What if every piece of clothing you owned was like your favorite pair of jeans? That is my mantra.
If you're anything like me, you're tired of donating or throwing away your clothing. It's a waste of money as well as fuel for the clothing industry to continue creating disposable goods. America alone consumes nearly 20 billion garment every year. That means each person purchases about 65 garments a year, more than 1 per week. And unfortunately, a lot of those garments go to the landfill. The EPA reports that “an estimated 14.3 million tons (28,600,000,000 pounds) of textiles (waste) were generated in 2012, 5.7% of total municipal waste solids”. Lets estimate that each garment weighs 0.5 pounds. That would mean that Americans are throwing away over half of what they buy each year! That’s staggering. Granted, those could and should have been donated, but even when donating clothing, you can't be sure it will be put to good use again. Cheap clothing also often contains synthetic polymers such as polyester or nylon, both of which are derived from petroleum, and contribute to environmental problems, especially when we throw them away only to consume more.
Clothing does not need to be disposable. Buying high quality goods not only feels better, it provides an additional incentive to repair instead of dispose; something that will save you time, money and energy. Almost all clothing can be repaired, and its healthy to be wary of clothing that can’t. There are lots of services offering repair online, here are a few examples:
If you don’t live near a big city, you can almost certainly ship your clothing to be repaired, but be sure to do a simple yelp or google search for small businesses that could help before you do.
Even when buying high quality and timeless clothing, you should really, really like a piece of clothing before you buy it. You've probably experienced trying something on and and saying "wow!". That's what I look for every time.
It can be frustrating to pass on so much before buying something, but the more you practice buying quality, the better will be your understanding of what you want, and more importantly what you need. You may also find small clothiers that consistently suit your needs and are able to do custom tailoring for you.
Buying a nice piece of clothing is an investment. Like buying an energy efficient light bulb, it will save you a lot of money over time. If properly cared for, a pair of jeans can last you a lifetime, you just need to take care of them.
Guest Writer: Jordan Cooperman is a lover of clothing, an artist and a designer. He writes about his life and design work at jordancooperman.com. You can tweet at him @jordancooperman.