Someone told me a few months ago that if you stopped buying clothes right now, every piece in your closet would last ten years. Ten years! Hearing that statistic put into perspective the idea of buying new clothes each season. If each piece of clothing is made to last ten years, there’s no need to buy new clothes each time the weather changes.
Your clothes may last ten years in terms of existing, but there’s a good chance they won’t always be in style. Just think about what was in fashion eight years ago from today- it’s a pretty different picture.
That’s why many people feel torn- they want to look good, save money, and increasingly, people want to make ethical choices with their fashion. Constantly producing tons and tons of new clothes comes with a financial and ethical cost. So many people are asking these questions that a documentary was made in 2015 called ‘The True Cost’.
You’ve got a two main options to avoid getting caught in the cycle of constantly buying new clothes, (and therefore constantly spending money.) Enter: hand-me-downs and the clothing swap.
“Hammy Downs” AKA Hand-Me-Downs
You might not associate glamor with the words ‘hand-me-down’. But banish that thought! With a little planning you can save big bucks and still look stylish.
Hand-me-downs are all about who you’re getting them from. Your cousin whose three times your size and only wear black? Not a good person to get used clothes from.
I have a friend who scored designer clothes from her boss when her boss cleaned out her closet. They were professional, had designer labels, and came from a clean home. Those are the types of hand me downs that you should strive for.
Ask people in your life whose style you admire and who are of a similar size if they’ll be doing a closet clean out. Most people are happy to give something away rather than see it end up in a landfill.
I’m personally a big fan of clothing swaps. The majority of my closet comes from them in fact. The premise is simple: invite over several friends, ask them to bring gently used clothes, and everyone swaps! You get to hang out with some friends and take home new to you clothes.
I’ve found this is a great way to get a variety of styles in one go- some people even bring shoes or jewelry. I’ve gotten clothes from J. Crew, Banana Republic, Loft, and Madewell at clothing swaps.
If you’re looking to save time and money, as well as decrease the environmental impact of constantly buying new clothes, these are both great options. Having clothes for one or two years is just the beginning of their ten year life span. Hammy downs, clothing swaps, or simply creating new outfits with clothes you already have can do wonders to refresh your style.
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Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.