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How often do you replace clothing? And why?

I read that people tend to replace clothes after anywhere from 6mths - 5yrs, saying that they are ‘worn out’. What do they mean by that? Literally everything in my wardrobe is much older than that (most of it 15yrs+) and I’ve never had any clothing actually fall apart so I don’t understand why people replace things. Does fading mean ‘worn out’? What about the material getting thinner/threadbare? A few loose threads? The only problem I’ve noticed is that clothes keep shrinking after endless washing/tumble drying so I replace socks once they’re becoming too small. Also my new washing machine is much more aggressive so is definitely causing wear & tear. Even so, I’ll still wear things for much longer than most people seem to. I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m just not good at noticing when clothes look shabby. 


  • comeandgo
    comeandgo Posts: 5,766 Forumite
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    edited 7 March 2023 at 10:13AM
    I like clothes so I don’t think I replace them, I just add to what I’ve got.  Every few years I will put what I’ve not worn for a while or don’t like anymore to charity shops or sometimes family members want them.  The clothes that wear out are the woolly jumpers or some tee shirts.  
    My washing machine does not shrink things, and I do not tumble dry clothing.  Does your washing machine not have a delicate wash you could use?
  • ripplyuk
    ripplyuk Posts: 2,891 Forumite
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    comeandgo said:
    I like clothes so I don’t think I replace them, I just add to what I’ve got.  Every few years I will put what I’ve not worn for a while or don’t like anymore to charity shops or sometimes family members want them.  The clothes that wear out are the woolly jumpers or some tee shirts.  
    My washing machine does not shrink things, and I do not tumble dry clothing.  Does your washing machine not have a delicate wash you could use?
    Yes, it does but the delicate wash is too short and gentle to clean day-to-day clothes. I only use it for things with a lot of lace or some curtains. The weather here prevents drying clothes outside for most of the year so tumble drying is the only option but even though it shrinks things, they still mostly fit so I still keep them. 

    When you say the woollens and t-shirts wear out, what happens? Do they get ripped or full of holes? 
  • jackieblack
    jackieblack Posts: 10,335 Forumite
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    edited 7 March 2023 at 10:44AM
    Just off the top of my head:
    My socks wear thin and then into holes at the heel and toes.
    Elastic eventually goes in underwear.
    T-shirts seem to develop tiny holes in the fabric after a few years - never been able to determine why or how.
    When I was at my heaviest and prone to a bit of 'chub rub', the inner seams on trousers developed holes after a while.
    When I used to use the stick type deodorants, tops developed a build up in the armpit which set solid and stained (this was before the 'invisible' type formulations that are now available).
    Frayed collars and cuffs on shirts/blouses

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  • diystarter7
    diystarter7 Posts: 5,202 Forumite
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    The media has to fill their magazines, websapce with something and this is one of those stories

    We repalce as needed/want annd at times re shoes if they wear out and at times buy something that we liked before but did not want to pay the inflated prices and buy on sale.

    I have slothing in my wardrobes that I've never worn or just the once and every year or so give it away inc shoes as I find it hard to break them in.

  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,880 Forumite
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    edited 7 March 2023 at 11:16AM
    I think it depends if you are make it female.
    Most (I know not all) women have more clothes (and shoes) than men
    And probably age plays a part. Younger people may tend to buy more clothes and discard than as fashions change.
    And if you work or are retired.
    Or if you go out a lot or don't.

    I am retired but go out a lot.
    I buy almost all my clothes from charity shops and re-donate when I'm ready for a change.
    Helps the planet and the charity.
    I do tend to buy good quality items, I wouldn't buy a second hand Primark item.

    I have 3 sets of clothes:
    scruffy for in the house during the day, leggings, t-shirts, old sweatshirts.
    best for going out, expensive leggings, dresses, tops.
    upgrade from in the day when I've finished cooking or come home and am relaxing.
    Sometimes items start off as going out then go down a step. 

