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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Can You Recognize Quality


By | Fashion, How To..., Shopping | 6 Comments

In the sea of fast fashion and ever-changing trends, it may seem that spotting quality garments is a daunting task, but if you know what to look for and you keep a keen eye out, you’ll soon spot them.

Check the Label

Before heading to the checkout, check the labels on the inside of your garments. While it’s easy to assume that all natural fibers such as 100% wool, cotton, silk, and cashmere are always the way to go, synthetic fabrics also have their own benefits. Polyester, rayon, or blended fabrics sometimes have the benefit of being wash-and-wear as well as being easy to maintain. However, natural fabrics can always be relied upon most especially when it comes to cold weather clothing. Wool sweaters will stand up better than knitwear made of acrylic fibers.

Checking fabric labels will also help you discern whether the fabric the garment is made of will suit your purpose. Synthetic fibers like Lycra is the best for athletic wear, while natural fibers are best for dressing for the weather. Blended fabrics are very common these days, and for good reason but try and look for at least 80% natural fibers to ensure the best quality possible. 


Hold the garment against the light

Unless a piece of clothing is expressly supposed to be sheer, it’s worth holding it up to the light and inspecting it for flaws and transparency.  While all the lovely ladies below purposely wore these outfits (go figure), there’s nothing worse than finding yourself exposed when do didn’t mean to. Cheaper fabrics are often thin and contain many minor flaws.


Loose threads and uneven seams are a no-no

A quick close look at a garment can reveal loose threads and uneven seams, which is always a tell-tail sign of low quality. Look inside the garment and gently pull the seams apart and if the seam pulls apart it means the stitch tension was too lose or the stitch length too long. Likewise stitching can be too tight or close which can cause buckling along the seam.  Either way the garment’s seams will be weak and likely to tear open after just a few wears.

Serged seams or double straight seams are generally stronger and, therefore, preferable to single straight seams.

Also look at the hemline; uneven hems are one of my biggest peeves. 

bad seams, loose threads

Look for lining and well made button holes

Closely stitched and reinforced button holes are signs of good workmanship and while it may be a trend that some items are unlined, a lined garment improves the look of the garment, slides on more easily and will hide lumps and bumps if  the garment is a little on the small side.

Another quality sign is the addition of extra thread and a button and also indicates that the manufacturer, brand, or designer cares about future wear.


Matched Patterns at the Seams

When buying a piece of clothing with a pattern or print, take the time to double check whether the patterns match up when it meets at the seams. This may seem trivial, but it is precisely this sort of detail that separate poor quality from good quality garments.


Zip and Unzip

At times, something as simple as a zip can make or break a garment. When trying on something, pay close attention to the ease that it zips and unzips. A quality garment will also have a quality zipper and closures that make getting in and out of the garment an easy task. Scrutinize the alignment and placement of the zipper as well.


Seam Allowance

Lastly look at how much seam allowance the garment has. Better quality labels have seam allowances that allow for letting the garment out without compromising the garment. The seams are also better reinforced.  Skimpy seam allowance especially when teams with poor over locking is a recipe for a wardrobe malfunction.

Seam allowance

There you are. Next time you hit the stores you should be a little wiser.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

Sustainable Fashion Banner

SUSTAINABLE FASHION…are you doing your part?

By | Fashion, Shopping, Style Clinic | 6 Comments

With fast fashion seemingly taking over the world, quality in all things taking a back seat and pollution destroying our planet it’s time for each of us to seriously consider what we can each do to stop the decay.

From the melting ice caps, receding glaciers, horrific Asian pollution and the destruction of The Great Barrier Reef to name a few, it’s easy to see the impact of global warning and to blame many industries such as oil and coal but few realize that the clothing industry that is the second biggest polluter.


We may not think of the environmental impact of fashion, but it can and does have a significant effect on the environment especially given the amount of water needed to manufacture garments. It’s time that we, as consumers, become more conscious of how our personal fashion decisions can affect the environment and fashion industry.

