Choose quality clothes that save money, last longer and reduce waste. Poorly made clothes wear out quickly, clutter closets and use up precious natural resources. Well-made clothes are available for every budget, are built to last, and can be worn often and for years to come. Quality clothes just make sense.


Three ways to help

Quality doesn’t have to be code for “expensive.” Well-made clothes aren’t determined by the price tag and simple care can make those pieces last, which saves you the hassle and cost of replacing them. You can extend the life of your clothes and your investment by taking a few easy steps:

Step 1: Look for quality

  • Fabrics: All types of fabrics, whether natural or synthetic, have advantages and disadvantages. Consider the quality of the fabric itself (thickness, softness, stretch, etc.) and how suitable the fabric is for that particular item. Will it be comfortable and durable?
  • Good quality thread and strong, even stitches: Give the fabric a gentle pull to see if the thread breaks or pops. Check for rippled, puckered or twisted hems and seams. Avoid garments that don’t appear to hang smoothly.
  • Edges and hems: Cut or “raw” edges and hems can lead to unraveling and loose, hanging threads. Be careful in choosing garments with these features as they may require special laundering.
  • Matched patterns: If the garment has stripes or plaid, the pattern should match up at the seams.
  • Linings: For suits and other lined garments, check to see if the lining hangs loosely and doesn’t cause any pulling or puckering.
  • Quality buttons and buttonholes: Buttonholes should be well stitched with no loose threads or raw fabric showing. Test the button in the buttonhole to make sure it’s easy to button up the garment.

Step 2: Care for your clothes

  • Clean correctly: Follow labels when washing your clothes to keep them looking better and lasting longer.
  • Consider cold water: For most laundry, you can use cold water and less detergent than directed. This prevents exposure to excess heat or chemicals that contribute to fading or wearing out.
  • Group similar items and turn inside out: When washing, turn jeans and graphic shirts inside out to prevent fading and wear. Wash similar items together (for example, all jeans) to prevent harsher fabrics from wearing on softer ones.
  • Use the dryer sparingly: High heat fades and shrinks material, and also breaks down elastic fibers in clothes, causing breakage and stretching. When possible, line or flat dry your clothes. If you must dry your clothes, use the lowest setting.
  • Stain removal: Discover what sort of care is best for the stain. Cold water, hot water or stain treatment? Some quick online research can save that garment you love.
  • Simple fixes: Learn the simple but satisfying art of re-attaching a button, mending a tear or applying a patch.
  • Call in the experts: Locate a good dry cleaner and tailor that can help keep your clothes clean and well-fitted.

Step 3: Wear those clothes often and for years to come!

Every item in your closet has a cost-per-wear: the longer you wear that shirt or pair of jeans, the more you get out of your investment. A closet carefully stocked with several quality items will outlast a closet packed with poorly made, disposable clothes. So choose quality—you’ll look good, save money and help care for our environment.


About this campaign

A huge thank you to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for researching and designing the Make Every Thread Count campaign templates. DEQ created these templates for local jurisdictions to use. You can ask your contact at the City or County where you volunteer what their plans are to use the campaign here in the metro area. I in the meantime, Master Recyclers can access the messages and images if you want to create your own display for work, a table at the farmers' market or anywhere you might like to set up a table.