How Often Do You Wear Each Item of Clothing?

stripe zara top

[Top: Zara]


I’m pretty late to the party with this (Don’t laugh, but although I run a website about style, I’ve never been particularly interested in fashion, so I don’t tend to keep up with anything described as “fashion news”!), but this is an idea suggested by Livia Firth, who wants people to think more carefully about the purchases they make, and cut down on impulse-buying of fast-fashion. Instead, what Livia suggests, is adopting a “30 wear” rule:

“The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, ‘will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’ If the answer is yes, then buy it.” – Livia Firth

Now, I’m all for the idea of slow fashion, and over the past year or so, I’ve been making much more of an effort to invest in quality items which I know I’ll wear constantly, than allowing myself to be seduced the lure of a new dress, which I know I’ll hardly get to wear at all. In my case, what I wear is largely dictated by the weather, and by my lifestyle: when you work from home, and live in a country that rarely sees a dry day (or a warm one!), there just aren’t many opportunities to wear all of those cute, summery dresses I love so much, unfortunately. It’s been hard, but lately I’ve been trying my best to ignore the little voice in my head telling me I absolutely MUST have them, and listen instead to the one telling me I’d be much better off buying a pair of jeans – even although they’re much less fun.

Having said that, when I started to think about this ’30 wear’ idea, I had to admit that there probably aren’t THAT many items in my closet that I could claim to have worn 30 times or more. Jeans would definitely fall into that category – in fact, I think most of my jeans have been worn way more than 30 times, which tells me I’m definitely on the right track by investing my money in denim, rather than dresses. Other than jeans, though, I guess there are a few pairs of shoes which have been worn more than 30 times, plus some cardigans, sweaters and other basics. Outerwear would also pass the 30-wear test, because when you live in a cold climate, you rarely leave home without it. Dresses, though? Probably not. Oh, there are a handful that have probably been worn ten or more times, but when I really start to think about all of the items of clothing I own which only come out once or twice a year, if that, it’s pretty embarrassing, really.

So, will I be adopting the 30-wear rule when I’m shopping from now on? I don’t think so. While I do believe it’s useful to think about your wardrobe in terms of what you ACTUALLY wear (as opposed to what you just WISH you wore), and to spend most money on the items you wear constantly, I’m not sure an arbitrary number like 30 will really work for me either: and, as I’m always saying, life is just too short to now “allow” yourself to buy something you really, really love, purely because you think you’ll only wear it 25 times, say, rather than the magical number 30. For those of us who really love clothes, slow fashion can be a hard concept to come to terms with. I think I’ll probably always want to give myself the freedom to splurge on the odd treat here and there, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that: as long as your closet is stocked mostly with those workhorse items, and you’re not shopping constantly, or getting into debt, then I don’t think you need to be too rigid with shopping “rules” – although it’s definitely useful to keep them at the back of your mind.

What do you think?

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