"$20 for a tee shirt?!" Why You Should Stop Viewing Your Clothing as Disposable

One thing I hear all the time from people is, "Oh, I'd love to shop sustainably! But I could never justify spending $20 on a tee shirt." 

And if it's due to budgeting, I completely understand, and that's a whole other scenario. But I hear this all the time, from wealthy Bay Area women, who can easily afford to drop hundreds of dollars at Forever 21.  "$20 for a basic tee shirt is just too much." And I get it. Before I came into this lifestyle, I would've said the same thing too. 

But this tee shirt I'm wearing? It's a basic black crop-top from Reformation, and I happily spent about $28 on it.  But if you had asked me several years ago if I'd spend $28 on a basic black tee, I'd probably say that you were crazy, and that there was no way in hell that I'd spend over $10 for a basic tee shirt. 

But since then, my mindset on clothing has changed significantly. Instead of viewing clothes as cheap and replaceable, I now see them as investments that, when taken care of properly, can last me a lifetime. Instead of paying $10 for a shirt that I'll have to replace every 10 years, I'd rather spend $20+ on a tee shirt that I can guarantee will last me a lifetime.  Not only does this save you money, but it saves you from sending old clothes to landfill. And, not to mention, all of the other costs associated with producing each of those new tees that you buy. But, I won't list them again, since I feel like I talk about them every other post. ;) 

Regardless, if you're not made of money, then justifying $20+ spent on a tee shirt comes from radically changing our mindset on clothing. We have to learn to see our items as valuable and permanent, not just as temporary solutions. Of course, we have to learn to consider the costs associated with the clothing, but I think that for some people, that may be harder to resonate with. When we begin to see our objects as having value beneficial to our everyday lives, then we have no problem spending money to enhance them, or investing money into buying an item of high quality. Take cameras for example: a photographer will have no problem spending thousands on a nice body, or on upgraded lenses. Why? because they enhance their daily lives. The camera, the lenses, they all bring something to the photographer's life that they wouldn't have otherwise, which is the ability to take photos. 

And clothing is a similar thing. Unless you're an empowered nudist, then by all means disregard this post, then you need clothing. Specifically, you need clothing that will be versatile enough to take you throughout your entire lifestyle- work, travel, parties, drinks with friends, family get-togethers, etc.  So why not invest in something high-quality, that will not only be able to carry you through all of that, but will be able to withstand everything your life may bring? If you are financially capable to do so, of course. 

So with that said, it's time we stop viewing our clothes as disposable and worthy of replacement every few years, and instead see it as a long-term investment.  Not only will you be making a small change that can lead to a hugely positive impact on our planet, but you can also make changes  to save money in the process.  Who knows, maybe with all of this newfound wealth and freedom, you'll go out and purchase a rainforest (side note: someone I know did that. But more on that another time). The possibilities are truly endless, so long as we can get out of the mindset of disposability, and into one of sustainability.  

Photography by: Nathalie Bize

Location: Danville, CA

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