    I buy good quality footwear and treat them well.
    I'll buy ECCO from TKMaxx for £15 or £20 in the clearance instead of payng £120.

  • Rob5342
    Rob5342 Posts: 1,602 Forumite
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    There's not much point trying to establish an average as people vary so much. Some people love buying clothes and will replace them whenever they fancy a different colour or style. Other people, like me, will begrugingly go and buy a new t-shirt when the hole in it gets a bit too big to ignore. 
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,227 Forumite
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    I replace them when they develop holes. Items with small holes get relegated to working clothes (i.e. stuff to wear when doing dirty jobs). 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,208 Forumite
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    It varies. I think that generally speaking, women's fashions change much more, and more often, then mens so women's clothing tends to look more obviously dated, more quickly, so that probably plays a part. 

    Personally, I tend to thrown things out as they get tatty / no longer fit / fall apart.
    Depending on what they are, they may get down graded first - e.g. I have some plain tops which I no longer wear to work but still wear around the house, and similarly some cardigans which are no longer smart enough for the office but are fine for casual wear at home.

    I sometimes need to wear a suit for work although normally buy plain black jackets and trousers so I can 'mix and match' - suit jackets do tend to start to look shabby over time - they get worn at the elbows and cuff and you get pulled threads

    I dislike sewing so other than really basic stuff like sewing on buttons or repairing a hem I don't tend to mend stuff.

    I don't consciously replace stuff, as in I don't throw something out and buy a new replacement version, I will buy stuff if/ when i need it.

    I do try to review my wardrobe periodically and get rid of things I don't wear although I don't find throwing stuff away very easy. 
    I did recently get rid of a load of t-shorts which had got to the point of having little holes in the fabric / were faded / had stains from deodorant, and had a big clear out a couple of years ago as I lost a Iot a of weight so got rid of the things that were too big, and also of things I realised I don't wear because I don't much like them.

    Thinks like socks and underwear get thrown out if they develop holes, or the elastic goes, or they get stained, and I buy more if I start to run low .

    But I have stuff in my wardrobe I've had for 20 years that still gets worn
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 33,408 Forumite
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    Worn out for me is either fraying or developing holes, or getting so pilled that they look really tatty. Or my shape has changed and my clothes haven’t.

    There’s only so many things that are past their best that you can keep to wear around the house. You need decent looking clothes for work and social activities so when they no longer suitable for that that’s when they go.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

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  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,263 Forumite
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    I'm going on holiday tomorrow, so to ensure I've got the widest choice of clothes to pack, today I am wearing a lovely soft cord shirt. It's mostly purple, but the collar and cuffs have worn away to white. I also have a pair of trousers on which are not the style I usually wear and they look too short IMO. But I currently only have two pairs of 'everyday' trousers, and one of them is going to holes at the crutch. Historically I'd have gone to Debenhams, headed for the Maine section, and bought two new pairs. Just can't find anything quite like them anywhere else - if they're on Boohoo, they're well hidden. 

    We found DH had 56 pairs of socks in his drawer the other day. I condemned one pair, which are completely threadbare and heel and toe: I suspect there are more pairs like it but no time to finish the job. However I pulled out one pair, showing no signs of wear, and asked if he knew where they had come from. He had no idea. His mother bought them on a trip to New Zealand. I can't remember when that trip was, but I think it was over 20 years ago. Obviously these socks may have gone through a fallow period of non-wear at some point, and I've washed them on 40 and tumble dried them all that time. 

    I don't tumble elasticated trousers, or hand knitted socks, or bras. 

    I really NEED to cull my clothes because I have far more than I need, and often reject something when I was about to put it on. My chair of doom avalanched onto the floor this morning, and there were things in there I'd completely forgotten about ... 

    But I rarely throw things away: only if they are worn into holes - silk shirts are particularly prone to ripping - if still wearable they go back to the charity shop. 
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