The fast fashion industry grew rapidly over the last 20 years. It's now easier, faster, and cheaper to buy new clothes. As a result, shopping for clothing is a regular event for many consumers. But is it necessary?
There are many valid reasons to buy new clothes for yourself. But if you are wondering how often you should, you probably don't need more clothes right now, you need less. Consider shopping for clothing only when necessary.
The fashion industry has huge economic, social, and environmental issues that need solutions. It's the second-largest polluter globally. It's responsible for pollution, carbon emissions, and waste.
Learn more about the impact of your wardrobe on the environment in my article on the fashion industry's catastrophic contribution to climate change.
Fast fashion encourages a throwaway culture. It made us consider clothing as a disposable commodity. And our fashion addiction is extremely damaging to the planet, the people, and animals living on it.
We often buy cheap trendy clothes that go out of style very fast and buy new clothes to replace them quickly. It feels amazing to buy new pieces of clothing. And it's difficult to resist the urge to wear new outfits.
I used to be fast-fashion obsessed before 2016. I was buying from fast-fashion retailers regularly, at H&M, Gap, Primark, s. Oliver, Zara, and more every week or so.
I get excited when I wear new clothes. I used to change my outfit 3 to 4 times per day. I was obsessed with putting on something new that would make me feel and look better. Then my interests and values changed completely.
Check out my story of how I became a slow fashion advocate for good to understand why I quit fast fashion.
I realized that I was wasting tons of money on new clothing. I had no space left in my closet and I still had nothing to wear. I am now aware of the huge negative consequences of my shopping habits.
Before buying new clothes for yourself, it's probably a great idea to go through your clothes. Having an encumbered closet can be overwhelming and stressful.
Ideally, you shouldn't have to clean out your closet ever. But we often buy and keep clothes we don't wear in our wardrobe. Decluttering, keeping the essentials, and getting rid of unwanted clothes offer more time, space, and money for better items.
Check out my article on how often should I go through my clothes to improve your fashion style and make every piece of clothing in your wardrobe a winner.
You might even rediscover pieces of clothing you forgot you own in the back of your closet. Once you know what you like to wear, how much room you have, and what you are missing to complete your outfits, you will have an easier time making better purchasing decisions.
How often you should buy new clothes depends on a lot of factors. Your needs, your lifestyle, your closet size, your budget, your location, your style, and more.
Ask yourself a few questions before you buy any new clothing. Do you need this item or is it an impulse buy? Can I see myself wearing it for a long time or is it a new trend?
I know it's difficult to buy less clothing. Especially when it's cheap, convenient, and readily available. Read up my article on how do I stop wearing fast fashion for a few tips to make better choices.
Buying fewer clothes and higher quality is one of the best ways to be more sustainable with clothes. It's a lot better for the planet, your closet, and your budget.
New clothes are generally considered too old too quickly. The average high-street garment is only worn 7 times when its life expectancy would be more than 2 years under normal wear and tear.
I encourage you to stop keeping up with the latest trends. You can take care of the clothes you already have and wear them longer. Shopping for trendy clothes isn't wise. Invest instead in more classic, timeless pieces that won’t go out of fashion.
If you would like to invite more simplicity into your wardrobe, consider adopting a minimalist approach to fashion. Buy more durable clothes that you can combine easily and wear for a long time.
Follow my ultimate guide to the minimalist fashion trend to have an easier time getting dressed in the morning by creating a wardrobe with simplicity in mind.
Most people have a monthly budget for new clothes. It's an excellent idea to keep track of how much you spend on clothing. But rather than buying clothes for a set amount every month, consider shopping only when you need to.
Today's consumers are influenced by celebrities and social media personalities. It's easy to think our closet is always empty when we see their large wardrobes.
People often buy clothes for no reason other than the urge of having new things. Some even end up hating them and throwing them out. Unfortunately, the overconsumption of cheap disposable clothing has a disastrous social and environmental impact.
Try to avoid comparing yourself to others. It's possible to build an amazing wardrobe with only a few staple pieces. Watching regular hauls on Youtube is the worst source of inspiration.
Use the clothes you love to wear over and over again. You can mix and match them into different outfits every day. Minimalist fashion doesn't have to be boring.
A lot of today's consumers already have way too many clothes. They don't even wear most of them. Buying new clothes is a daily event for many of them.
Luckily, conscious consumerism is on the rise. More people are starting to pay attention to where their clothes are coming from and their impact on the environment.
If you are new to sustainable fashion, a piece of good advice is to start slow. Don't try to change your habits completely at once. You can already do a lot of good and see many benefits with just a few simple steps.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce how often you buy clothes:
- Buying fewer clothes and higher quality
- Donate clothes you don't wear anymore
- Take better care of what you own
- Consider new clothes as an investment
- Shop for sustainable clothing
- Buy second-hand fashion or rent
How often do you buy new clothes for yourself? Let us know in the comment section below.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.