In a world where new trends are set religiously every six months, a fashion follower’s biggest concern is no longer pointed towards ways of keeping up with this constant need for change. Not when the biggest runway trends are being replicated in detail by fashion-forward brands such as Zara, H&M or Topshop, at such a rapid rate. The fast-fashion term itself is built upon the philosophy of quick manufacturing at an affordable price. And as good as it all sounds, what could this mean in terms of your wardrobe?
It could mean the opposite of a curated wardrobe – a busy closet, filled with garments that aren’t particularly qualitative, but that you will want to wear everyday regardless. Your wardrobe could also end up equaling a sum of bad decisions, of impulse buys, of pieces that won’t necessarily make for lasting investments; we’ve all been there, experienced that. Best case scenario, your wardrobe will become THE ultimate wardrobe, meaning a smaller and more efficient one, keeping up with today’s idea of luxury. And if that’s the case, you’ll be interested in finding out how to make your fast fashion pieces last longer.
01. Buy mid-priced pieces
The cheapest t-shirt might be the most tempting one of the bunch, complementing the alluring thought of shopping at the cheapest brand in town. We are all inclined to pursue quantity rather that quality, because buying five pairs of jeans instead of just one must feel at least five times more gratifying. But once the evanescent satisfaction wears off, you most likely end-up regretting the decision. Pursue medium priced brands for better quality and draw a line in between the abundance of fast fashion brands. If Cos gives you better quality than H&M for instance, don’t think twice about investing in a piece from the former.
02. Find good basics and stick to them
Every functional and efficient wardrobe is built upon smart basics. A pair of jeans that fits you perfectly, a basic t-shirt that goes with everything else in your closet, a light button-down that seems to be made especially for you. Finding good basics and sticking to them is another way of turning the fast fashion purchases in long lasting investments. If after various attempts of trying on jeans, you happen to stumble upon the Uniqlo ones for instance, and they fit great, keep buying them, there’s no reason not to.
03. Don’t wear clothing to death
Making a smart fast-fashion purchase or simply falling in love with a specific garment usually leads to you wearing that particular piece to death. But as clothes also need their time to rest, make sure your wardrobe offers several options that you can rotate and wear with the same pleasure and confidence. Expand your closet so that it contains both classic styles and plenty of basics to serve as foundation for your everyday looks. Avoid wearing your clothes to death, as this rule is as true to great suits, as it is to fast fashion.
04. Understand the clothing care labels and follow them to the letter
Here is where most of the fast fashion purchases find their abrupt ending. Regardless of their quality, versatility and poise, ensuring your fast fashion pieces with a longer existence has most to do with the way you understand the clothing labels when it comes to washing / dry cleaning them. Yet again, understanding means nothing if the labels aren’t followed to the letter.
A laundry symbol, also called a care symbol, is a pictogram which represents a method of washing, drying, dry-cleaning and ironing clothing. You will find the symbols written on the care labels attached to your garments. As they indicate how a particular item should best be cleaned, they should be followed accordingly. Here’s what you ought to know:
- Machine Wash – As a stylized washtub is shown, you will be instructed in regards to temperature, cycle and special care. The temperature can be pictured either as a number in the tub, meaning the maximum wash temperature (degrees Celsius), or as a string of small dots, ranging from one to a maximum of three, indicating that the water should be cold, warm or hot when washing the clothing. In terms of cycle, a bar below each symbol calls for a permanent press and a double bar for a very delicate treatment. A cross through washtub means that the textile may not be washed under normal household conditions, while a hand in the tub signifies that only hand washing (not above 40°C) is allowed.
- Bleach – Represented by a small triangle, the bleach process is recommended as follows. An empty triangle allows for bleaching with chlorine or oxygen when needed; two oblique lines in the triangle allow only oxygen (non-chlorine) as a bleaching agent, while a crossed, bold triangle prohibits any bleaching.
- Dryer – A circle in the square symbolizes a dryer and whenever showcased without dots, it means the clothing can be dried at any temperature. Otherwise, the tumble drying of the clothes must be done according to the heat setting suggesting one dot for drying at reduced temperature, two dots for medium temperature and three dots for drying at a high temperature. The crossed symbol means that the clothing does not tolerate machine drying.
- Natural Drying – One empty square (without the circle) stands for natural drying. This process recommends to hang dry (line dry) the clothing. It can also point towards drying flat and not wringing the clothing. Some care labels include two diagonal lines that stand for natural drying in the shade.
- Iron – The iron symbol featuring up to three dots allows for ironing the garments. The number of dots are assigned to the following temperatures: one point means 110°C, two points means 150°C and three points means 200°C. An iron with a cross prohibits all ironing.
- Dry Clean – A circle on the care label identifies the possibilities of professional cleaning (dry cleaning). A crossed circle forbids all dry cleaning.
While buying the best quality will always be the best long term investment, it’s not always viable. Mixing in seasonal fast-fashion pieces can be an ideal way to expand your wardrobe – as long as you buy wisely and take the best care of them.