A woman with classic style inspecting a well lit and minimalist clothing store for high-quality garments.
January 21, 2024
 in 
Slow Fashion

A Guide to Finding High-Quality Clothes That Will Last Including 21 Brands We Recommend

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re you among the 61% of Americans who frequently struggle to find something to wear despite owning a closet full of items? Do you ever find yourself getting rid of clothes after a couple of wears? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, rest assured you’re not to blame. Over the past few decades, fashion retailers have been promoting a throwaway culture encouraging consumers to purchase cheap, poorly manufactured items designed for only a few wears. Today, many items are only worn seven to ten times before they’re thrown out – with many contributing to the 11.3 million tons of textile waste produced every year in America.  

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. By purchasing good-quality clothes and getting to grips with the slow fashion trend, you can help combat the problems associated with “fast fashion” and embrace a more ethical lifestyle. In this handy guide, we’ll demonstrate that looking great doesn’t have to cost the Earth.

Table of  Contents

What is high-quality clothing?

Woman wearing high-quality clothing made with natural and thick materials with classic style.

Good-quality clothes are carefully made using high-quality materials – typically natural fibers such as wool, cashmere, and silk, rather than synthetic and cheap materials. Higher-end clothing brands tend to use thicker materials that are more durable and allow you to wear garments for as long as possible. Similarly, high-quality clothing is typically made by fairly paid, professional garment makers with tailoring experience.

Fast fashion brands, on the other hand, tend to purchase garments from factories where workers are made to prioritize speed over quality. These brands often sell clothes made by poorly paid factory workers, perpetuating unethical hiring practices.

Is high-quality clothing considered slow fashion?

In short, yes! As the name suggests, the slow fashion movement tackles the problem of fast fashion, including rapid production cycles and unethical practices that are harming people and the planet. As well as prioritizing fair labor practices and environmental sustainability, slow fashion is all about encouraging people to build long-term relationships with their clothes and support artisanal workers. By encouraging people to invest in high-quality clothes, the slow fashion movement reduces the pressure on consumers to shop for the latest trend and discourages people from viewing garments as disposable.

How do you identify high-quality clothes?

Wondering how to differentiate between throwaway fashion and timeless, high-quality pieces? It’s easy if you look at the following criteria:

Craftsmanship

High-quality clothing should be well-cut and excellently seamed. If you’re unfamiliar with well crafted sewing styles, and additional details that distinguish between high snd low quality clothing, watch the video below by ethical fashion designer, Justine Leconte:

High-quality materials

Look for strong, high-quality materials that feel luxurious and thick. Natural materials such as cashmere and silk look amazing and won’t fall apart after a couple of wears. To understand more about various clothing materials, take a fun yet insightful crash course with slow fashion youtuber Gloria Gao in the video below:

Durability

If you’re an outdoorsy and active person, it’s a good idea to find clothes with sturdy buttons and materials.

Attention to detail

The highest-quality brands often pay close attention to embellishments such as pockets, zippers, and stitches. As this video guide below by fashion youtuber Audrey Coyne shows, small details could indicate that a garment will last for years.

Brand reputation

If you’re an online shopper, you may struggle to wade through the thousands of available brands. Fortunately, you can spot high-quality brands by checking out their ethics and sustainability information – a process explained in this helpful how-to guide once more by fashion designer, Justine Leconte:

Timeless style

There’s no point in purchasing high-quality clothes that are likely to go out of fashion in a year or two. Fast fashion thrives on brief trends and fads, so as shown in this video created by the "Fashion Elitist" YouTube Channel, combat the status quo by building a timeless wardrobe full of pieces you’ll love forever:

Tips for buying high-quality clothes at lower prices

While it’s true that high-quality clothes tend to be more expensive than fast fashion garments, you don’t have to be a millionaire to get involved with the slow fashion movement. High-quality clothes will probably cost less per wear than cheap clothes designed to be worn once or twice. If money’s tight, you could try the following tips for bagging a high-quality bargain:

  • Keep an eye out for high-quality brands offering clearance sales and special promotions.
  • Purchase off-season clothes. Retailers tend to reduce the prices of winter clothes in summer (and vice versa).
  • Sign up for retailers’ newsletters, as many offer discounts and special offers to subscribers.
  • Scour thrift stores and secondhand outlets. While it may take a little longer to find high-quality items that fit well, secondhand shopping is one of the best ways to find a rare, low-cost item you’ll love forever.
  • Shop at sample sales. Many designer brands offer end-of-season sales featuring high-quality clothes in a wide range of sizes. Just remember to arrive early!

