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How Much Does a Sustainable Wardrobe Cost?

Good clothes cost money, and when you're building a new wardrobe, that money adds up...quick. Now, I'm no financial advisor (far from it), and I've had my fair share of "broke moments" (about 30 years' worth!), but I do consider myself fairly adept at Finding Money for Clothes. In my experience as someone who shops for both myself and for a living, creating a wardrobe budget that not only covers the actual wardrobe, but that is also easy to stick to (with a bit of wiggle room for those unexpected "I actually need this right now" moments) requires a varied approach: it's not as simple as just knowing what a T-shirt costs and multiplying it by five (or however many T-shirts you need...I personally only own one).

The right budget for your new wardrobe is going to come down to your unique needs, and the first step to establishing what those needs are is evaluating your wardrobe.

How to Evaluate Your Wardrobe

It can be tempting to pull everything out of your closet and toss everything into piles based on whether you wear it or not and call it a day, but, that's not evaluating your wardrobe, that's purging, and it often leads to binging later.

When seeking to build a long-lasting Forever Wardrobe, it pays to go one step further: Why don't you wear that item? Do you like it, but it fits weird? Add it to the To Be Tailored pile. Did you love it a little too hard and now it's worn out beyond wearability? Add it to the Replace pile. Is it something you really do want in your wardrobe, but it's just not perfect? Add it to the Upgrade pile. At the end of this, you should have a good idea of the specific pieces you're looking for. I recommend writing them all out in list form.

Where To Look?

Once you know what you're looking for, you can separate things out by where you should be looking for them.

If you're looking to build your wardrobe in the most sustainable way, then you should, at the very least, consider secondhand for more basic pieces. Things like sweaters, trousers and jeans, leather jackets, button-up shirts and blouses and certain styles of boots and purses exist