Use These Quality Hacks to Uplevel Your Look
‘Know that feeling…. when you walk into a room wearing the dress that always earns you compliments? The suit you’ve signed multiple deals in and won several positions wearing? You feel invincible, right? Like everything will go well on this day. (Or even if it doesn’t go “well,” at least it won’t rattle you.)
And then there’s the opposite experience. “‘Cause Cheap is How I Feel,” goes the song by the Cowboy Junkies. Cheap. Not a place of power or confidence, but a place of compromise and mediocrity. Sometimes clothes just look chintzy. And when they do, they don’t put you in that rattle-free state of being.
Clothing choices are a form of self expression, and how a garment presents and feels on your body has the power to change your disposition, all the way down to your toes. When an item feels “cheap,” as many do in this age of disposable fashion, your confidence around how you visually show up takes a hit.
What can you do to maintain a presence of quality and style?
You have more control than you might realize. With a bit of insight and a willingness to follow a hunch or two, you can uplevel the style quotient at most any clothing price point. It’s all in the details.
Here’s what to look for:
- Buttons. If it’s an inexpensive, painted-plastic button made to simulate
a natural material, chances are it’s going to fail at replicating a quality look. Plastic buttons are one thing on a man’s dress shirt, they are quite something else on a suit jacket intended to make a strong, positive statement.
Easy fix: swap the buttons out for a version made of natural materials like shell, nut shells, metals, or ceramics.
- Belts. Often, a dress, sweater, or other item is sold with a “self belt” attached to it. A self belt is simply one that is made of the same fabric as the garment. This works
just fine when the belt is a fabric, tie-on sash version. When it’s a buckled belt, it may not be your best choice. Manufacturers of moderate-priced clothing will often craft this kind of belt with inexpensive vinyl backing (that cracks with use), and low-quality hardware to save on production costs.
Smart fix: Purchase a coordinating belt of quality construction that adds finish to the garment, while linking to your other outfit colors.
- Hems & seams. If a hem is buckling or puckering, it’s going to deliver a less-than-stellar message about your attention to detail. This one can be tricky. If the garment is sloppily made, the fabric grade may be compromised as well, making the item difficult to save from a quality standpoint.
(Almost) easy fix: If the fabric is deemed to be of good quality, then it may be worth having a tailor re-do the hem so that it shows more neatly. Not so much with seams: they’re often finished in such a way that your tailor may not have enough fabric to work with.
- Fit. Speaking of a tailor, find yourself a good one. They can be your best style partner, assuring that the clothes you wear look like they were made just for you. Nothing makes a smart style statement like “custom made,” even if you do fake it a bit.
- Color. Color value makes a difference in how clothes of lesser quality appear. When selecting from inexpensive items, darker colors are generally more forgiving with the quality flaws inherent in lower-grade products.
How have you modified clothes to improve their appeal? Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)
Want to learn more? Work with me.
Patty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.
Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.
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