Winter always makes me wild about shopping. Coats, jackets, jumpers, shirts, skirts and pants are more appealing to me when it gets cold, but that leads me to the never ending querelle on the value of the clothes we buy (or dream) to buy. Here there are some tips to recognize real good quality stuff, I asked my friend Angela Picozzi, co-founder of Italian top manufacturer Castor.
I knew about Angela long before we met, because of her mother Graziella. She was a great friend and counsultant to my then boss and she is the one who took me to my first fashion show ever. I was working for a Japanese company by that time just after the degree, so everything was new to me. Mrs. Graziella popped in from time to time bringing huge amounts of tortelli di zucca, a typical Mantua dish, where she lives with her family. And loads of expertise on how to make great clothes which she developed with her husband Mario Picozzi, a much respected tailor from Naples.
No wonder then, when I heard that Angela started the Castor business with her sister Elena and with Francesca Agosta, the daughter of a première, as the best seamstresses are called in haute couture ateliers. I finally came across her, immediately recognizing the magic touch of the Picozzi family: she is genuinely in love with fashion, only if perfectly accomplished.
Castor is currently producing garments for some of the most renowned international fashion houses, but don’t bother to ask her the names. She won’t tell, loyal to the old school façon ethics, compelling to utmost secrecy. What she is very happy to disclose, though, is how to undestand if the item you are planning to buy is worth the money it costs.
Outerwear and jackets are very difficult pieces to be properly cut and Castor has a reputation for their know-how. Their two in-house brands, Mantù for high end daywear and CM.100 for contemporary segment, both earned customers appreciation worldwide. So before swiping my credit card for a super fancy coat, I had a nice chat with her and noted down the ten golden rules of good quality fashion that you can find below.
In a good jacket, sleeves must be anatomically shaped, following the arms. If you see them twisting on the hanger, it means the jacket won’t fit properly.
Rule n. 2
With jackets and shirts make sure that the back collar always hides the stitching joining the collar itself to the back, otherwise the collar will always go wrong.
Rule n. 3
Armholes should never be too “long”. You may think the garment will be more comfortable, but it’s the opposite. Good fit comes from a reasonable sleeve width on the forearm.
Rule n. 4
If you see the hem seam from the outside or if it’s somehow pulling the hem itself, don’t buy it, it’s a fashion fail.
Jackets or skirts splits should always be straight and never open.
Hand-stitched buttons slip more easily into button eyelets. To make sure it’s made by hand, check the thread. When it’s not too tight, go for it, no machines were involved with it.
Rule n. 7
When buying unlined coats or jackets, carefully check the stitching. Good quality products have tiny hems on each stitching and they should never be wrinkled or twisted.
Rule n. 8
Cut&Sewn hems must follow the natural movement of each garment. The closer the stitching, the better the quality.
Rule n. 9
Lining should always be shorter than the outside fabric. If you can see it peeking out from the hem, you are definitely wasting your money.
Rule n. 10
Good shirts have perfectly balanced shoulder stitching, resting right in the middle of the shoulder itself. If it goes backwards you’ll always have trouble with the fit.