So this is the final piece of my #haulternative jigsaw for Fashion Revolution week, the idea that we should invest more money in a wardrobe item, buy less of them and make them last longer.
Last summer I bought a few t-shirts from New Look, each less than £10. Looking back, I think this was quite a pivotal moment in this journey because I remember so clearly that I got them home and tried them on; a couple of them didn’t fit quite right, they were OK but far from exciting. I kept 1 because I liked the print but every time I put it on, I want it to be longer. Then I went to my son’s nursery for an event and someone else was wearing another of the t-shirts, so that one went back. So, of the 4 I bought, I took 2 back. The other one I kept was a vest top which I put on the other day and noticed it has gone bobbly. So, a big question hovers in my mind, are we really saving money buying cheap clothes? I may well have to replace the vest top this year and probably the other one if I get tired of it not being quite right.
I’m just at the questioning stage of this element of my ethical fashion. I’m sure I do have things that were not expensive and have lasted. But I am also sure that I have a few things I splashed out for which give me joy every time I put them on.
So is it as simple as “you get what you pay for” or is it another question of finding the brands you trust whatever the price point? I’m not ready to answer the question for myself but I do want to find out. I wonder if cost per wear is a reliable measure? I’m not sure I can answer that by myself but it would be interesting to test it. I’m mulling over an idea for an Instagram campaign, perhaps I will ask people to share their own experiences of cost per wear for items in their wardrobes. For now here are a couple of examples I found in my own wardrobe today.
I don’t think I need to say which side is cheap and which is expensive! I’ve mentioned the brown bag before, I think I paid £100 for it 15years ago and probably used it 1,000 times …. 10p per wear, it’s leather so it looks better with age and can be cleaned. The red bag was less than £10, probably used it 10 times … £1 per wear and probably won’t use it again as the fake leather is coming off.
My beautiful red brogues are my pride and joy, paid £80 (reduced from £160), worn about 30 times so far .. £2.70 per wear and still feel like new, all leather and getting more comfortable with every wear. Cream wedges bought on impulse as I needed a pair for an event, £20 worn twice .. £10 per wear, rubber and plastic and not very comfortable.
So there it is, I’m not going to conclude, I’m going to leave the question hovering for you to mull over, think about your own wardrobes …. this one will rumble on I think.