Here’s something I’ve been thinking about: how long do you expect your clothes to last these days? I know I’ve seen a lot of comment threads lately about how people feel like clothes 10-15 years ago were made with better lining, better fabrics, and so forth — but in today’s environment (particularly where the trends seem to change so much more quickly than they did a few years ago), how long do you expect things to last? What fabrics and brands make the best “investment” pieces that wear like iron and have classic shapes and styles? And which fabrics and brands do you avoid?
For my $.02, I’ve been pretty disappointed in some of the nicer pieces I’ve bought recently — one $100+ sweater got a hole in it after a few wearings (not as big a hole as the stock photo, but still!), and a pair of $160 pants started pilling after two wears. They’re both still wearable… but it’s annoying because I had bought both pieces hoping they’d last several seasons.
A few more questions to ponder as we discuss how long clothes should last:
- What does your fashion math look like these days? Do you still expect to get more than one season out of clothes (or several years’ worth of wear)? What price do you put on cost-per-wear? (Here’s another super old post for you: our 2009 discussion of how much do you spend on clothes, which is a bit more cost-per-item focused than our last discussion on annual clothes budgets)
- What is the average age of the items in your work wardrobe? What is the oldest piece of work clothing you still wear?
- How much do you feel like laundry/dry cleaning matters in terms of extending the cost-per-wear for these items?
- For those of you who have a capsule wardrobe for work, how often do you replace pieces? I know some women try to keep a minimal wardrobe and limit it to 30 pieces… Are you satisfied when a piece you’ve worn to death needs to be retired, or sad?
- When your clothes fail you and get rips, pills, holes, etc — do you have any wardrobe hacks that help you make the clothes last longer, either to maintain your dignity for the day of or to keep it in your wardrobe rotation in general? The woman in the stock photo has a scarf on, to hide the rip one presumes (fun fact: I bought this photo for another story and then was annoyed to discover the huge rip because it makes no sense in the context of the photo!) — but if this were actually my sweater I might try to stitch it up and then wear a brooch over it, or a longer scarf to cover the stitch. (Readers with great solutions for fallen hems, please share!)
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, ladies — how long do you expect your clothes to last these days? What are your favorite brands and stores for great, long-lasting clothes? What are your best wardrobe hacks to make your clothes last longer?
Pictured: Shutterstock / Alena Ozerova.