The 100-wears is a fantastic concept designed to help you shift your consumption away from fast and frequent, to slow and considered. 100 wears rule plays a huge role in my sustainable styling service offering, and how I live my life now.
I settled on the rule of only buying things that would last, and be predicted to be used at least 100 times; I feel this ‘100 uses’ metric is an easy number to do the maths with. It’s so easy to remember and us that it can help my clients transition away from buying for the short term and really investing in their future wardrobe.
Where did the 100 wears concept come from?
I wasn’t the person that invented the concept. In fact, I developed the 30-wears concept used by Livia Firth, into 100-wears.
I believe investment items should be able to last more than 30 uses (which when you think about it is just one month). Once I started to use it for my own measure of wearability in my own wardrobe, my investment mentality started to change.
It just felt ‘right’ and more aligned with sustainability to be focused on longevity and timeless style, something that as a sustainable fashion stylist I felt was missing from the traditional styling model – which over the past two decades have become more about shopping for more, not styling with less.
Why should we be aiming for 100 wears with our clothes?
In today’s fast and furious fashion industry very little clothing produced by fast-fashion clothing giants reaches 30-wears. When you consider H&M churns out over 3 billion items a year – it’s easy to understand why as consumers we’ve adopted a disposable relationship towards clothing. I spoke about this on the ITV news and likened our addiction to fast fashion to fast food.
In today’s throw-away society, for women at least, it is not uncommon for an item to be worn between 1-3 times before it is discarded.
“33 % of women consider clothes ‘old’ after wearing them fewer than three times” according to a survey by Barnardos Retail in 2015.
The reasons stated were due to changes in weight (49%), and unplanned items that were purchased on a whim (23%).
Typically fast fashion today isn’t designed to:
- last lasting
- survive mutiple wears and washes
- be repaired
- be recycled
- kind to the environment (polyester sheds microfibres into the ocean)
Buy cheap, wear a few times, discard and replace.
Paul Curry, Head of Business Insights at PrettyLittleThing told Edited that they “turn around products very, very quickly — identifying a trend to selling it within three or four weeks.”
We live in a world where fast and cheap are the parameters (are at least have been in Fashion for the past 2-decades) and the emphasis on long-lasting, quality seems to have disappeared.
We need a conscious shift to happen, one where we understand the true value of clothing, we should all know how it’s made, where it’s made, who made it, and what resources it required to make it. Then we will understand the True Cost and we will want to make sure our clothing lasts – and we can pass it on to future generations.
How do I get started using the #100wears rule?
Before investing in anything new, we simply need to apply the basic maths – and divide the upfront cost by 100.
Working with a sustainable stylist like myself, I will never encourage you to buy something if you don’t think it will get at least 100 years or more. This applies to everything, not just clothing #100wears is a basic metric for working out how sustainable and (we hope) long-lasting an item can be.
If it is predicted to reach 100 wears or uses, then it’s likely to be used much more than that.
Therefore, it should be considered an investment and you should apply the Cost Per Wear (CPW) calculations to see what your long-term Return On Investment (ROI) will look like.
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The #100Wears rule & capsule wardrobes
Bearing in mind #100wears is just 3-months, so if it’s a seasonal item – like a summer dress, you may only expect to get #30wears out of it each year. This is why its a great idea to apply the 100 wears rule to investment pieces when you’re building a capsule wardrobe.
If you’re not convinced a capsule collection is for you, consider if your over-flowing messy wardrobe adds to your stress. When you start your day overwhelmed and stressed out by the simple task of getting dressed – suddenly your outfit choices and pieces in your wardrobe really matter. If you have a wardrobe that’s stressing you out – then it doesn’t set you up for the best start each day.
Chances are you’re wearing the same few things on repeat anyway (and these are likely getting #100wears if the quality is good enough) so it’s just a case of applying this shop less, invest in better, spend a little bit more mindset.
A clear and tidy wardrobe has mental health benefits too. When you open the doors to your wardrobe and it brings you joy and genuine excitement for getting dressed – you’ll wonder why you weren’t taught this in school, because we all deserve to get up, get dressed, and feel good about our appearance – it doesn’t have to be ‘stressful’ but for many of us – it is.
A carefully curated closet will also save you lots of money in the long run.