Thoughts on the 30 wears movement
I try to be as conscientious as possible when it comes to how I shop, and what I wear. I am not as hard core about the sustainability side of it as many people are, or perhaps I should be, but I consider myself a very thoughtful shopper. This comes mainly from wanting to look and feel my best on a budget, and make the most out of what I buy.
Years of working in retail and being around shops and sales all the time taught me that a bigger wardrobe is not the solution to any problems. Buying things because they were a good deal or on major sale doesn’t mean they are actually adding anything to your closet. It was a hard habit to break, but buying less and being more discerning about what I am buying has made me a million times happier.
I have built a wardrobe of pieces I love to wear and that work well with each other. I am a proud outfit repeater, and am always looking for inspiration and new ways to style what is already in my closet. I have honed my style over the years, and never buy anything I am not 100% confident about. I expect and want to get a lot of use out of everything I own.
Recently I started noticing a hashtag on Instagram used by people who have a similar approach to style and shopping as me.
30 wears. Immediately it seemed so obvious to me, and so easy. Surely most of the things I own had clocked up thirty wears, and if not they were certainly on the way. It seemed almost silly to draw attention to it, and I figured if people found it challenging they were shopping in a very different way than I was.
But the thing is, thirty wears is no small feat. I did some quick math in my head and figured if a month is around thirty days, how often do I repeat the same items in a month? Maybe twice? That means it’s over a year before something hits the thirty wears mark. Suddenly something that seemed silly to point out became something I really wanted to track.
The 30 wears movement was started by Livia Firth who is the OG ambassador when it comes to ethical and eco-minded fashion. She has been talking the talk and walking the walk for way longer than #sustainablefashion has been a buzzword. In a piece she wrote for the Telegraph she urges everyone to ask ourselves “will I wear it a minimum of thirty times” for each item we purchase. For her even event pieces or special occasion wear needs to hit the same goal as everything else. Framing all your shopping with this question will go a long way in combating the throw away culture that fast fashion has created.
For me “30 wears” also seems like a manageable way into better shopping habits. I am not interested in a capsule wardrobe, I don’t think they let you have enough fun. And I am not in a position to give up fast fashion entirely, although I have taken massive leaps and bounds away from it. But I can start using that question as a sensible marker for what to spend my money on.
I was initially so confident that most of what I wore hit and surpassed thirty wears that I’ve decided to actually track how often I wear things to see how just how off the mark I am. I started just over a month ago and so far the most any one item has been worn is 6 times. I’m not trying to backdate anything here, everything starts from 0, so even things that have long ago hit the milestone don’t get a free pass.
I’m also interested in actually having a record of what I wear and how often. Obviously I have a rough idea in my head of what gets the most love and whats been sitting in the back of the closet for a while. But I’m hoping that actually seeing the concrete evidence will help me see where to trim and ultimately become a smarter shopper.
There are some pretty scary statistics out there about how much of what we buy is actually getting worn. According to Glamour in the UK the average item only gets worn 14 times before it gets tossed aside. And the Evening Standard reports that 1 in 10 people would toss an item or outfit after posting it 3 times on social media. Instagram and other platforms have made our outfits more public, and given them a permanent record, so the temptation to always have something fresh for “the gram” is certainly a driving factor in the fast fashion boom.
But obviously we should be getting dressed for ourselves alone. I strive to feel my best in all the outfits I wear, and what you see on this blog is actually what I wear in my real life. So yes wanting to feel awesome everyday means that I fall back on a lot pieces I know I love and that I know work. The look I put together for this post is made up entirely of things that have hit the 30 wears mark. And a lot of it from fast fashion brands. You can find quality items that are built to last, you just have to know what to look for.
I’ll be using the 30 wears question when ever I go shopping from now, I have always considered how much wear I would get and how long an item would last before buying, but now I’ll have definite goal in my head for every purchase. I’m also looking forward to watching the results of my tracking and getting a better understanding of how my wardrobe is working. I hope to see things hitting the goal fairly regularly. I don’t want my initial confidence in how often I wear everything to take too big a hit.
I would love to see “30 wears” become the norm worldwide, and I think we are making small strides towards a more sustainable shopping industry. But for anyone who is wondering how to start dressing a bit more eco minded, this is a great place to start. You don’t need to feel guilty for things you bought before, or throw out everything and start again. You just need to start counting. There is no point trying to go sustainable if you don’t start with what you already have!