Fast Fashion: 9 Outfits

illustration (c) Lena Corwin
Did you know that only 3% of our apparel is produced in the United States nowadays? I knew the number was low, but 3%? That’s down from 90% in 1955 according to Elizabeth Cline‘s article “History of the Dress” on Etsy.
“In 1930, the average American woman owned an average of nine outfits. Today, we each buy more than 60 pieces of new clothing on average per year”
At first, that seemed like a lot, but now that I think about it, that’s only 5 per month. I wonder, does that include underwear and socks? On the other hand, there are more than 9 outfits in my closet; a mismatched jumble of second hand pieces, some re-fashioned, hand-sewn shirts and skirts along with a few new purchases thrown in. 

But when it comes down to everyday wear, I probably do wear only 9 outfits.  So why do I buy more stuff?

How many new items of clothes do you own, buy and wear?
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8 Responses to “Fast Fashion: 9 Outfits”

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  1. Melissa Lynn D says:

    I'm guessing I probably have around the 9 outfits average, but twice – I have 9 I wear in the summer and 9 in winter. I have expensive taste in clothes (plus I'm pretty tight with money) so I only buy on clearance or if I REALLY love it – probably only one piece of clothing every month or two.

  2. Shelley Noble says:

    I only go out of the house to an occasion, that would necessitate my wearing anything other than vagrant rags, about a dozen times per year

    I'd like wearing interesting new clothes and up-to-date fashion but there's no way I would spend a minute shopping these precious days.

    So I generally cobble together a presentation that will do for the moment out of whatever I happen to have laying around.

  3. annekata says:

    @Melissa: Thanks Melissa, I also have an expensive taste in clothes; that's why I usually buy second hand and then save some for a really special piece.

    @Shelley: Same here. I'm not a shopper, unless it's a rather special vintage/second hand store. Other than that, I cobble my outfits together, mostly from black clothes.

  4. Catherine says:

    I think, your job definitely comes into consideration. I wonder the percentage of women that were employed in the 30's. When I worked in the a high school in the States half of my closet was dedicated to work only. As well, I think our society has become much more casual which plays into owning more clothes.

    As I get older I think I am more careful about buying pieces I adore and that will last. Since I moved last year, I was only able to bring a limited amount of clothing with me and I'm guessing it's probably about 25 outfits (for summer and winter). I wear most of it but I go through phases of loving a few outfits a bit more.

    Really thinking about it. We have so many options everywhere (for example, just look at the cereal aisle at your grocery store)… I think we are almost programmed to want these options in our everyday life including our closets.

  5. cynalune says:

    I don't even have the 9 outifts right now, but that's because I'm on hiatus. I very quickly gained weight due to a medical treatment and I'm slowly going right back, so I see what I wear as a transitory shell, not worth investing for. But when I'm back at my healthy weight, I think I won't indulge in lots of ready-made clothes. Instead, I want to sew, knit and crochet a few outfits. I've read your blog for maybe 2 months, and I must say it resonates a lot with me, though it's the first time I comment. I want clothes that are made slowly, each stitch pondered and reveled in.

  6. Elenka says:

    Oh, I have way too many clothes but, my biggest comment is my joy in finding your blog yesterday! Between last night and tonight, I have gone through one year of your posts!!! I love it. Can't wait to read more and to keep up with you from now on. Great job.

  7. Cindy Caraway says:

    I buy ALL of my clothing second-hand (undies excluded, of course!!) and this makes it hard for me to have "outfits" per se but I keep to a limited color palette which helps when putting things together. I probably buy around 20 pieces of clothing a year but each piece only costs me around $4.

    Added note: I work entirely from home and have very few occasions that truly require me to dress up – so clothing is a pretty easy area for me to cut back on.

    Love your blog!! :)

  8. Amanda says:

    I have five skirts and blouses that I wear regularly, mostly handmade. I do have another 5-6 outfits that just hang there (in the hopes that someday soon I will be back at work; I haven't worn them at home because I like my work clothes to NOT have little sticky handprints all over them). Some of these are purchased, some handmade. And a bunch of pieces that are staying as clothes until they get cut up to make something else–that way, should I decide that I am NOT re-using the fabric, I can donate a usable piece of clothing to the Goodwill. Usually make my own stuff, but occasionally I buy new (usually blouses for work) or from thrift stores. Other than socks, I buy about 2 pieces a year.

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