Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Deep Thoughts on Shallow Clothing

I’m breaking off a toxic relationship in my life. No, it’s not with a person, but with a category of things. I am trying to sever my relationship with cheap clothing. You know the kind of clothes I’m talking about. That $5.00 skirt on the sale rack at Target, the entire contents of Forever 21, the kind of clothes that are cheap and cheaply made and never hold a significant place in your wardrobe.
I’m all for trying out trendy items in an affordable way, and I wouldn’t have a problem with buying a few select pieces from these kind of stores each season. They can definitely add a little fun to one’s wardrobe. However, my problem is that I’m buying these items in bulk and then wearing them once, if at all. Very few of these items make the cut from one season to the next.
Like everyone else, I absolutely adore Target, but very few things that I buy from there are still in rotation a year later. I am sitting here and can think of maybe one or two items that have had any kind of longevity. The same is true for Forever 21, Old Navy, even Gap at times.

Oscar Skirt Dos

The things that last in my wardrobe are, for the most part, quality items that cost a little more. For example, take my J.Crew striped tee (the one used in my 30 for 30). I've had it for years. It still looks as good as the day I got it (despite many washes) and I wear it often. It was expensive (for me at least), $40.00, which seemed like a lot for a tee shirt, but it has outlasted 20 cheaper t-shirts that look terrible after the first wash, and will probably outlast 20 more. It's the whole idea of cost per wear. A $10.00 tee is not cheap, if you only wear it once; however, a $40.00 dollar tee worn 20 times is a better deal at $2.00 per wear.
All this is basically to say that I want my closet to have more quality and less quantity. I want to have fewer items, but for them all to be lovely things that I am crazy about, and can’t wait to wear. I am already taking steps to make this dream a reality.

Pile O' Clothes

Step 1. Thin out my current wardrobe. Yesterday, I gathered up over 100 items to be donated. The sad thing is that it made absolutely no dent in my closet(s). I probably have at least 100 more things that could go.
Step 2. Stop buying cheap, disposable clothing. Just because it is on sale or cheap does not mean that it is a good deal. Oh boy, I'm a sucker for the sale rack. I need to severely limit the number of these kinds of pieces that come into my life. I'm talking about maybe 5 trendy items a year.
Step 3. Invest in selected, well thought out, well-made items of clothing. The 30 for 30 challenge went a long way in breaking me of my "shopping just for the sake of shopping" habit. It has helped me to realize that I need to be much more discerning in what enters my closet and that more pieces does not mean more style.
This does not even begin to touch on the idea of cheap clothing as a social justice or sustainability issue. That's another post for another day. For now, I'm going to take a hard look at the contents of my closet and make a real effort whittle it down to the pieces that truly reflect my style and the person I want to be.
{Edit}: After reading everyone's comments, I thought I would clarify my position a bit. I don't think quick fashion is all bad. My problem is that I buy things that are just alright, just because they are cheap. I do this much more often than I should and pretty soon the "just alright" is overwhelming the "absolutely love" in my closet. It also has to do with relative value. I wouldn't blink an eye about going into Old Navy and spending $100 on 7 items, but I feel guilty about buying an $80 top at Anthropologie. It really boils down to me wanting to spend my money on a few pieces that I am crazy about instead of many pieces that I'm so-so about.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Disqus for Unusual Form