Fashion trends to one person may differ to the next especially when it comes to quality fabrics and cost.
A few months ago, I was folding some laundry and I noticed one of my sweatshirts was made in Bangladesh.
I wondered if the people who had made it were still alive because in 2013 a large garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed and killed over 1,110 people.
This factory manufactured clothes for a large number of brands that I happen to have in my closet. It was unsettling to think I was wearing something that had been produced in a sweatshop by workers making about 32 cents and hour. This brings a whole new meaning to the expression “slave to fashion”.
I admit that I have closets and dressers overflowing with cheap, disposable clothing. I cannot believe the trash bags of clothes that we stuff into the donation bins at regular intervals.
How many articles of clothing does one person need? How many of them do I actually wear on a regular basis? I read a statistic somewhere that people wear 10% of their wardrobe 90% of the time. Clearly, we need a lot less than we buy.
Why do we have so many clothes?
Fashion trends. New styles are released with each season and there is a continuous cycle of style turn over. Hemlines, silhouettes, colours, prints and fabrics continually change.
Some of the trendier designs barely make it through one season. As much as I try to avoid trendy clothes, I can’t deny that there are times when I put on an article of clothing and it just doesn’t look right. It is out of style.
The majority of our clothes are not made to last. Sometimes we want trendy, cheap, instant gratification fashion and those articles are not manufactured to last. The quality of the materials and construction can be shabby. Seams tear, material pills or fades, zippers break, button pop off.
In some cases it can be more expensive to repair than to replace it. Some of my cheap fashion choices don’t even make it to donation bin because they are beyond repair. I am leaving a large, unsightly clothing footprint on the environment.
Reducing my clothing footprint
My approach to my wardrobe needs to change.
My first step is a big closet clean out, perform a fashion archaeology dig. The articles of clothing that have been buried in the back of my closet need to go.
I don’t wear them so why keep them. They just add to clutter and I find myself buying duplicates of things I already own because I don’t realize I already have something similar. I am hardly a fashionista but the amount of clothing I have accumulated is staggering.
I have no plans to add to my wardrobe but if I do, I will buy clothes that fit. As a petite woman it can be a struggle to find clothes that fit me properly.
When I settle for a less than perfect fit it is a waste of money. I never feel comfortable and I always rearrange or tug on my clothes.
I also will pay a little more to buy well-constructed clothes made with quality fabrics and materials. No more cheap clothes for me. They don’t have to be new, thrift is fine, but they need to be of sufficient quality to withstand wear and tear.
Personal fashion style
Lastly, and I believe this is the most important part; I will embrace my own personal style. I like and feel most comfortable in clothes that others would likely consider dull.
At work, you will find me in a pair of black dress pants and a dress shirt or blouse. Sometimes I like to shake it up a bit and wear grey slacks. People have remarked that I look as if I am wearing a uniform.
I need to accept that this is my style and stop trying to fight it. We tend to equate our fashion choices with our identity. We adorn ourselves with clothes to portray a certain image and it is time that I came to terms with mine.
When I do try to stray in fashion forward designs, I usually regret it and end up with another artifact buried in the depths my closet. I need to rethink fashion.
I found some personal style inspiration in Jessi Arrington’s TED talk, Wear Nothing New. She openly admits that she is “outfit obsessed” but satisfies her fashion sense with thrift and flea market shopping.
Her sense of style could not be any more different from mine but her message, “If you believe you’re a beautiful person inside and out, there is no look that you can’t pull off… We should be able to rock anything we want to rock.”
This video is worth the watch especially if you are into the latest fashion trends but don’t want to spend a fortune in your budget.
I hope you enjoy, I need to go rock my uniform now.
Thanks for reading.
Contribution post from personal finance blogger May from Messy Money.
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