Do the benefits of good-quality clothing justify their high prices?

Unsurprisingly, we’re huge advocates for the benefits of high-quality clothing. It’s well worth spending a little more money to take advantage of the longevity, versatility, and elegance of well-made garments that will take pride of place in your wardrobe for years to come. Not to mention the fact that reducing your reliance on fast fashion allows you to do your bit for the environment!

Switching to top-quality clothing gives you the perfect excuse to start creating your own capsule closet – a carefully curated collection of versatile items you can mix and match to create a wide variety of outfits to suit all sorts of occasions. Building a capsule closet of between 25 and 50 pieces is a great way to find your unique style and reduce the time spent choosing what to wear.

21 High-Quality Clothing Brands Designed to Last

How do you break away from your fast fashion habits? To help make the transition a little easier, we’ve put together a list of 21 trustworthy brands making clothes perfect for slow fashion newbies:

1. CUYANA

A woman modelling a full high-quality outfit by sustainable clothing brand CUYANA.

Known for its gorgeous leather bags and durable basics, Cuyana is the perfect brand for people on the hunt for timeless, no-fuss garments.

  • Mostly good for: Functional basics that never go out of fashion.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XS – XL.
  • Sustainability stats: The entire Cuyana collection is made from sustainably certified materials. The brand also ensures all its suppliers are committed to ethical practices and environmental responsibility. When you want to move on from a Cuyana product, you can give it a second life via the Cuyana Revive initiative.
  • Types of products: Leather goods, bags, women’s basics, outerwear, sleepwear, and loungewear.

2. Acne Studios

Side view model wearing classic styled jeans by Acne Studios.

Another famous designer brand, Acne Studios boasts statement pieces that will catch people’s attention for years to come.

  • Mostly good for: Bold statement pieces.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XXS – XXL.
  • Sustainability stats: Acne Studios cooperates with suppliers to ensure fair working conditions and eco-friendly practices throughout its supply chain. The brand is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, ensuring it’s held accountable for meeting its ethical goals every year.
  • Types of products: Outerwear, jeans, scarves, bags, and runway pieces.

3. Frank & Oak

Man modelling sustainable high quality outfit by the Frank & Oak Brand.

Canadian brand Frank & Oak is perfect for outdoorsy types hoping to invest in high-quality gear. From toasty fleeces to long-lasting dresses, this brand offers high-quality women’s and men’s clothes.  

  • Mostly good for: Cozy fabrics and clothes that suit active lifestyles.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XXS – XL.
  • Sustainability stats: The company is B-Corp certified and uses entirely sustainable processes and natural, environmentally friendly materials. Frank & Oak continues to look for ways to reduce its impact on people and the planet. For example, it recently introduced biodegradable packaging for shipping.  
  • Types of products: Outerwear, casual dresses and skirts, pants, and sweaters.

4. Stella McCartney

Woman modelling good quality and classic clothes by Stella McCartney.

If you’re a fashionista, chances are you’ve heard of Stella McCartney. But did you also know this celebrated designer is committed to eco-friendly production processes? If you want to invest in a “highlight piece” for your wardrobe, it’s worth browsing Stella McCartney’s collection.

  • Mostly good for: Sophisticated pieces for your next party, event, or speaking engagement.
  • What sizes does it cover?: Italian sizes 34 – 48.
  • Sustainability stats: The brand is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and uses recycled and eco-friendly fabrics in its products.
  • Types of products: outerwear, tailoring, casualwear, swimwear, lingerie, sleepwear, handbags, shoes, unisex items, kids’ clothes, beauty products, and more.

5. ALMINA Concept

Model wearing contemporary and classic cardigan and jeans made by ALMINA Concept.

