5 secret style tips to keep your wardrobe (and wallet) happy

It can be a real challenge to find the perfect pair of jeans or a sweater to match your outfits. However, there are ways to get staple items in your closet and have them stay in style so you look good every time you wear them.

5 secret style tips to keep your wardrobe (and wallet) happy

1. Buy classic jeans

When you buy a pair of jeans, put on a pair of blinders so you won't be distracted by all of those trendy styles that involve fading, weird cuts, peculiar colours and even intentional rips.

Manufacturers love it when you fork over cash for this trendy clothing because such jeans go out of style in a heartbeat — and then you have to buy a new pair in whatever the new style is.

  • Instead, buy classic five-pocket blue denim jeans. These will last you years, and even when they do fade, you won't mind.

2. Check the nap

Your suit looks funny, but you just can't put your finger on why. Not all manufacturers pay attention to the direction of the nap of fabric — the way the fibres lie.

  • When you're buying a suit test whether the fabric was cut running the same way in both pieces: run your hand across the fabric of the suit jacket and then in the same direction across the skirt or pants.
  • For instance, you might stroke from top to bottom on a sleeve of the suit jacket and then top to bottom on the skirt.
  • The fabric may feel rough or it may feel smooth — either is okay. But you want to be sure it feels consistent on each piece of the suit. If it doesn't, find another suit.

3. Colour test before you buy

When you buy a garment in a store, conduct two quick checks to make sure the colouring in the fabric is high quality:

  1. slip on a pair of sunglasses (the brown-tinted variety work best) to make sure the colours in the clothing still match.
  2. walk the garment over to a window and check that the colours match in daylight too.

Though shoppers rarely hear about it, manufacturers spend a lot of time fretting over a quality issue called metamerism. Good manufacturers and retailers make sure that colours of a garment match in all light sources.

  • Here's the problem: a garment may have a few different materials all in the same colour — say, a jacket exterior the cuffs and the piping. Those different pieces need to all match whether the light source is incandescent, fluorescent or natural light.
  • If you buy a garment and it doesn't pass this test, you have a right to return it.

4. Slip into something old

Go online and jot down the addresses of vintage clothing stores in your area.

  • If you care about the way you dress, it pays to prowl such stores regularly. First of all, clothing from the 1950s and 1960s is usually better quality than modern garments.
  • Such classic clothing keeps coming back into style, too, so it's a good investment.
  • You'll be guaranteed a unique outfit — there's zero chance that you'll run into someone else at a party wearing the same dress.

5. Buy wrinkle-free, satin-weave cotton

Nobody wants to go to work in a dress shirt that looks like you've slept in it. There's actually a special kind of cotton that resists wrinkles — but chances are that a store clerk will have no idea how to identify such a garment for you.

  • Satin-weave cotton, which is more common in women's clothing than men's, feels smooth under your fingertips.
  • But to be sure you're getting satin weave, here's a quick and simple test: grab a handful of the cotton fabric, squeeze, then let go.
  • Does the fabric hold those wrinkles? If so, that's conventional cotton.
  • Does the fabric spring back relatively wrinkle-free? If so, you've found satin-weave cotton.
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