Sometime between when high school ended (many, many moons ago) and now, I became anti-clothes shopping. The majority of my wardrobe dates back to college or earlier. I’m sure that owning and wearing many of the clothes I wore in high school will not earn high marks on the fashion scale, but fashion’s never really been my thing.
I bought my two main pairs of gym shorts in 7th and 8th grade, and am just now thinking about retiring them. The elastic waist band seems to be giving out, as evidenced by the blue pair nearly falling down on my last run.
In general, I prefer clothes that are NOT trendy, so it won’t matter if I’m still wearing them in 10 or 20 years. In order to insure that my clothes last 10+ years, I have a couple of tricks.
First, if it’s not dirty (i.e., stained or distinctly sweaty/smelly), don’t wash it! Excess washing is hard on clothes, not to mention the environmental impact in terms of water use and energy if you’re washing on warm or hot (if you’re doing this, switch to cold water washes). I may have a bit of an advantage here — I seem to sweat somewhat less than the average bear, but you may be surprised at how long you can stretch things. Also, the infrequent washing works best if your clothes don’t spend time in a heap on the floor — this makes them look wrinkly and dirty, even if they aren’t, plus it’s hard to tell what’s dirty or not.
Second, when you do wash your clothes, line dry them. The dryer may be even harder on clothing than the washing machine. You can extend the life of your clothes and save energy at the same time — double green bonus! If you’re tight on space for clotheslines, either inside or out, there are many options now for collapsible drying space that takes up minimal space when not in use (check out the links in this Tiny Choices post for some options). Due to limited yard space, we just use the clotheslines in our basement year-round.
Third, invest in good quality clothing. A $75 top that lasts 10+ years is a better investment than a $20 top that lasts less than two years.
That said, almost all clothing does eventually wear out, or cease to fit in one way or another, and taste in clothing does change. So what’s a greenie to do when she does want to buy some new clothes? Come back later this week to read about my recent attempts to purchase clothes.