ALMINA Concept was founded by New Yorker Angela Gahng after she noticed a lack of high-quality, stylish products at mid-range prices. The brand sells well-made, minimalist pieces you’ll want to wear every day.

  • Mostly good for: Affordable workwear with a stylish edge.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XS – L.
  • Sustainability stats: The brand uses paper boxes for shopping to reduce plastic waste. All products are produced in Seoul, South Korea, by skilled craftsmen who work in good conditions and help eliminate waste.
  • Types of products: Tops, knitwear, loungewear, outerwear, dresses, and jewelry

6. NADAAM

Model wearing  repurposed cashmere sweat suit by the NADAAM Brand.

If luxurious cashmere is your kind of thing, this is a good go-to. The brand sources premium cashmere directly from herding communities in Mongolia, ensuring workers are paid well. All products are designed with comfort in mind, using hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking, breathable, and temperature-regulating materials.

  • Mostly good for: Cozy jumpers that will see you through the winter.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XXS – 5X.
  • Sustainability stats: NAADAM repurposes deadstock cashmere, saving materials from landfill. It also sells a unique biodegradable coat that will leave no trace after being thrown away.
  • Types of products: Knitwear, outerwear, durable basics, sleepwear, accessories, and extended sizing items.

7. Rails

Model wearing classic and versatile blue silk dress by Rails.

Known for its sophisticated, “just-thrown-on” looks, Rails is perfect for consumers who like to keep things simple yet chic.

  • Mostly good for: Laid-back items that are easy to style.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XXS – 2X.
  • Sustainability stats: Rails sells an Eco collection that embraces organic, BCI-certified cotton and sustainable production processes. The brand also works with Wrap Certified factories to ensure its supply chain features fair and inclusive working practices. All packaging uses recycled materials.
  • Types of products: Shirts, jumpers, outwear, rompers, trousers, loungewear, sleepwear, and accessories

8. Baserange

Woman modelling versatile and high quality silk jumpsuit by Baserange.

Founded just over a decade ago, Baserange sells modern basics designed to flatter a range of bodies. If you’re searching for high-quality basics made from natural materials, Baserange is a great brand to try.  

  • Mostly good for: High-quality underwear that won’t let you down.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XS – XL.
  • Sustainability stats: Baserange works closely with producers and suppliers to minimize energy and water usage in its supply chain. It also uses natural and recycled textiles to reduce the environmental impact of its products, while continuously coming up with new ways to improve its sustainability.
  • Types of products: Underwear, outerwear, skirts, dresses, tops, knitwear, sweats, and shorts.

9. Eileen Fisher

Model wearing ivory outfit by sustainable clothing brand Eileen Fisher.

Eileen Fisher’s products are stunningly elegant despite their deceptive simplicity. Whether you’re looking for workwear or a new set of pajamas, their sustainable clothes are bound to put a spring in your step.

  • Mostly good for: Timeless neutrals in cuts to suit every shape.
  • What sizes does it cover?: PP (Petite Plus) – 3XL.
  • Sustainability stats: The brand is committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions throughout its supply chain, as well as developing a circular system that ensures resource regeneration and replenishment. As part of this, it offers a resale program. Eileen Fisher is B Corp certified and complies with the Responsible Wool Standard.
  • Types of products: Tank tops and tees, loungewear, sweaters and cardigans, denim, sleepwear, pants and shorts, accessories, and shoes.

10. Louise Misha

Woman modelling patterned blouse and classic pants made with good quality materials by Louise Misha.

Originally a handmade jewelry brand, Louise Misha has evolved into the go-to label for bohemian-inspired products. If you need a little more whimsy in your life, Louise Misha is here to help.

  • Mostly good for: Floaty dresses, intricate patterns, and high-quality accessories.
  • What sizes does it cover?: European 34 – 44.
  • Sustainability stats: The brand’s owners are committed to raising awareness about sustainability, ensuring minimal environmental impact at all stages of the production process. Louise Misha has GOTS certification and uses 80% natural fibers.
  • Types of products: Dresses, jumpsuits, outerwear, pajamas, knitwear, and even matching kids’ clothing.

11. Hereu

Neutral toned purse with display of high quality craftsmanship by Hereu.

