Couture Comment: January Sales Shop For Quality Bargains

Welcome to 2019, its the time of year when we don our tracksuits, head for the gym, work off mince pies, and decide that, this is the year… It’s also the time of year when department stores off-load their excess fashion garments from previous seasons, with a keen eye you can ‘shop for quality bargains’.

So what are you looking for? First off, I would start with an item of clothing your wardrobe needs, whilst still in the throes of winter here in the UK, knitwear is always a good find, cashmere, viscose, wool, acrylic mixed wool, to name a few are good investment pieces.

Viscose is regenerated cellulose fiber, it’s comfortable and pill resistant, unlike wool, which is its nature to pill.  As with all fibres quality is key, the crease test is a good example, hold the hem of the garment in your hand and gently squeeze.  If it creases and recovers well, that’s a good sign.

Wool from the fleece of sheep or lamb can also be extended to include all animal hairs such as cashmere. Both are known for their warmth and luxury, being absorbent and resistant to wrinkling, however pilling can be a little problematic making the garment look old before its time. Be mindful of handbags carried solely on one side, as the bag rubbing against the knitted garment agitates the fibre which is one of the causes of pilling. Wool is often blended with polyester or other man-made fibres, this allows it to retain its drape, is more durable and easy to care for.

Have a look at the seam finish, turn the garment inside out, if the knitwear does not have a ribbed finish, check for loose threads especially if a cover-stitch machine has been used (you will find this finish on hems of t-shirts), it will show as rows of straight stitches on the right side and locked mesh stitching on the wrong side. If this starts to unravel, leave well alone, unless you have access to a cover-stitch machine, or plan to handstitch in place.

Missing buttons, which is another reason for mark-downs, can easily be replaced with buttons of your own choosing. Quality of fabric fibre adds to the longevity of the garment, so does colour density – for example, look for a black that retains its depth of colour instead of resorting to faded grey/black after one wash (you may also want to consider which detergents you are using).

It’s the time of year when we say out with the old, making room for the new in our wardrobes, however you will find there are some pieces you just will not part with, be it sentimental or because it looks wonderful on you. Garments of quality will always stand the test of time, as opposed to bagging a bargain for the sake of it, which then never gets worn.  

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