We're all for investment pieces here at Cosmopolitan, but we are not here for getting duped into buying something of poor quality. Just because it looks pretty, doesn't mean it's going to last—trust us, we've learned the hard way. Arm yourself with these quality control tips and you'll never be fooled again.
1. Check the composition label.
Ooh, a fancy silk shirt in a high street store? Make sure to check the label. Brands can basically call things whatever they want, so they could say something's a silk shirt when in reality, it's just 2% silk. Check the label to make sure you're not getting duped.
2. Check the seams.
Designers like gathered seams, because they can make clothes more forgiving and help hide fit issues that arise. Flat, smooth seams are better, so best to double check your item before buying it.
3. Check the color placement.
Found a cute bag or sweater with a cool pattern? Great! But be careful—if there's a large white chunk next to a colored section, the color could well rub off into the white area. This is especially common with handbags, so look carefully.
4. Don't be fooled by embellishments.
If something's pretty cheap but covered in beads, bells, and whistles, you know deep down they probably won't stay on. Instead, invest in a basic piece and accesorize with a chokeror a cute clutch. No one wants to pick sequins out of the washing machine, anyway.
5. Double check the garment to see if there's loose fabric.
You know when you wear something a few times and random bits of wool, thread, and fluff start gathering up and going all lumpy? So annoying. Admittedly, it can be hard to predict when this will happen, but if the item you want has too many bits sticking out, put it back.
6. Give it the light test.
Hold the fabric of the item up against a bright light and see how much light comes through. Thicker, better quality fabrics will let through less light—but we're not saying your shirts need to be made of the same stuff as blackout blinds.
7. Also, give it a (gentle) pull.
Don't go all Tarzan on it, but gently stretch the fabric between your hands. Does it spring back into place or does it stay saggy? This is a good indicator of how the item will wear over time.
8. Go for covered zippers.
You're simply not getting your money's worth if you splurge on a fancy jacket that has exposed zips. If it's not part of the look, then it's just not great manufacturing. The zip should lie totally flat, too.
9. Check on the threads.
Sounds simple, but you'd be surprised. Get in close and check that the thread used for the stitching is exactly the shade it's meant to be—not a bit lighter or darker. Also, check for any loose stitches or threads. You can also (very gently) pull on the seams to see how much give they have.
10. Make sure it's lined.
If you're splashing on a fancy jacket, you're missing out if it's not lined. Same goes for bags—if it's pricey, it should always be lined. Simple.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.