Spanish brand Hereu sells a range of small leather accessories inspired by the Mediterranean. As a family-run business, you can rest assured products from Hereu are made with love and care.

  • Mostly good for: Gorgeous bags and shoes.
  • What sizes does it cover?: US shoe sizes 4.5 – 10.5
  • Sustainability stats: Hereu uses GOTS-certified cotton and ensures every leather garment complies with the ethical standards of The Leather Group. It also uses eco-friendly and sources materials from local suppliers.
  • Types of products: Shoes, bags, and small leather goods.

12. Anine Bing

Woman modelling elegant and classic top and skirt and accessories by Anine Bing.

Los Angeles-based prides itself on using the highest-quality materials to create timeless pieces. The brand often uses muted colors and simple shapes that look great for all occasions.

  • Mostly good for: Stylish essentials for frequent use.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XXS – XL.
  • Sustainability stats: Anine Bing uses fabric-sharing practices to minimize textile waste and avoid overproduction. It also follows a rigorous testing process for each new item, ensuring high quality and performance before fully investing. Anine Bing packaging is made from 41% recycled or sustainable materials, and the brand uses recycled shipping cartons, as well as GOTS-certified cotton.  
  • Types of products: Outerwear, denim, workwear, sportswear, lingerie, swimwear, shoes, bags, accessories, and essentials.

13. Sézane

Model walking in  high-quailty outfit and accessories by sustainable brand Sezane.

Inspired by effortlessly stylish Parisians, Sézane is perfect for those who believe in the power of a striped top or a perfectly cut shirt. The brand keeps things simple while offering clothes destined to attract compliments.

  • Mostly good for: Parisian glamour and playful pieces designed to last.
  • What sizes does it cover?: US sizes 0 – 16.  
  • Sustainability stats: 75% of materials used in Sézane’s clothes are eco-friendly – including certified materials, recycled polyester, and vegetable-tanned leather.
  • Types of products: Knitwear, dresses, bottoms, skirts, denim, sweatshirts, tops, bags, shoes, jewelry, and belts.

14. Vivienne Westwood

Model wearing men's high-quality recycled polyester jacket by Vivienne Westwood.

The late Vivienne Westwood was an absolute style icon, and her legacy lives on in her eco-conscious brand. This brand is perfect if you want to pull off a rockstar look that won’t cost the Earth.

  • Mostly good for: Styles that pop.
  • What sizes does it cover?: XXS – 3XL.
  • Sustainability stats: Vivienne Westwood considered the social and environmental impacts of every material it uses. Over 90% of the brand’s ready-to-wear collection is made from materials chosen for their eco-friendly credentials, while packaging is plastic-free, recycled, and recyclable.
  • Types of products: Corsets, evening dresses, outerwear, tailoring, skirts, trousers, bags, shoes, jewelry, and sunglasses.

15. Re/Done

Woman wearing high quality jeans and upcycled t-shit by RE/DONE.

This is a denim brand that does its bit for the environment by upcycling items by the likes of Levi’s, Dr. Scholls, Hanes, and more.

  • Mostly good for: Pre-loved clothes that look brand new.
  • What sizes does it cover?: Sizes depend on availability.  
  • Sustainability stats: Re/Done is grounded in the ethics of sustainability, regularly evaluating its production processes to minimize environmental impact. As well as upcycling, Re/Done uses recycled cotton, biodegradable Lyocell, and other sustainable fabrics. Packaging is made from recycled and biodegradable materials.
  • Types of products: Jeans, tees, and denim garments.

16. Maggie Marilyn

Woman modelling classic and versatile dress by Maggie Marilyn

Maggie Marilyn is a New Zealand-based brand offering cool, flattering styles for all ages. Whether you want some stylish, oversized jeans or a chic, figure-skimming shirt, you’re sure to find something in Maggie Marilyn’s collection.

  • Mostly good for: Feel-good garments handmade with love.
  • What sizes does it cover?: US sizes 2 – 16.
  • Sustainability stats: Maggie Marilyn is B-Corp certified and uses a winning combination of eco-friendly materials and compostable packaging.
  • Types of products: Outerwear, dresses, swimwear, denim, shirts and blouses, tops, knitwear, skirts, shorts, and sleepwear.

