How to Wear Cheap Clothing

In a perfect world, we would all have this amazing wardrobe that is sustainable, stylish and affordable. Being able to capture all three in any wardrobe would be pretty lucky if you ask me. For some of us consumers, we have to pass up on the sustainability to get both the stylishness and affordability.

I have given up on fast fashion many many times, but I always find myself back in an H&M or Forever 21 just for the affordability even with a capsule wardrobe. It’s pretty awesome to be able to walk into a store looking for a t-shirt and only having to pay $10..$12 with tax. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a organic store only to leave empty handed simply because of the price and sometimes the style…or lack thereof.

Cheap clothing or fast fashion does not HAVE to be bad! I feel everyone’s pain when they get a super cute shirt or dress only to be able to wear it once. It either shrunk, ripped, or became ill fitted. This more than likely occurs after it has been washed. If it didn’t occur after washing, then it was probably already in poor condition before you purchased the item.

So the big key to wearing cheap clothes more than once is to simply read the tag. More often than not, the tag will say “wash cold and tumble dry low” or “wash cold and line dry.” I know. That’s it?! Yes that is it. This “advice” goes for most clothing no matter the price. It is especially important with cheaper clothing because of the fibers they are made out of.

Sometimes the tag is just plain confusing or is in another language. What I normally do is wash ALL of my clothes on a delicate cycle and either line dry or put my dryer on air dry. Low heat is also okay too. It’s important in general to be gentle with your clothing.


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The gray shirt was $8 at H&M and should have shrunk a long time ago, but it has not been dried on high heat ever. The black dress was $5 on Amazon. I made the mistake of drying it and it shrunk into a shirt. I repurchased it and do the same as I do to the shirt. That’s really all there is to it. This may have been a no brainer to some or maybe even a life saver.

One day I hope to fully return to sustainable, but for now this is what I’ll be doing because it is affordable.