Monday, February 5, 2018

When Do You Say When? The Life Cycle of Clothes

Photo by Salt Water New England
The expectation of certain clothing items is that they will last a long time.  An oxford shirt and pair of khakis may start, new, as business casual.  Eventually they get a bit worn and loses their crispness, and become weekend wear.  And finally, with tears and patches, they end up for garden work, brush clearing, and trips to the dump.  After a long run, it becomes necessary to ask, when do you say when?

23 comments:

  1. I just threw away my all time favorite pair of trousers. I hung on to them until they were in terrible shape and not suited for wearing in public. I realized they had been on the hanger for a couple of years and that I only had them around because they were my old favorites. They went in the trash. If you could still buy pants like that it would have been easier, but it was like saying good bye to something more than just a pair of pants.

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    1. I agree with you. It would be SO much easier if we could replace our tattered old clothes with their exact copies but . . . heavy sigh. I usually cut up my old soft clothes and use them for polishing my stainless steel dishwasher and oven.

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    2. Same. Also, happily, have lost some weight over the last year and this fall decided to cull from the closet those items no longer wearable. My favorite khaki twill trousers were among the many... Glee mixed with the sadness of knowing I'll not replace that battered but still wearable pair. I did donate the lot to a local clothing bank so I hope they go to someone who can use all that stuff...

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  2. When they're no longer suitable for yard work, or they reach a point where no one would buy them at a thrift store, I often cut my old clothes up into shoe polishing cloths and fabric scraps for repair work.

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    1. Same here -- old clothes no longer fit for yard work are cut up into rags to get a final use out of them before they go into the trash. Buttons are removed and put in the button jar to be used as replacements for lost ones.

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  3. When my wife raises one eye brow and asks me if I plan to leave the house dressed like that.

    With that said, there's nothing like a well worn pair of soft frayed at the cuffs khakis along with an equally frayed shirt and for the record, the guys at the hardware store don't care how you dress.

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  4. I ditch them when they rip and cease to become UV blocking .

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    1. There is something a bit sad about consigning them to wiping up oil/paint spills though ...............

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  5. When my wife says the cloth won't hold a sewed-on patch anymore. But there are other items, i.e, a pale blue corduroy shirt she first met me in fifty years ago that's stained, frayed, threadbare and holed that she never wants me to part with.

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  6. I donated my older well made clothing because after I lost weight about eight years ago they no longer fit me. I do still have my 1990s L.L.Bean stadium coat that I wear for shoveling and roof raking. That said, it's awful how often I need to donate clothing due to the poor quality of cotton today, and that's when you can find 100% cotton. Things wear (and wear, due to vanity sizing) differently today than before. There's nothing charming about cotton that pills like cheap poly or a top that doesn't maintain a flattering fit after one gentle washing.

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    1. there are some online vendors that sell old-school 100% oxford button downs, and Brooks Bros. brought them back as 'original polo.' my faves are from Mercer & Sons & Michael Spencer, and Proper Cloth is a less expensive option, but monkey with their standard fit if you prefer a roomier shirt.

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  7. DT that is beautiful (all the best for 50 more years and long live the stained, frayed, threadbare and holed pale blue corduroy shirt). N from VA

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  8. I think FJW's comment about his wife is hilarious in its similarity to my own!! I don't know what his response is, but mine is always "Why yes, yes I do."

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    1. Yeah, that's about my response also. But after 'the look', I know not to stray too far from the house

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  9. Frayed collars as well as frayed cuffs on shirts or pants are good for the yard and hardware or even the gas station. Holes...I toss them. I once had a great fitting good quality pair of cords that wore in such a way that it looked like they were purposely and mechanically made to look that way. Restricted them to the yard.

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  10. Until they absolutely are in tatters...I have two paisley pocket squares that were cut from very old boxer shorts. Some items (oxford shirts, sweaters, etc) just can't be parted with... too much history.

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  11. When they have so much epoxy on them you can't move parts of your body.

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  12. I generally donate clothes to local charity which I haven't worn for a couple of years. These are still in good shape and will have a second life of purpose for someone who needs them. My sons also like my older button-down work shirts. I buy far fewer items of clothing now, so I expect to use some of this fine advice from other readers in the future!

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  13. I just dropped off two Patagonia shirts that I bought in 1997 at the shop here in Atlanta so they can recycle them. 20 years is a good run!

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  14. Growing up, I was taught to save everything forever. Who needs four barn coats? Or eight sweaters with moth holes?

    As an adult, I am rebelling as I don’t want multiple closets of old clothing, I rather give it away when it is still of use to someone else. I am mindful of what I buy and am happy to pass along a coat with life left in it or boats that weren’t worn in two years to a charity resale shop in my town.

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  15. I don't spend frivolously, but I buy what I like and need. You never know when you need to walk to town, so you can't look like a hobo wandering up the road. Nothing wrong with a little pride in your appearance. The "genteel poverty" look should only be taken so far.

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  16. the main killer for trousers, for me, is when holes wear at the top of the inseam. frayed cuffs and collars relegate oxford button downs to weekends and extremely casual situations. ironing one's own shirts helps them last a lot longer.

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