17. Caravana

Man modelling classic shorts and t-shirt made by natural materials by Caravana.

If you’re partial to a flowing dress that won’t look out of place on a Greek island resort, Caravana is a great place to start. Offering limited-edition, sustainable pieces, this brand is perfect for free-spirited women looking to embrace their inner (eco-friendly) goddess.

  • Mostly good for: Maxi dresses and beach-ready garments in earthy tones.
  • What sizes does it cover?: One size fits all.
  • Sustainability stats: Caravana uses handmade manufacturing processes and non-toxic dyes. It also celebrates the cultures and traditions of its skilled artisans.
  • Types of products: Dresses, jumpsuits, skirts, tops, ponchos, kaftans, capes, and vests.

18. Arnsdorf

Woman modelling elegant knitwear with timeless style by GOTS-certified brand Arnsdorf.

Australian brand Arnsdorf offers an intriguing blend of edginess and understatement. If you want to turn heads without causing too much of a stir, we recommend checking Arnsdorf out.

  • Mostly good for: Carefully tailored garments in muted tones.
  • What sizes does it cover?: Australian sizes 6 – 16.
  • Sustainability stats: Arnsdorf offers limited production runs to minimize wastage. The brand is also B Corp- and GOTS-certified, and its factory is certified by Ethical Clothing Australia.  
  • Types of products: Cashmere knits, denim, tailored jackets, trousers, shorts, dresses, skirts, and tops.

19. Vestiaire Collective

A collection of pre-loved high quality clothes made by designer brands and resold circular fashion brand Vestiaire Collective.

This brand sells preloved designer fashion from coveted brands like Chanel, Prada, and Louis Vuitton – an excellent choice for bargain hunters and vintage fashion lovers.  

  • Mostly good for: Rare treasures and affordable high fashion.
  • What sizes does it cover?: Sizes can vary widely, depending on the original brand.
  • Sustainability stats: Vestiaire Collective’s primary sustainability plus is its ability to keep used clothing out of landfills and encourage people to embrace circular fashion.
  • Types of products: Everything from tailored coats to structured hats.

20. Edeline Lee

Model wearing elegant and high quality blouse and pencil skirt by Edeline Lee.

Edeline Lee’s unique selling point is its ability to combine block colors with feminine shapes and styles. If you want to inject a little excitement into your wardrobe, you can rely on this brand to offer something fantastic.

  • Mostly good for: Eye-catching evening gowns.
  • What sizes does it cover?: US sizes 0 – 14.
  • Sustainability stats: Edeline Lee offers made-to-order products, ensuring you wear your garment for many years to come. The brand is also committed to using sustainable materials and recycled packaging while supporting a range of philanthropic initiatives.
  • Types of products: Dresses, jumpsuits, and suits.

21. Rianna and Nina

Woman wearing outfit made by vintage upcycled and high quality materials by the brand Rianna and Nina

Finally, we chose Rianna and Nina as a wildcard label – a sustainable brand for those unafraid to express themselves through bright colors and intricate patterns.  

  • Mostly good for: Intriguing prints you won’t find anywhere else.
  • What sizes does it cover?: European sizes 34 – 48. Some items are one-size-fits-all.
  • Sustainability stats: Rianna and Nina is committed to repurposing vintage fabrics and working with local manufacturers to minimize its carbon footprint.  
  • Types of products: Dresses, kimonos, swimwear, scarves, and accessories.

One Last Thing! Remember to Care For Your Clothing

Close-up of a pink wool sweater that has been cared for with a lint remover with the removed pilling being demonstrated.

As you can tell, there is a good selection of brands out there practicing sustainability, and offering high-quality clothes to suit a wide range of tastes, bodies, and purposes. Whether you need a tailored dress or comfy pajamas for your capsule wardrobe, remember to shop around to find something you truly love and try to buy less. The more you appreciate a garment, snd the less you have in your closet to maintain, the more likely you will care for them and get more use out of them in the long run. Caring for your clothes by following laundry instructions and storing them in your wardrobe will prolong their longevity and ensure you do your bit for the planet.