The arrival of a new season's fashion line tends to drive consumers to make decisions between need versus wants, and also saddles us with the dilemma of what to do with our outdated or unwanted clothes.
However, the pieces you’ve earmarked in all of your favorite magazines aren’t always the most practical investments, both financially and for the environment.
The environmental impact of clothes production can be enormous. From depleting water reservoirs to serious pollution problems of pesticide and chemical runoff, these "hidden costs" have very real, long term impacts on clothes production (Check out this 9 min video from Treehugger, "The Real Cost of Our Clothes").
How do you as a consumer minimize your impact?
First, look to your closet and figure out what is still wearable and desirable. To freshen up your wardrobe, organize what to donate, to sell, to repair and to keep. To get some creative ideas on how to repair/refresh an outdate outfit, check out this blog: New Dress a Day.
For outdated clothes, donating your unwanted clothes makes a lot of sense. You can help out local charities while cleaning out your closet. Often times, you can get a small tax deduction (be sure to ask for a receipt).
For donation locations near you:
If you do have to purchase, buy fewer but quality items. Look for practical investments, items that are versatile and can withstand multiple washes are worth the additional cost. Items that might be cheap and 'fashionable' but you might only wear once or twice is not good for your pocketbook or the environment in the long run. As NY Times magazine stated, "Less photo play, more closet stay is what we’re after" and "Buy now, wear now and forever." Or, you could purchase items from thrift or consignment stores which extends the life of clothes and yield great bargains.