• Extending the life of your wardrobe is good for the planet and your finances. Experts give their tips on how to make your outfits last as long as possible.
• Unless you plan to wear a suit of armour for the rest of your life, there is no way to make your clothes last for ever. You can get close to for ever – if you are prepared to darn. As a society, though, we have become less inclined to make do and mend because the advent of fast fashion has made clothes so affordable that there is no incentive to repair them. In addition, the acceleration of trends – where once there were just two seasons, autumn/winter and spring/summer, now there are also resort, cruise and pre-fall collections – means consumers are continually enticed to buy new things. It is estimated that, in the UK, the average lifetime for an item of clothing is 2.2 years.
• Extending the lifespan of our clothes isn’t just good for our finances, but also benefits the environment: the fashion industry is a major global polluter and human rights abuses are rife in the garment industries of developing nations.
• Not so long ago, people learned basic sewing skills. The chances are that, if you ask an older friend or relative, they will be able to show you how to patch things. And there is no doubt that, if you want your clothes to last as long as possible, looking after them is the best place to start. But how do you make your clothes last for ever?
• Check the seams: It sounds obvious, but if you want your clothes to last, you need to invest in well-made garments in good-quality fabric. Don’t assume that expensive items are best – check for yourself.
• Know your fabrics: Every garment will eventually wear out after repeated wearing and washing, but the jury is out on which fabrics are the most durable. Some experts prefer the longevity of synthetic fibres such as polyester, while others favour natural fibres such as cotton.