About a week ago I asked myself how long I could go without buying any new clothing. I decided to start with one month as a goal, but I think I could easily go for three. My closet is fairly edited, and there's a common theme to my clothes - fairly minimal styling in neutral colors.
One of my favorite pieces is a heather grey heavy cotton v-neck t-shirt from JCrew that I've had for probably 5 years, and still looks great. Most of my lightweight cotton "fashion" tees now have stains, crumpled or stretched necklines, twisted side seams, and wavy hems, but this heavy duty bad boy has stood the test of time.
Another is a pair of Rag and Bone jeans that I tried on once in their SoHo store in New York, didn't buy because I couldn't afford them, and only picked up a year later after I'd searched high and low for a more affordable equivalent. To me, they are perfect. There's nothing exceptional about the cut, color, or wash, but they fit me exactly how I think jeans should fit, I wear them almost every day, and (assuming I can still fit into them) I will probably wear them forever.
I was thinking about the clothes that I have had for years and still love, and what gives them their longevity. Usually, they are not the flash-in-the-pan trends that come and go so quickly in this world of fast fashion. And they're not the bargain pieces from H&M that seem too good to be true at the time. Most often, they are pieces that I've spent a moderate amount of money on, because when I tried them on, they just made me feel amazing, whether because of the fit, the fabric, the color, or the styling.
They are also the pieces that I wear until they are in borderline disrepair, and then don't know what to do with (thank goodness I now know about textile recycling).
It's taken me a long time, but I'm finally coming to terms with some ugly truths about apparel manufacturing, even with respect to brands that are "sustainable" and "ethical". The truth is, by and large, it's an incredibly wasteful industry. Facing up to that fact, coupled with truly assessing what I own is giving me a new lens with which to shop for clothes in the future, which I hope will be mostly or exclusively second-hand.