My take on clothing thrift

My take on thrift, in terms of clothing, is not to buy cheap from low-price retailers or the clothing section of the supermarket. It relies more heavily on having fewer items of clothing, but the clothing you do buy is of higher quality. For instance, I would spend £80 on a single high quality shirt. This might seem excessive when you consider I could buy a shirt on the high street for £30 or £40.  The reason is that the high street shirt will last three years if you look after it, whereas the high quality shirt can last up to ten years with proper care. I’ve had a Paul Smith shirt for seven years, which is only just showing signs of fading.

Own Fewer Clothes
It is not necessary to own many different outfits to look good. Variety can be achieved with a few basic wardrobe essentials, and a few good accessories. There is a lot to be said for a capsule wardrobe.

Buy the best you can afford
Delay gratification and buy better than the best you think you can afford.
Perhaps wait another month for the item and add extra money from your next pay cheque to your clothes budget. Don’t be afraid to invest a little bit more money in your clothing.

Learn the difference between high quality and high price
When you purchase your clothes, your first thought should be about the quality of the item not about its price. For example, you can spend a lot of money on a pair of designer shoes that look pretty for about five minutes but are not really fit for purpose.  I’m not suggesting that you all go out and buy Doc Martens unless that is to your taste, but I am suggesting you learn to tell the difference between a high quality item and a high price item.

Follow your personal style
Style should be given equal status to quality. Only buy clothes you love and that suit you. This should be obvious, but it isn’t to many people. You don’t need a fashion guru to tell you what to wear. Just look in the mirror, and think: ‘do I like this? Do I feel comfortable in this? Is this the image I want to present to the world?’ If the answer is to any of these questions is, ‘no,’ then why are you buying it? 

Take good care of your clothing
Taking care of your clothes might feel like a chore in today’s consumer environment, where things are easier to replace than to take care of. However, if you are investing money into buying quality stylish clothes, knowing how to care for them well is essential. The tips below are fairly straightforward and I wish I followed my own advice here more often.

  • Always read the care labels
  • Keep your shoes polished 
  • Hang up jackets so they don’t get crumpled
  • Buy a fabric detergent designed to preserve colours.
  • Learn to sew on buttons neatly
  • Know which of your clothes are dry clean only. 
  • Do not wash your whites with your purples.
  • Invest in an electric fuzz remover, particularly useful if you own a woollen coat

So shop around, make fewer, but smarter, quality purchases and take care of what you’ve got. That’s my take on clothing thrift.