Get the most out of your wardrobe & the Wear 30 Rule

As the new year sets in and you’re working on your goals, resolutions and plans, it’s a great time to evaluate your wardrobe. You want to be more socially conscious with your wardrobe, but obviously you can’t just dump what you own and start fresh. That would be counterproductive. The goal for the future should be “buy better, not more.” But what about your existing items? The general rule of thumb is you should wear an item at least 30 times for it to be worth purchasing. Here are some ideas to help you achieve the Wear 30 Rule and maximize your wardrobe.


Clean out your closet

There’s no point in keeping things around that you don’t wear. Don’t hold onto something that you bought on a whim and never even took off the tags (we’ve all been there). Things that don’t fit? I promise if you even get back into that old favorite pair of jeans you’ll realize they are outdated and no longer your favorite. Grab your girlfriend and spend an afternoon trying on things you haven’t worn in awhile. Think creatively to see if there are new combinations you can make to wear these items and have them feel fresh again. No good? Get it gone.

Make Three Piles

The first pile will consist of on-trend items in great condition or with tags still on for consignment. Don’t have a good local consignment shop to support? There are some wonderful online options as well, including Thred Up and The Real Real (Bonus: they’ll even pick your stuff up if you live in one of the cities they service).

Second, collect items for donation. These could be older items. Maybe they’re a little more faded and worn, cheaper brands, etc. Do not donate things that are full of stains, holes or dirty. Nobody else wants to wear that stuff either. It will likely end up in a landfill. There are a number of great non-profits to bring your gently worn business wear, such as Dress for Success. They provide women tools to succeed, professional clothing and help entering the workforce. Don’t have a local chapter but want to help? Alternatively you could have a garage sale with these items and donate the money to Dress for Success or your favorite non-profit organization.

Lastly, make a pile of the very worn, such as stained, torn, missing buttons or just plain ugly (eg. zebra print hammer pants). Do not throw out these items. Instead, use them for up-cycling clothing. Cut out good parts of the fabric and create something new. Find new buttons and finally repair that shirt. Not enough bits or not feeling creative? Gather some friends for an evening and have everyone bring their discarded bits (and probably some wine). Then, share your wears and inspire one another with new creations!

The Wear 30 Rule

This was started by Livia Firth. She’s the Creative Director of Eco-Age, founder of the Green Carpet Challenge and an Executive Producer on The True Cost. She said, in response to the high cost of cheap fast fashion, “if we can all commit to wearing something a minimum of 30 times, then we can buy it.” It’s all about being a more conscious and conscientious consumer.

Yet we all know there are those items that you just can’t wear 30 times. That lime green bridesmaid dress your best friend promised you would wear again? Yeah, no. The Ugly Christmas Sweater you bought for the holiday party? Probably not going to wear that once a year for the next 30 years. What about those?

In addition to the above suggestions for purging those boots and pleather leggings you bought for your Lara Croft Halloween costume, you can also consider renting or borrowing items to avoid future one time purchases. Rent the Runway is an awesome option if you haven’t tried it yet. Perfect for an evening gala or high school reunion dress. You can even have your bridesmaids get dresses there. Then you don’t have to cross your fingers behind your back while you tell them they “can totally wear that dress again.” Halloween costumes? I am willing to bet someone in your Facebook network has that item you need to perfect your outfit.

Shopping problems?

Are you one of those people that is notorious for buying things and never getting around to returning them? Try a service like Stitch Fix where the return box is provided for you and made super simple. You’re also more likely to get items you like from the start. Or purchase items from Amazon. Super easy to make returns as UPS will even pick it up from you. Bonus points for Amazon: you can go to and select your favorite charity or school to get a portion of the proceeds off all your purchases!

Let’s hear from you!

Have other great ideas for your used or unworn clothing? Have you implemented the Wear 30 Rule into your wardrobe? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

slow fashion, clean closet, wear 30 rule, socially conscious clothing