Questions to ask yourself before buying an article of clothing

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The average American purchases anywhere from 59 to 64 pieces of clothing and throws away 81 pounds of clothing per year, creating a never-ending cycle of buying and discarding. This culture of fast fashion contributes to a multitude of environmental concerns, from carbon emissions to water usage in the manufacturing process. Moreover, the clothes you discard end up sitting in landfills for decades before they even start to break down. Want to be a part of the solution but don’t know what to do? Here are some questions you can ask yourself before making a purchase the next time you go shopping.

Is this practical for everyday use?

Sure, that mini dress may be cute, but is it really practical as daily wear for a college student who will be going to class, club meetings or work during the day? Asking this question before making a purchase can help you avoid buying an item of clothing that you may only wear once or twice in your life. 

Can this piece be styled with clothes I already have?

Thinking through and checking off that you can make at least two to three looks with the item helps make sure that the piece is versatile enough to work with your wardrobe. By making sure the item compliments what you already have, it’s more likely that the piece will be worn often. 

Is the quality good?

Many clothes from fast-fashion retailers are thrown away because the quality will not stand the test of time (and wear and tear will occur). Purchasing good quality fabrics can help make sure that the pieces will last longer.

Is the fabric comfortable?

On top of making sure an item is durable, making sure that the clothing is breathable and comfortable is also a must! In addition to physically feeling the fabric to check if it’s rough or itchy, you can also look at the clothing piece’s label tag to check its composition. A general rule of thumb is to purchase fabrics made up of natural fibers (such as cotton and linen) over one’s made up of synthetic fibers (such as polyester and nylon). This is because natural fibers tend to be softer and more comfortable to the touch while synthetic fibers are usually itchier and less breathable. 

Will I still wear this five years down the line?

While it is unlikely that you will know for sure what your preferences will be in the future, asking this question in advance can still help you avoid purchasing items that are too obviously flashy or trendy. While flashy and trendy items are fun to wear, they tend to not stand the test of time as they might just be too representative of a specific period of time (low rise jeans from the 2000s are an example of this).

So there you have it! Now that you have this checklist of questions to ask before you purchase your next clothing item, you’re all ready to go shopping!

Contact Erica Jean at [email protected].

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