Where to Shop for Clothes That Last

Retail Store Brands
Every year, Americans generate 13 million tons of textile waste, but only 15 percent of it is recovered for repurposing or recycling. This is partly due to cheap, disposable fashion, which offers instant gratification, but isn't great for your wallet (or the environment) over time. Here are some labels that sell clothes that last.

American Apparel is an excellent place to start for basics and layering pieces that are always in style. Their products are made in the USA, and many items are constructed with organic materials. The company is also known for reusing fabric scraps to make must-have hair accessories. Stores like Forever21 sell quick fashion, but American Apparel's trendy gear is higher quality.

Lands' End is another American company that specializes in casual, durable clothing, as well as customer satisfaction. For over 50 years, they've been offering an unconditional guarantee that allows buyers to return any item at any time for an exchange or full refund, no matter what the reason. You can't beat that.

If you're the type who has a hard time parting with favorite clothing items, you might want to start shopping at Patagonia. Although their products are priced higher than the average store, the company's standards are higher, too. Patagonia encourages customers to repair and repurpose older clothing by allowing them to send back and repair items for a reasonable charge. Their "Ironclad Guarantee" also states that if their gear doesn't perform to your satisfaction, you can return it for repair, replacement or refund. So, you can literally keep your favorite sweater for ever.

When you're out shopping, keep these customer-friendly labels in mind. Buying their products will lower your costs in the long run, and have a positive impact on environment for the ultimate win-win.

Ways to recycle your old clothes
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Where to Shop for Clothes That Last -- Savings Experiment
What better way of honoring your wallet than making it out of your old baby clothes or torn/stained/unwanted garments? I used the pattern from Amy Karol's 'Bend-the-Rules Sewing' and used pretty bits of fabric from a little girl's dress I found at a thrift store (it turns out I have three boys) and other scraps of fabric from cast-offs.
These sweaters were too flamboyant to wear. But my friend Larissa came up with an easy, super-cute handbag pattern to make 'em beyond wearable. Talk about a new life!
This hat, made from four panels cut from sleeves of felted sweaters, is a cute and warm way to use your suddenly too-small or moth-eaten pullovers.
My friend and I have a great time cutting up accidentally (and on-purpose) felted sweaters to make hats. But what to do with the rest of it all? Why not a fashionable "pulse warmer" with a crocheted edge and some pretty buttons.
Can you use a sewing machine *at all*? You can make a hat out of a sweater in five minutes. Measure your head's circumference (most adults are between 21-23 inches), half that number, and cut two rectangles that width (i.e. 11 inches) and about 15 inches tall. Sew up the sides and top and presto! Hat.
Living somewhere warm and no longer use your great 90s-style scarves? Can't stand the fringe? Gifted a pretty-but-scratchy muffler? Use Martha's idea: make a gorgeous fringed stocking out of your useless accessory.
Got holes? Patch up your kids' clothes with bright scraps of fabric that add personality and (importantly) full knee coverage!
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