me wearing my denim jacket from target

How I make my fast fashion wardrobe last longer

The fashion industry has changed rapidly over the past two decades and one of the most significant changes is the rise of fast fashion.

A google search of the term fast fashion yields the following definition:

“inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.”
Alarmingly, the fashion industry contributes to 10% of yearly global carbon emissions.
An article by Business Insider has some insights that demonstrate why this is so high:
  • Production of clothes has almost doubled since 2000
  • People bought 60% more garments in 2014 than in 2000, but only held onto them for half as long
  • Fashion companies in Europe went from an average offering of two collections per year in 2000 to five in 2011
  • Some brands release a lot more: Zara deliver 24 collections a year and H&M between 12 and 16
  • So much of this clothing winds up at the dump.
  • Each second, the equivalent of a garbage truck packed with clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill

Most, if not all, of my wardrobe comprises of pieces from fast fashion brands. However, I feel I’m not really contributing to the above statistics because I try and buy what I need and I do things to make my clothes last longer. Before I talk about how I do this, I feel it’s important to remind my readers that once upon a time I did buy way too much stuff that I often forgot about. If you’d like to read about that, check out this post!

Now, let’s get started!

I hand wash my clothes

Most people look at me like I’m the 3-eyed fish from The Simpsons when I tell them I hand wash my clothes. I only do this with the clothes I wear in public, so things like my pyjamas and ‘home clothes’ will go in the washing machine. Only recently have I started to wash more bulky items using the delicate wash setting.

Yes, hand washing clothes involves a lot more effort than machine washing, but I do it because it makes my clothes last longer and it also means they don’t shrink. The latter is particularly important to me as I get older because, although I don’t have a problem with my legs, I prefer to wear longer things and I struggle to find dresses and skirts that aren’t too short.

I dry clothes in the shade

I like to dry my clothes in the shade so they don’t fade and look more worn out than they actually are. In saying that, I have noticed white clothes can handle the sun quite well.

I’m more lenient with this rule in the colder months a the UV rays aren’t as strong, and sometimes my clothes need to be hung outdoors to speed up the drying process.

I unintentionally maintain a consistent size

I hesitated to put this in but I feel it may be worth a mention.

Alright, I’ll be honest, I did put on a bit of weight after the busyness and stress of planning a wedding and renovations passed and had to give away some clothes, but overall, for the past few years I’ve maintained a somewhat consistent size.

Naturally, this means I get the most out of my wardrobe as it still fits me. Do I expect to fit into the same clothes forever? No (unless I buy a size too big lol). But to wear something over and over for 2-3 years and not add new clothes to my wardrobe is just another way I make fast fashion last!

I buy less jewellery and bags and make the most of what I have

I used to buy cheap handbags and jewellery all the time, but these days I buy a lot less. The main reason is because I don’t need it. So when I shop for these things, I look for items that compliment most of the items in my wardrobe. With handbags and clutches, I also stick to neutral colours like black and tan as they compliment almost everything.

One thing I’d like to try next is op-shopping, or thrifting as they call it in America. I’d really like to know if you do anything to make your clothes last longer?

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