How to Identify Quality Clothes When Shopping Online

Laura Tolentino

Young beautiful women at the weekly cloth market – Best friends sharing free time having fun and shopping in the old town in a sunny day – Girlfriends enjoying everyday life moments

In 2020, fashion designer Bernadette Banner released a scorching-hot YoutTube video. She titled it, “Buying a Knockoff of My Own Dress: An Educated Roast (Actual Fire Used For Scientific Purposes).” The hilarious takedown went viral, and now it has over 6 million views. 

Unfortunately, Banner’s problem is all too familiar. Today, there are more clothing scams than ever online. Poor-quality knockoffs and damaged secondhand abound. 

Yet, the promise of affordable, stylish clothes makes online shopping compelling. Is it really possible to get genuine, quality clothes online? 

Yes. But, you’ve got to strategize. Read on to discover exactly what to look for to dentify quality fashion on the internet. 

Research the Seller

The best tactic to avoid scams and knockoffs is to research the seller before you buy. Don’t just trust reviews on the seller’s website before you buy.

Instead, look at consumer protection groups, like the Better Business Bureau and the FTC, to learn if anyone has reported a seller. Or, check out third-party review sites (including verified Amazon reviews). Use “CTRL+F” to see if any reviews use phrases like “knockoff” or “scam.”

Try to find out how established a seller is. Use Google Maps to see if they have a real, physical headquarters.

You can also Google the seller, and click on the three vertical dots to learn more “about this result.” This can tell you how long the site has been around. Explore the brand’s social media pages and Amazon store page to see if they seem cohesive or just slapped together. 

Be Skeptical of “Too Good to Be True” Prices

Ultra-cheap websites like Wish are notorious for low-quality products. These sites often manipulate photos to make the product seem better than it really is. They may even just steal photos from reputable brands, like The Label

Ultimately, if new a hoodie is $5, something sketchy is going on. Either they’re lying about product quality, or, worse, it was made through unethical practices. 

Learn How Clothes Are Made

When you develop background knowledge about fashion—particularly clothing construction—you build a better gut-level sense that lets you identify good clothes. Learn which fabrics, and which construction techniques, are high-quality and sustainable. 

Once you know what you’re looking for in terms of materials and design, you can search online with more specificity. Which sustainable brands use fabrics you know are long-lasting? Who’s utilizing the garment design and construction techniques that make clothes comfortable and durable? 

Shop Local, Online

Did you know you can shop locally from the comfort of your own home? By using social media options like Facebook Marketplace and the Mercari app, you can find clothing sellers close by.

You can also use “near me” Google searches to find local farms that sell clothing materials. Retailers near you may partner with a local angora goat farmer or bamboo grower. 

Locally-sourced materials are more likely to be high quality because they avoid many mass-production techniques. You can also find more people with firsthand knowledge of the local business’ clothing quality, right in your own neighborhood. Even if you can’t head over yourself, you know you can trust the firsthand opinions.  

Test Secondhand Clothing Quality With Viewing Tools

Secondhand clothing stores are a great way to get truly high-quality clothes for less. Online, sites like Poshmark and ThreadUp are great clothing resale resources that offer good brands. 

To make sure you’re getting what you see, look for clothes that have lots of photos or videos. In particular, look for shots that show you what the fabric looks like close-up, and seek out listings with photographs from many angles. 

You can even ask the seller to take more pictures if something seems appealing. If the seller only has photos from the original catalog, that’s a red flag. 

Lifestyle Strategies and More

Buying quality clothes online is doable. Discover even more savvy lifestyle strategies with our content library! Feel free to browse by topic, or use the search bar.