Throughout my life my father has bragged about owning, and still wearing, most of the same clothes he wore thirty plus years ago. When he told us this as teenagers, my sister and I would roll our eyes and suggest he buy new ones. Sure, they may not be the most fashionable items (at least they’re not bell-bottoms), but he has made them last and I never really appreciated that until changing my own mind about the fashion industry and consumerism in general.
About ten years ago I had a true shopping problem. I’m sure it was related to other stresses I was experiencing, but either way, I took “retail therapy” to a clinical degree! I don’t think I ever realized how bad it was until I moved out of the big city and out of my little apartment on the 9th floor. My dad was there to pick me up with his truck, and all I could take with me was whatever fit into the box of his truck. So I had to narrow down the essentials. Do I keep my furniture? Or do I keep my X number of shoes?
I ended up donating at least four large garbage bags full of clothes and shoes. All that money spent on supporting such a wasteful industry, and I don’t even remember the items I gave away. Fast fashion. I supported that for sure.
I look at my closet now and it certainly is no minimalist wardrobe. I do not do the “capsule wardrobe”. But I can say with certainty that I wear every single piece of clothing in my closet. I wear the shit out of my clothes! There is no point to narrow down my clothes to a minimalist wardrobe now and send the rest off to second hand stores where they land in a mountain of clothing (I’ve seen the mountain!), never to be worn by anyone ever and probably eventually being shipped off to *GASP* the landfill?!
*or perhaps even getting burned in Sweden?
I respect my clothes and the environment too much to send them to the ‘fill. Someone made those clothes. Resources went into making those clothes. I honestly can’t even believe that some people buy a top, wear it once, and then get rid of it!
So, perhaps like my dad, I will wear my clothes until I can no longer. I’m no seamstress, but I have friends that are adept at sewing and mending, so I look to them when my clothes need a little TLC or altering. I want to make the clothes I have last as long as possible; maybe not like my dad for more than 30 years, but as long as possible!
So what do you do when your sweater has a tear? I can fix small holes by myself, but there were two items that had been sitting in my closet forever that I never wore; one a tunic that I didn’t like the shape of as a tunic, and the other a beautiful long floral skirt that left me gasping for air because it was so tight. I contacted my adept sewing friend and she transformed the tunic into a cute skirt, and altered the long one so I could breathe. Two pieces that can now function for me again.
And if there are things I do not wear anymore that just take up space and that I do not want to chance their fate at second hand shops…then I can:
- give them to friends
- give them to a women’s resource center
- take part in a clothing swap
- mend or alter them to make them into something I will wear again
- take the piece apart and use the fabric for something else
- if all else fails… here’s a new rag!
Let’s love our clothes and shop consciously. Let’s opt for timeless pieces vs. fast fashion.
How do you love your clothes?