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How to Distinguish High-Quality Products

Your Guide to High-Quality Products

High quality doesn't have to come with an unattainable price point. We've partnered with Smirnoff No. 21 to show you how to determine quality and value in your favorite goods.
Aside from actually experiencing it first-hand, it can often be hard to determine a product's quality up front. Sure, there's the packaging, the advertising buzzwords (or lack thereof), and the telltale price tag, but that's not everything. The true value lies in the details — all you need is a trained eye to spot it. The next time you're looking for a spirit, dessert, or style staple that checks all the boxes without breaking the bank, turn to the guide ahead to help you discern a great product from a subpar one.

Handbag

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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tom Medvedich
There are many things to look for in a well-crafted handbag, and surprisingly, price isn't one of them. Regardless of whether a handbag is under $100 or upward of $1,000, the key things to keep your eye out for are small and even stitching, solidly reinforced and finished edges (especially at the high stress points, like the straps), fully functional and well-secured brass hardware, and a durably lined interior.

Denim

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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tom Medvedich
When it comes to jeans, fabric is everything. First up, consider its weight. A medium-to-heavy-weight fabric (11-13 ounces, if we're being specific) is ideal for year-round wear and will last much longer than anything that's lightweight. Next, check its composition. The more cotton, the better — a pair with 98 percent cotton and two percent elastane will retain its shape over time while still feeling like denim.

Then, examine the construction details. Look for durable stitching at the hem and seams, like double stitching or chain stitching, rivets and buttons made of copper, and where it was manufactured. Most premium denim factories are located in the US or Italy.

Vodka

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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tom Medvedich
What determines the quality of vodka is the production process. For an ultrasmooth and refined taste, look for vodka that's been distilled to achieve the optimum flavor and charcoal filtered to remove impurities. American-made Smirnoff No. 21 is triple distilled and 10 times filtered for a superior taste, and it doesn't hurt that it's award-winning!

Chocolate

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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tom Medvedich
Similar to specialty coffee, chocolate's caliber is determined by where the cacao beans are sourced and whether its flavor profile remains true to the bean. For example, beans from Madagascar tend to have fruity undertones, and a quality chocolate bar will enhance that, not mask it. By looking for a bean-to-bar variety with well-balanced tasting notes, including aroma, flavor, and finish, and without the addition of artificial flavors, you can distinguish a mediocre chocolate bar from an excellent one.

Makeup brushes

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Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tom Medvedich
There's no denying that natural bristles are superior to synthetic ones. They're softer and fluffier, and because of the hair cuticle, they can efficiently grab hold of pigment and deposit more color payoff, especially when it comes to applying powder products. Try rubbing the brush on the top of your hand — bristles should feel soft and should not fall out from the ferrule. Most quality brushes are made of squirrel, pony, goat, or sable hair, and there are plenty of cruelty-free options on the market.

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