Fast Fashion Isn’t Affordable

When you are at a store about to buy the next item to add to your closet, what goes into your decision to pull out your credit card or put the item back on the rack? It’s probably the way it looks and how much it costs. As fast fashion rises, the amount we are willing to spend on an item of clothing has gone down. But I ask, are we really saving any money?

Our perception of the cost of clothing is an illusion. I speak to people who admit to spending three or four hundred dollars a month on clothing but say they can’t afford well made products because they have been trained to value quantity over quality. But are low quality pieces actually affordable? I would argue they are not.

At many fast fashion retailers you can get a shirt for three to ten dollars. It appears to be a great deal however after one wash the item disintegrates, loses it’s shape and color and is no longer attractive to have. So you then just go back and get another because they are so cheap. If we speak about the price of our clothes as cost per wear, we start to better understand the financial impact of our choices. If you wear a shirt only one time because the quality is so low, it cost you five dollars per wear. If you invest in a high quality, well made a shirt that is more expensive, maybe thirty to fifty dollars but have it for years, the cost per wear could be pennies.

The next time you need to buy a piece of clothing, ask yourself first if you really need it and next ask how many times are you going to wear it. Only then can you truly determine the affordability of it. Not only is it financially beneficial to invest in higher quality pieces but also reflect on whether you want to wear clothing that you will soon consider trash.

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