When do clothes get “worn out”?

Every woman aiming to create an “eco responsible” wardrobe would like to wear her clothes until their “textile death”.

Yet, the path to virtuous fashion consumption is full of pitfalls.

Sometimes we get bored of a piece of clothing that looks perfectly new, and sometimes we keep clothes way past their best use date.

1/ When boredom happens before the point of being worn out

A diagnosis very frequent in our society of overloaded closets.

A woman, proudly owning a large wardrobe will wear certain pieces she owns only a few times a year. Like high heels or dressy dresses. Leaving her plenty of time to get bored of them long before they even get a scratch.

Let’s be realistic, even if I advocate to follow your heart rather than trends, you won’t feel comfortable walking the street with your old Paris Hilton millennial pink sweatpants because they really are outdated… (Well actually you may again…)

Conclusion: to prevent those kind of situations from happening, avoid clothes and accessories that you can easily date. Like Gucci furry mules or Dior sneakers for instance.

Of course, if you really love a piece, but feel like it is over for now keep it. Maybe you’ll wear in a distant future. Yet generally you won’t. So donate it. Or sell it. There is no need to clutter your closet for good conscience. Your clothes will be best used out in the world than rotting in your wardrobe.

If you want to get rid of a piece is still fashionable but you do not like it anymore, I suggest you to think best before you buy to avoid this ^^

Nonetheless, “l’erreur est humaine”, and I am aware some unexpected events make have accelerated your divorce with a piece of clothing.

Like for instance the fact that half the world bought it after the trendsetter you are (Stan Smith lover, you see what I mean? ). In this situation, sell it or donate it while it is still worth a thing (or keep it until other get bored of it, you’ll be the trendsetter of the next comeback).

Tips

  • don’t buy (too many) clothes that you can date 
  • when you purchase clothes, always wonder if you’ll love them in a year from now
  • don’t duplicate similar clothes: there is no need for four trenches
  • if you get bored of a piece of clothing, donate it before nobody wants it anymore

NB: donating your fast fashion clothes is better than throwing them away, but do not use it to justify a fast fashion craze. Second hand networks are overloaded with cheap textile that can’t be transformed…

2/ When the point of being worn out happens before boredom

Or when it literally is possible to wear a piece of clothing out.

Yet now the question is: until when can you actually wear it before the fashion police puts you under arrest?

Some fabrics get a nice patina over time.

Raw jeans wash out and rip, going from a clean look to a grunge style until they die for good (the incurable sub-butt-rip).

Coton jersey T-shirt get thinner until you can see through them, going from a day basic style to a sexy feel.

Leather acquires shades and wrinkles, that only make it look more precious.

Linen and silk age well…

However, synthetic and cashmere sweater bobble, white yellows, black whitens, patent leather cracks, sneakers get holes…

You can fight time by shaving your sweaters, bicarbonating your white, hydrating the leather and reparing your sneakers soles but at one point the time wins over our efforts.

This is then the dreaded to say goodbye to your favorite sweater. It will be better recycled than eaten by moths.

NB: no need to keep a pile of clothes “for the weekend you’ll decide to ride your poney because it almost never happens. And because poney too deserve a bit of elegance.

Tips

  • Buy quality. Nothing get old as quickly as a cheap sweater or a poorly sewn shirt
  • Save your clothes before they die: the shoemaker, the tailor and the dry-cleaner are your friends

And you? Do you wear your clothes until the end or do you often get rid of unworn clothes? (both conditions being likely to happen simultaneously. 

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Comments
8 Responses to “When do clothes get “worn out”?”
  1. vivien_noir says:

    Bonjour Alois,

    beneath this Headline, I expected an article about the signs of wearing out. When the knee Area buckles and bulges, when the side seams warp and move towards your belly button, These Kind of things. Colour is correctable in many cases by bleaching or overdyeing, so Fading of uni coloured pieces wouldn’t be a knockout criteria for them to be worn out, I think.
    I’d describe “being worn out” as a state of the garment, where no Action can make them appear less worn than they are, like overdyeing a faded Pullover, which has lost ist shape noticeably.
    I guess, there are quite a lot of People out there, who can’t really Name 5 items which they had literally worn out in the last 5 years.

    @Sara: quite a few “Quality” brands have already published Posts about how to spot Quality in clothing. They are similarly named, too, so you might find a lot when just searching for this term.

  2. MABdeParis says:

    Pour redonner du peps à des vêtements blancs jaunis, je les teins. Idem pour le noir, que je reteins en noir. Et comme c’est en général l’opération de la dernière chance, si la teinture n’est pas réussie, je sais alors qu’il est temps de m’en débarrasser.
    Broderies ou patchs sur une tâche ou trou de mite, si placés à un endroit qui va bien. Sinon poubelle.
    Et je cherche toujours un(e) bon(ne) couturière/couturier sur Paris pour reprendre de vraiment beaux vêtements. Une suggestion?

  3. Archana says:

    I wish people stopped putting the words eco friendly in ‘eco-friendly”. The double quotes are used as a mockery of the idea. But why ?

    Wonderful article and advice. Last weekend, we sat and dyed a few old clothes indigo. They look beautiful and feel fresh again. A dress that I am tired of wearing, will be embroidered with some flowers over the summer. Make it a little exciting again if I can. Also, it helps if I am not wearing my worn out clothes in a head to toe look. One or two worn out item per outfit is my current formulae.

  4. Benedicte D. says:

    Bonjour !!!! C’est exactement l’histoire de mon hiver !…Quelques pulls et puis LE pull !!!…Bleu marine,ras de cou , une plume en baby alpaga, une matiere un peu mousseuse, une jolie torsade ajourée sur les bras, bref un coup de foudre total, tellement porté que malgré tous mes soins le voilà réduit à l’état de douce guenille !!!!…..Importable sauf à la limite pour aller jardiner !!!…Et encore on ne sait jamais qui va passer le portail !!…..Alors oui je vais m’en séparer car mon adorable mari commençait à me dire les derniers temps “Dis donc tu l’aimes ce doudou !”….Je ne sais pas pour vous mais moi j’ai compris qu’il était peut-être temps d’arrêter de le porter !!!…..Voilà c’était un hommage à un pull adoré ……Et oui je crois que beaucoup de vêtements atteignent le point de non retour avant qu’on accepte de le voir !!!!

  5. Sara says:

    Can you write an article about what “quality” in clothing actually is? Like how to choose durable fabrics/best vs worst, and how to tell if clothing is well sewn or not? Aside from the price I’m having a hard time seeing a difference in the quality of clothes

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