If you want to get the most value for your money, you should focus on buying clothes and accessories designed to last a lifetime. Sure, you could keep buying a new $30 pair of boots every year, but wouldn’t you rather spend $150 on a nice pair of boots and keep them for many years? Or invest serious money into a wardrobe that can keep you looking professional for decades?
The real question is, how can you tell which products are best suited to this purpose?
Understand the Limitations
First, it’s important to understand some of the limitations of this approach. While it’s certainly nice to think about the possibility of buying clothes for life, the reality is most clothes won’t live up to this expectation.
Certain clothes take a beating, especially if you wear them every day; no matter how good your shoes are, eventually, you’re going to need a new pair. Some types of clothes and accessories are more vulnerable to this effect than others.
For example, if a piece of clothing or an accessory endures stress or damage repetitively, it’s probably going to have a much shorter lifespan than a piece of jewelry that you rarely touch.
That said, there are some steps you can take to extend the lifespan of your clothes and accessories.
Choose the Right Materials
One effective strategy is to choose the right materials. Certain materials are designed to last longer and are more durable than others. For example, leather mules tend to last much longer than mules made of other materials; leather is known for its durability and toughness. Synthetic fibers are excellent for improving the stability and versatility of a piece of clothing, but natural fibers like cotton, wool, and linen are usually more durable. If you want the right materials, search for a piece of clothing that contains a blend of both natural and synthetic fibers.
Buy From Reputable Brands
Some brands are simply more reliable than others. You probably already knew this, but you might be surprised to learn just how big of a gap there is between the best brands and the worst brands.
If a brand has a long reputation, it’s a solid bet that they design durable products and stand by those products. This isn’t a guarantee, as some brands decline in quality over the years, but it’s a good place to start. If you’re considering buying from a specific brand, see if you can find reviews and testimonials from customers who have bought those products recently. Are people happy with these purchases?
If you want to take things a step further, you can investigate the products in person or do more due diligence to figure out how this company operates. Where does this company get its materials? What are its quality control procedures? When you visit this store in person, do you find that their clothes and accessories feel and look durable?
Don’t Be Afraid to Up the Budget
You get what you pay for, at least to an extent. If you buy a bag of socks for an amount that works out to $0.50 a pair, you can probably expect those socks to deteriorate rapidly. If you spend $25 on a single pair of socks, you can usually bet those socks will last a long time.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, and spending more money isn’t a guarantee of higher quality. However, if you up your budget and look for higher-quality items, you’ll end up seeing better results.
Choose Timeless Looks
If you’re concerned about your clothes and accessories going out of style, prioritize choosing timeless looks. Certain materials fade in and out of fashion at unpredictable intervals, and there’s no telling how your taste will change in the future. Accordingly, you should seek out pieces of clothing and accessories that will be wearable indefinitely.
Shop at Thrift Stores
This may seem like a strange strategy, but consider shopping at thrift stores. Thrift stores are full of used clothes and accessories that have held up, despite years of wear and tear. Even if you don’t buy anything from the thrift store directly, you’ll generate some ideas for brands and materials that can stand the test of time.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Finally, take the time to learn from your mistakes. Not all of your purchases will be winners, and some of your purchases will either fall apart or become irrelevant. Pay attention to these instances as they unfold so you can improve your approach to purchasing.
Even if you employ all these strategies, there’s no guarantee that your clothing or accessories will last a lifetime. This is a tall order even for experienced fashionistas.
However, every step you take to improve the quality and durability of your purchases will pay off in the long run.