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Stop Buying Cheap Clothes

It's less wasteful to invest in quality clothing: Keila Tyner
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2014 1:50 PM CDT
Stop Buying Cheap Clothes
People walk past a Forever 21 store in New York's Times Square.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – Americans buy a lot of cheap clothes, but lately, there's been a backlash again so-called "fast fashion" as more consumers associate it with "low wages, poor working conditions, and excessive environmental waste," writes Keila Tyner for Quartz. Tyner has an idea: Why not buy fewer, but better, articles of clothing? "Much of the cheap clothing we consume in droves is like our fast food diets—high in calories (quantity) but low in nutrition (quality)." And we probably wear only about 20% of our clothing most of the time, which means we're wasting both space and money on clothes we don't need.

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The average American spends 3% of his or her annual income on clothing. If we assume an annual income of $50,000, that means a clothing budget of $125 per month. "Instead of buying five fast-fashion, low-quality items costing $25 each, they could invest in one or two quality items at a higher price point ($125 or $63 respectively)," Tyner suggests. This is an approach Europeans already take. If we follow their lead, we'll end up with fewer clothes to dispose of later. "We should consider how all the cheap clothing we buy may be indirectly costing us much more than we realize." Click for her full column. (Read more clothing stories.)

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