You are not alone – frustration about a full closet with nothing to wear, why it matters and what you can do
Do you wear clothes? This is not a trick question. Have you thought about how much you spend, where your clothes come from or who made made them? As a personal clothing stylist with a focus on sustainability, I wanted to let you know that you are not alone.
You are not alone!
Women will spend up to $125,000 during their lifetime on clothing, shoes and accessories. A study in 2012 by the Daily Mail continues to point out that this amount equates to approximately 3,000 items, including 271 pairs of shoes, 185 dresses and 145 bags but yet women feel that they have nothing to wear. If you are average, you will buy approximately 64 pieces of clothing each year. In 5 years that is 320 items and yet you may feel that you have nothing to wear or end up wearing the same things over and over.
Why it matters…
The movie The True Cost provides a documentary on the social, economic and environmental cost of cheap, fast fashion. The Rana Plaza disaster claimed the lives of over 1,100 people in the name of fast fashion. In her book Overdressed, Elizabeth Cline informs us that the amount of resources that go into fiber production every year (and this was in 2012), is approximately 145 million tons of coal, and an estimate of 1.5-2 trillion gallons of water. We have come to expect that clothing is disposable, is cheap and not reusable which is being built on the foundation of cheap labor. This is not environmentally, socially or economically sustainable.
What you can do…
I am a firm believer that our power as consumers can affect change and the best way to do that is by our choices. Break the fast fashion cycle by purchasing higher quality garments and accessories and making them last through alteration updates and repairs. One of the single most important things you can do is to keep your clothes for years! It is possible to be stylish and shop from secondhand sources or purchase new clothing from responsible, ethical and sustainable sources. It is possible to break away from traditional retail markets and support your local economy. Together let’s use your power as a consumer to support your local economy, prevent yet another garment from going to the landfill and help you look and feel your best.
LocalFirst AZ estimates that when you spend $100 at a locally owned business, $43 stays in the local economy versus $13 when shopping at a non-locally owned business. Find a charity thrift store that resonates with your beliefs or a locally owned consignment store. There are also a number of locally owned boutiques and local artisans who make jewelry. Rather than buy what everyone else will be wearing, consider an alternate source. Read more from my blogs about a Fair Trade store in Phoenix and tips for upcycling your closest!
- Overdressed the book – learn more about the economic, environmental and social impacts of fashion
- Sustainable fashion series by Triple Pundit
- True Cost Movie – eye opening documentary after the Rana Plaza tragedy
- The Life of Jeans – one cheap pair of jeans leaves a trail of negative impacts
Note: Please know that I am not working with any of these companies and was not asked to endorse or mention any of the products in this post. All opinions here are my own.