How Many Times Do We Wear Our Clothes? (Not Enough!)

Giada Nizzoli

How Many Times Do We Wear Our Clothes? (Not Enough!)

Curious as to how many times we actually wear our clothes before condemning them to landfills?

Everyone has been guilty of thinking ‘I’ve nothing to wear’... while staring at a wardrobe packed full of clothes!

If it’s becoming a regular occurrence, however, let’s put it into perspective: the number of times you wear your clothes makes a HUGE difference to the planet.

More clothes… worn less

Have you ever bumped into a 70s skirt or jeans from the 80s?

We did!

And we were instantly impressed with how they felt in our hands and the fact that they could still be worn after so many years.

Nothing like those thin polyester garments from fast fashion stores!

The influence of fast fashion and social media 

Fast fashion consumers purchasing great quantities of clothes that they will only wear seven times

Here’s what changed the way we conceive and consume clothes.

By focusing on cheapness rather than eco-friendly materials and fair working conditions (ugh!), fast fashion has brought its prices down to those of consumable everyday items. 

These brands have also been offering new collections on a monthly or even weekly basis, pushing consumers to buy more to follow ephemeral trends and quench their #FOMO.

If that weren’t bad enough, ultra fast fashion giants like SHEIN or Boohoo made this industry even faster and more unethical.

Basically, clothes went from durable to disposable!

Social media was also key: from influencer collaborations to TikTok hauls and curated feeds where you’ll never see the same outfit twice, overconsumption is glorified.

The result?

How many times are clothes worn before being discarded?

On average, clothes are only worn seven times before being discarded.

And, if that weren’t shocking on its own, keep in mind that we also buy 60% more clothes than in the year 2000.

This leads to ridiculous quantities of textile waste: 18.6 million tonnes of clothing being thrown away around the world… every year.

Consumer in front of a wardrobe full of clothes

How much of our clothes do we wear?

According to Lauren Bravo, the author of How To Break Up With Fast Fashion, we only tend to wear 10% of our clothes on a day-to-day basis!

And how long do we wear our clothes?

Not for long: unlike those 80s jeans that stood the test of time for generations, we now wear 60% of our clothes for… less than a year.

A more sustainable approach: fewer higher-quality clothes that we can wear for years

Model wearing sustainable clothing

Here’s how we can all increase how many times we wear our clothes.

How many times should you wear an item of clothing?

To reduce your CO2 emissions and waste, you should aim to wear each item of clothing at least 30 times as suggested by the #30WearsChallenge.

However, most low-quality fast fashion garments might not even last that long.

That’s why it’s even more important to switch to ethical fashion and a more sustainable mindset. 

How to wear your clothes for longer (and with confidence)

Example of how versatile sustainable clothing can be worn for different outfits

  • Unfollow accounts promoting hauls and fast fashion brands. Instead, follow content creators who inspire you to buy sustainably and embrace repeat outfits
  • Remind yourself that clothes should be seen as durable, not disposable
  • Remix garments to create a variety of outfits
  • Before purchasing a garment, ask yourself if you actually need it and can see yourself wearing it at least 30 times 
  • Choose ethical clothes that are made to last: you can find hundreds of fair trade brands right here on Project Cece!

Now that you know how many times we wear our clothes, take the first steps towards increasing that meagre number. 

Need some inspiration? We make it easier to switch to sustainable fashion by sharing practical tips and new ethical brands in our newsletter.

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Project Cece is a platform that collects ethical fashion from vetted brands and shops in one place. Browse ethical fashion for women and men and find items that fit your style, budget and values!

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