What do you do with your old clothes?

Hands up who has a wardrobe overflowing with clothes they just don’t wear?

Coat hanger by Cara Photography

Image by Cara Photography

I know I do. There are even a few items of self-made clothing gathering dust at the bottom of my wardrobe. It’s a pretty shameful yet almost normal part of this culture of excess we’re living in.

Take this article by the Guardian, which while being from 2009, is still very much relevant today.

On average £470 per British woman was spent on items that were never worn and – as an extra sartorial slap in the face – one in 10 just chucked them in the bin, contributing to the estimated 900,000 tonnes of clothing currently thrown into landfill each year.

Whether or not this is the same today in 2011, I couldn’t tell you right now, but it’s pretty shocking, especially to me, as Cardiff women are named and shamed in the article as the worst offenders.

The fact is, whether we like it or not, as consumers of fast fashion we are flighty by nature. I’ll hold my hands up and admit I’ve complained I have nothing to wear when actually my wardrobe is bursting with clothes I’m actually just bored with.

This again boils down to this feeling of dissatisfaction Zoe spoke about when I interviewed her. How often have you seen a feature in a magazine criticising a high profile female celebrity for wearing the same outfit?

Advertising makes us feel as though we should wear something completely different every day because if (insert celebrity name here) can’t get away with it, then why should we be able to?

Rather than make a real commitment to a well constructed garment, we’ll happily fork out a fiver for something which will provide the quick fix satisfaction we crave. After wearing it once, it’ll probably end up in pieces in the bin a few months down the line.

Over the years I’ve filled charity bag after charity bag with clothing I no longer wear for whatever reason. While I won’t just throw something out after wearing it only the once, I can’t say hand on heart I haven’t thrown away clothes when they’ve worn out. Considering the amount of clothing I have owned over the years, this is worrying. This is without even taking any scrap fabric from sewing into account.

What I’d really like to learn more about is textile recycling. Textiles are one of those things which tend to be absent from the list of household recyclables. On top of this, I have to wonder what happens to the clothing high street retailers can’t shift.

Over to you. What do you do with your old clothes? By old, I don’t just mean those which are falling apart; I’m also talking about those impulse buys you were never able to take back, the clothes which don’t quite fit or even ones you just got bored with. I’d love to hear your thoughts!