May 03, 2023 3 min read

Cost per wear and understanding quality

Approaching conscious consumerism can feel overwhelming, with green-washing fast-fashion brands to low-quality garment construction techniques, it is hard to identify what is worth purchasing. A high-price tag doesn't always indicate quality clothes as most of us tend to assume. We have put together a list of the best metrics and garment construction methods to help you spot a well made garment. 


The cost per wear of a garment is a useful metric when considering a potential purchase. It’s a simple calculation that takes into account how many times you wear a particular item of clothing, and how much it costs. 

At first glance, the cost of a garment might seem like the most important factor to consider when making a purchase. But by calculating the cost per wear, you can get a better understanding of the value of the item over time. Essentially, the more times you wear a garment, the lower its cost per wear becomes.

To calculate the cost per wear of a garment, simply divide the total cost of the item by the number of times you expect to wear it. 

It is important to consider that the cost per wear of a garment will also depend on factors such as the quality of the garment. If an item is trend-led or has timeless style, it will play a role in the number of times it is wearable. A fast-fashion shirt made from cheap cotton with inferior finishing will have a higher cost-per-wear as it will degrade quickly as opposed to a quality, sustainable piece of clothing. 

Knowing which features to look out for on a garment will be useful in knowing how durable it will be. Consider looking out for the following construction elements when purchasing a garment. 

Felled or French seams

Often the finishing of a seam is a clear indicator in how the product is made to last over time. Typically fast fashion brands will use overlocking to finish their garments whereas French seams are more delicate and are reinforced, to prevent fraying or unravelling with wear.  


Opting for natural fibres ensures that with each wash and wear, the integrity of the fabric remains intact. Cloth such as organic cotton, hemp, linen and tencel are all great options as they also remain skin-friendly and breathable, as they do not trap odour in the same way as synthetic fabrics. 

Cloth with a tighter weave also ensures durability, for example the Oxford cloth which uses cross weave. 


Stitches per inch is an important way of figuring out if a garment is high-quality. More stitches mean seams are better reinforced and therefore have less chance of coming undone with wear. Typically 15 stitches per inch is a good measurement. They should also have no looping or loose ends. 


The pattern should be carefully cut and the garment should be constructed with attention to detail to ensure a flattering and comfortable fit. Brands that consider varying body shapes usually indicate that the the cut of the garment was well considered.

At Alder & Green we ensure that our shirts are quality controlled to the above criteria. It is all about producing a bespoke dress shirt for a fraction of the cost. We want you to have a relaxed approach to shopping, knowing that we have taken into account the longevity and versatility of a piece, as well as its environmental and social impact. We're here to help you make choices that benefit your wardrobe and the world around you.

"Buy less, buy better."

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