Wear it: The 30 Wears Challenge

In today’s post I’m talking about how to get at least 30 wears out of your clothes.

I was introduced to the 30 wears movement by Allison from The Tall Mama (here’s her post on it). This resonated with my increasing knowledge into the impact of fast fashion on the environment and working conditions of those who make our clothes. It inspired me to try to be more mindful of my clothing purchases, and to only buy those things I think I could wear at least 30 times.

While most of my purchases over the last 12 months have been through second hand channels (such as op shops, markets and buy/sell apps), there have been times when I’ve bought items brand new either online or at a store. Below are three questions I ask myself when I’m considering any purchase, including second hand.

1. Does this fit my personal style(s)?

This is particularly important for items that are trend-driven, because as we know fashion is cyclical and retailers are banking on the fact that we get tired of a trendy item after only a few wears (so we then buy the next trend). I’ve identified that I actually have at least 3 styles depending on what hat I’m wearing (mama/fashionista/pedagogue) so when buying something I always consider whether the item is suitable for at least 2 of these styles so that it can be worn in a variety of ways.

I saw this red Next blouse on Instagram and admittedly the three questions didn’t even occur to me. I just had to have it – my love for embroidered detail knows no bounds (see here and here for evidence). As the embroidery trend is huge right now it ticks my fashionista box. It’s also great for my mama style as it’s loose-fitting and is a comfy yet dressier option to a t-shirt. I could also wear it to work with a smart pair of pants and loafers.

2. Can I wear it in at least three different ways?

If we do some maths: you have an item of clothing that you can wear in three different outfits. Assuming you’re happy with repeating outfits, you wear each of these outfits once per month in one season, then that’s 9 times that you’ve worn that item of clothing, and that’s only 1/4 of the year. Using this formula you would easily wear that item of clothing to almost 30 wears in one year.

Today’s outfit consisted mainly of items bought new – a white tee by Organic by John Patrick (bought new from the My Chameleon warehouse sale last December); Blank NYC denim jeans bought in January from the post-Xmas sale at Myer; and Topshop loafers also bought in December last year. I topped my outfit off with a second hand Acne cardigan.

This white tee has been a workhorse since I bought it. I think I’ve worn at least 7 times since December.

I’ve also reached for these jeans a lot since I bought them. They’ve probably been worn at least once a week over the last 6 weeks (2 last week alone).

And these loafers – I mainly bought them for work, but they’re just so comfy (and excellent dupes for Gucci) that I can’t help but wear them at least once a week.

(See here, here and here for other examples for posts where I’ve worn one item of clothing three ways.)

3. Do I really love it?

Ah, the age old question. Marie Kondo talked about how each item in your life should spark joy, and I try to consider this when I buy my clothes. Quite simply, if an item of clothing makes you happy every time you wear it, the more you’re likely to keep it. The red Next blouse I mentioned above – it was love at first sight. When I wore it I felt instantly uplifted – the red shade and the embroidery meant it was a keeper. Same with the Topshop loafers – I loved them as soon as I tried them on. They’re just so dang comfy, and they can make even a pair of ripped jeans seem dressy. When there is a nagging doubt or question about an item of clothing I always have a little bit of time to reconsider it; if it’s no longer in my consciousness within 24 hours it’s off the buying list.

That’s not to say I always get it right – there have been some fairly recent purchases which I loved at the time but for whatever reason have changed my mind since. However, this also gives an opportunity for me to either rethink how I wear it; possibly refashion it to give it new life; or give it a new home.

Mindful shopping will continue to be a challenge for me as a recovering impulse buyer, and there are times when I slip (how can you beat a pair of secondhand Prada boots for $40?!). However, having adopted a more thoughtful approach to my shopping I think I’ve been able to put together a more curated, more conscious closet where I intend to wear everything in my closet multiple times.

Like the 30 wears challenge? Here are some more links to inspire you:

True Cost the Movie: Livia Firth and the 30 wears challenge
The Frugal Bagel: How Much is 30 Wears?
Away from Blue: #30Wears series

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5feetofstyle

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