Do you ever get the feeling your clothes only last a few months? After that, the shirt colors fade, the blouse buttons come loose, and the pant zippers get stuck — leaving you to trash a portion of your closet and buy replacements on a continuous basis.
You’re not dealing with a stroke of bad luck. You’re falling victim to the consequences of fast fashion. Never heard of it before? Keep scrolling to learn more about what it is and how you can avoid it.
What is it?
The retail term fast fashion refers to the mass production of trendy and cheap clothes that depend on an accelerated turnover rate to be more profitable. Popular retailers will promise you amazing deals, but at the end of the day, their clothes hurt your wallet more than they help it.
Retailers have created 52 micro-seasons to convince shoppers they need to cycle through the contents of their wardrobe regularly. And with and low prices to entice customers in their stores, they’re successful. According to Credit Donkey, 73% of women update 25% of their closet every 3 months and approximately 15% of those women don’t have clothing that’s more than 5 years old.
Another way that retailers try to get customers coming back is ensuring that their clothes don’t last. Fast fashion is often called landfill fashion because it falls apart quickly, forcing people to throw their new wardrobe in the trash. Many charities and consignment stores toss out the donations because they can’t sell or recycle them.
Low-quality doesn’t save you money
The bundle of t-shirts you snagged for $15 will feel like a complete steal at first, but they’ll only last you a few months before the fabric stretches and the seams start to split.
A good way to avoid getting ripped off is by checking the cost per wear of cheap items. This is a calculation that divides the price of the item by how many times you wore it.
- A $10 t-shirt that wastes away after 7 washes is worth $1.42 per wear.
- A $100 pair of jeans that you wear 3 days a week for a year is worth $0.64 per wear, despite being 10 times as expensive as the shirt.
How can you tell the quality of a garment?
It’s easy to see that something is cheap after you bought it. It’s much more challenging to make that prediction when you’re browsing racks in the store. One clue that the garment is low-quality is when the price looks too good to be true — the fast fashion industry creates low prices by picking cheap materials and by rushing production. Your excitement over a $12 dress will fade faster than the dye after a round in the washing machine.
Investigate the fabric and design before purchasing to see if you’re getting high-quality clothing or something that’s poorly-made. Here are some good signs:
- Metal zippers instead of plastic
- Spare buttons for future repairs
- Strong and neat stitching
- Natural fibers like linen, cotton, wool or silk
What can you do?
It’s time to change the way that you think about clothes shopping. Affordable now doesn’t mean it will be affordable in the long run. After all, buying a $60 item once will cost you less than $20 items that you replace four times a year.
If you aren’t sure how to apply these new ideas to your next shopping trip, check in with the folks at MoneyKey. In addition to connecting people with essential installment loans online, they run a helpful blog outlining ways to save in your everyday life.
In one recent post, they show you how to build an affordable wardrobe on a budget, proving the stylish yet frugal wardrobe exists. Since they issue installment loans to people struggling with bills and repairs, they’ve curated these tips to suit someone with very little expendable cash.
Do you really have to spend a lot every shopping trip?
Ideally, your entire wardrobe should be filled with high-quality pieces, but this isn’t realistic for the average shopper’s budget—especially if you regularly rely on online installment loans to cover unexpected bills.
One of the ways the folks at MoneyKey balance high-quality and affordable clothes is by knowing when to invest in expensive pieces and when to cheap out.
Professional suits, work pants, jeans and leather boots are pieces that you will want to last. The price for high-quality fundamentals will be more expensive than what’s sitting in a bargain bin, but it will be worth it when you realize they are still in great condition years later.
If you need to sacrifice quality for savings in clothing, do it for small replaceable pieces like socks and underclothes. You don’t need a single pair of underpants to last for 5 years.
You’ll save more money when you ignore the promises of fast fashion. The constant sales and low prices will be tempting, but now you know that they’re not actually worth it. You’re better off treating your clothes as investments. When you pay for high-quality pieces, you’re bound to have a wardrobe that stands the test of time.