign of pulling apart, leave it on the rack. Well-Cut Leonard Mc Lane/Getty Images Cheaper brands try to save money by using as little fabric as possible to produce a garment. That often translates into too-short shirt sleeves and pant legs, less room through the shoulders of a garment, uncomfortably short inseams, and clothes that don't drape and fit well. Try clothes on at the store to make sure they look as good on you as they do on the hanger. Fabric Patterns that Match Up Gunther Kleinert / EyeEm/ Getty Images Wallpaper patterns should match up at the seams, and so should fabric patterns. Take a look at the seams of any garment you're considering to see how much effort has gone into matching up patterns. For bold patterns, like plaids and stripes, a poorly-matched seam looks unsightly. Assume any sloppy match-up is a sign that little care went into the construction of the garment. Quality Buttons and Button Holes Jitalia17/Getty Images Examine all of the button holes for loose threads, sloppy stitching, and other defects. Then, turn your attention to the buttons. Do they appear well-made? Are they sewn on well? If both meet your expectations, finish by testing all of the buttons by gently tugging on them. And, if any of the holes prove to be too small to accommodate the button, return the piece to the rack. Good Thread Achim Sass/Getty Images A wimpy thread is only going to get wimpier over time. Take a minute to examine the quality of the thread that's been used to put the garment together. Does it appear to be strong enough to hold the fabric together? Could they have used something stronger? Are the stitches reinforced where they should be? Finished Seams thawornnurak/Getty Images Look at the seams of any outfit you're thinking of buying to make sure they lay flat and are free of puckers and other irregularities. Then, flip the piece inside out, and look at how the seams were finished. Unfinished edges are a sign of poor quality. Serged edges connote quality, but French seams, flat-felled seams, and bound seams are the true mark of quality. Learn a bit about seams, so you can identify well-made pieces. Maintain Your Clothes Atli Mar Hafsteinsson/Getty Images Quality clothes are an investment. If you take care of them, they'll hold up for years to come.