Most clothes in our wardrobe are unused

July 24, 2017

We all have the clothes in our closet we forgot ever buying, those discarded clothing pieces which resurface after years having never been worn, but how aware are we of the waste which goes through our wardrobe? A new survey claims to have the results.

clothing waste capsule collection

Research conducted by On Buy claims the the average woman has at least £2,400 worth of clothes that hang in her wardrobe untouched. This may come as surprising as many would argue their whole collection doesn’t total £2,400, but when averaging off the luxury buyers against the fast fashion fans, the average is raised by the former’s spending.

denim clothes recycled fashion

Sustainable Fashion

With eyes on the environment and sustainable fashion (for which we are surveying people on here) advocates are aiming to shed light on this issue more so than ever, urging us to think more about what we buy and the need for it.

It’s not just for remaining ethically sound either, there are many benefits to come from opting for a more exclusive wardrobe over mounds of clothes to choose from. Going minimalist and embracing a capsule wardrobe can actually make it easier to dress as you have already planned what to wear in advance, saving lots of time trawling through years worth of hoarding to find two pieces that match well together.

Tips for condensing your clothing collection

  • Have regular clear outs where old clothes are donated to charity shops or sold online for a bit of extra cash (ebay and depop are the main channels to use).
  • When buying something new ask yourself how you will wear it, what it matches and do you really need it, on second thoughts it may not be as desired as you think.
  • Focus on clothes for what you do most, have a work wardrobe if you're always in the office or practical clothing if you're around the kids all day.
  • Create a minimalist collection, use pieces you can re-wear in multiple ways to appear like a whole new outfit.

Shopping Responsibly

The report conducted claims the average person can save £1,652 a year purely by reselling unwanted clothing, this of course is dependent on the pricing and value of those clothes in the first place. Clearly this is on the minds of twenty-somethings and similar groups as of the ‘millenials’ asked 50% said they do consider the resale value of clothing when they are purchasing. This has seen an increase in so-called ‘high-income thrifters’, who are 35% more likely to try used clothing websites than low-income shoppers. Proving one woman’s trash is definitely another’s treasure.

The key question in relation to these results is “are women sitting up and taking note of this?”, the answer; “yes”.  Studies show that women bought on average 37 items in 2016, compared to 51 in 1996, proving the decline in quantity over quality.

Generational circumstances must also be considered in the decline of overbuying clothes, as our generation sadly struggles to enjoy the quantity of disposable income our parents once enjoyed, due to slowing wage increase and heightened housing and living costs.

How much clothing do you waste? Join the discussion on social and in the comments below.

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