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How can we get rid of the one-time-wear taboo?

We’ve all been there. You’ve got a cute picture you want to post on Insta, but you’re wearing the same outfit as your last post. Really frustrating. So, what do you do? The ‘one-time-wear’ system says you should buy something cheap and new, then take another photo.

But how is this sustainable? In short, it’s not. It’s the number one issue in the textiles industry at the moment. We actually threw away £12.5 billion worth of clothes in Britain last year. All because 1 in 6 of us don’t want to be seen wearing the same outfit twice.

Where Did This ‘One-Time-Wear’ Taboo Start?

We can trace the ‘one-time-wear’ trend to the foundation of brands such as Boohoo, Missguided and Pretty Little Thing. All of which sell items such as dresses, tops, trousers and more starting from just £3. However, these items are not built to last.

They are literally made to last one wear and then you chuck it away. This is why they’re so cheap; they have a much faster supply chain (aka very little quality analysis). But this idea, while it has really gained popularity, it is contributing to the vast textile waste we’re already dealing with.

How do I Make my Clothes Last Longer?

It’s been proven that increasing a product’s life by 9 months reduces its carbon footprint by 30%. That’s huge. And if you’re buying stuff you really like, then you should want to wear it for 9 months. Maybe even longer!

In order to help this process, I’ve made a list of ideas that will help prolong the time you keep your clothes for

1. Get Away From Fast Fashion’s ‘One-Time-Wears’

Fast fashion ‘one-time-wears’ can be tempting with all the offers and constant updates on stock. However, these items are not designed to last. You might be lucky; I mean I have a pair of flares from Missguided that I’ve had for 3 years. But on the whole, the items won’t last you longer than a night out. Items that are designed to last longer will be more expensive. But realistically, if these pieces are going to be worn again and again, it’s worth it. You’ll start to see how the money is worth it.

2. Aim For Items That Work With Lots of Outfits

On average, we only wear 20% of our wardrobes. In order to maximize the use of all your clothes, you need to start with the basics. You need a good pair of jeans (sustainable denim if you can, go for Levi’s). You also need a good black top and white top. These can be short/long sleeved. I have one of each as they go with everything. You can then start to branch out to things that are more interesting.

The thing I find most helpful is making sure a new item will match enough old ones. When I find something I like, I think about what outfits this item would go in. If it’s only one, I don’t get it. If it’s 3-5, I will.

3. No More Seasonal ‘One-time-wears’ in Your Wardrobe

I personally struggle with this one quite a lot. When you buy a summery item, think about how you could turn it into a winter piece. So, for example, you can chuck on a black jumper, tights and chunky boots with a shift dress and get a cute 90s grunge look. Or layer a long-sleeved top under a baggy short sleeved one for the skater look of your dreams. I tend to throw a chunky black jumper over a summery midi dress and put on my Docs. It just makes winter clothes a little more interesting.

Can I Do This?

You can 100% do this. It doesn’t have to be a complete revamp of your wardrobe one day it can be gradual.

It is a little daunting, but it will feel so much better once you begin. And once you’re in the swing of things it’ll become almost second nature to you! I began this whole process last year. It was originally as a way to save money while at Uni so I wouldn’t keep buying ‘one-time-wear’ clothes. But it actually has reduced my own carbon footprint a lot. And who doesn’t want that?

This whole process saves time, money and even more importantly space. You can even transform your wardrobe into a capsule wardrobe using this process. Which leaves room for other things. You’ll spend much less time cleaning. And think about the water you’ll save from doing less loads of laundry!

I’m someone who likes to have a lot of things; I get attached to everything. So I used to buy a lot of ‘one-time-wear’ clothes. But now, I love that all my clothes tell a story. And I’m getting much more used to the idea of having a couple things that I really, really love, that go with everything. It’s actually made me fall in love with my clothes again. I treasure each item more than I did before, and I make sure I love them when I buy them. Like I said before, it’s a gradual process that doesn’t happen overnight. But I’m sticking with it. What about you?


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