Sustainable fashion is a design movement that is quickly gaining ground, its goal is to create a self-supporting system within which the manufacturing of clothing has less impact on the environment and is socially responsible. Starting in the 90′s, pioneered by brands like Patagonia and Esprit, sustainable fashion has become a permanent part of the fashion industry and today many other brands such as H&M are starting to emulate them. 

A great deal of creativity and resourcefulness is being put in to create clothing and fashion that are equally trendy and sustainable. Gone are the days when ecofashion gets a bad rap for looking bland and boring, brands like Amour Vert (a Gwyneth Paltrow), Svilu (an award-winning industry insider favorite), Freedom From Animals (chic vegan leather accessories), and even celebrity designers like Stella McCartney.

I design clothes that are meant to last. I believe in creating pieces that are not going to get burnt, that are not going to landfills and that are not going to damage the environment. For every piece in every collection, I am always asking what have we done to make this garment more sustainable and what else can we do. It is a constant effort to improve…”

Stella McCartney

Sustainable FashionSource

So how can you do your part?

It’s easy and all you need to do is remember 4 R’s.



Reducing your ecological fashion footprint is less about not buying and more about thoughtful consumption. It’s a matter of being more conscious of your purchases. Even when you’re not buying from a sustainable brand, thinking about your purchase will avoid creating more waste. Impulse buys create more waste since it is something that you don’t use again and end up throwing.

Shopping at thrift/vintage stores and consignment shops are also great ways to reduce your negative environmental impact and support ecofashion. You’ll be amazed at the finds you’ll discover at these places. Consignment stores are especially great for finding great brands and trendy pieces at a fraction of the cost. Meanwhile, thrift stores and vintage shops are treasure troves of unique pieces that are sure to give your ensembles more character.




I’m sure  when you clean out your closet, you’ll find quite many items you haven’t worn recently or your style has outgrown. Instead of tossing them, think of ways to give them a new life. Repurposing clothes and accessories are a great way to minimize your environmental impact. Instead of throwing out an old tee why not make it into a produce carry bag? All you need is creativity and Pinterest is chock-full of ideas on how to repurpose clothes and accessories. Another noteworthy site to take inspiration from is P.S. I Made This. Erica Domesek, the brainchild and creative behind the site takes everyday items and fashion items and marries them with current trends.

Sustainable Fashion


Editing your closet, creating a capsules and really knowing what works with your style are all effective ways to reduce and even avoid needless consumption. Few women take the time to explore all the outfit possibilities waiting to be discovered within their wardrobe while complaining of nothing to wear.

Making the time to organize everything you own and uncover all the hidden outfits is a worthwhile way to spend a Sunday afternoon and you’ll reap the benefits for months to come. 


Recycling clothing is one of the best ways to support ecofashion. H&M is a pioneer in this regard with its effort to recycle unwanted textiles. You can drop off any of your unwanted items into any store, and you receive a discount coupon.

You can also organize a fashion swap party with your friends. You know what they say, one woman’s trash is another one’s treasure. Swapping gently or never used items with your friends and family is a great way to spread the word about conscious consumption.

Sustainable  Fashion


These may seem like small ways to help support our planet and ecofashion. However every small step will add up and eventually make a real difference.

Every single choice you make about fashion reverberates through the industry. Making simple and thoughtful choices about how you consume fashion has more impact than you think.

Sustainable Fashion 3

To paraphrase Stacy Flynn of EVRNU who I recently had the pleasure of meeting, if one person can do so much damage with buying one t-shirt that same person can also make a positive difference toward strengthening the sustainable fashion movement. 700 gallons of water is wasted to make one T-shirt. This statistic seems exaggerated but it is 100% factual, and that is a sad fact of fashion consumption.

We are what we wear.

It’s a sobering fact that fashion is intricately intertwined with our personality and everyday life. Perhaps armed with knowledge about sustainability, we can all move forward and make more responsible decisions that will honor both our love of fashion and our planet.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP