Financial gurus often attack nonessential spending, and rightly so. But they would also have you think that clothing falls under that umbrella. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the average family spends around $1,700 on clothes every year, a paltry sum compared to other expenses. But the real cost of clothing isn’t in the price tag but the created waste. Our closets are full of clothes we don’t need. In fact, clothes today have an average lifespan of only two years.

With all the waste generated by the fashion industry, it’s no surprise that it’s now one of the world’s biggest polluters. Fashion creates more waste than cargo ships and airplanes combined. If you’re thinking of buying baby boy fashion clothes, you need to consider the effect your purchase will have on our planet. Baby clothing is usable for only a few months, and finding ways to extend its use can go a long way in reducing our carbon footprint.

The logic is simple: if your clothes last longer, you won’t have to buy new ones as often. But buying clothing can be a tricky business. We often go for looks when there are other things you have to consider. Here are a few things you need to remember the next time you’re out shopping for children’s clothes.

1. Treat your clothes right

Clothing maintenance isn’t just about how you take care of it, but also how you wear it. Clothes wear out faster if the wearer has poor hygiene practices. You will find that your clothing will remain in good condition if you minimize spills and stains, shower daily, and wash it properly and often.

You also need to think about how you wear your clothes. Some pieces wear out faster if they are used in situations they aren’t designed for. For instance, you wouldn’t wear a fur coat if you’re out jogging. The sweat will cling to the fur and leave behind stains.

2. Know your fabrics

Quality beats quantity any day. And while durable clothing may be pricier than the ones sold in your average retail outlet, they offer more bang for your buck and last longer. But just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s more durable. You need to seek out specific fabrics and develop an eye for good construction.

Many mainstream brands sell durable clothing at a price that everyone can afford. But apart from the quality of the construction, it also helps to choose designs that won’t go out of style after a year or so. You can always depend on classic cuts and pieces to make your wardrobe more fashionable.

Buying children’s clothes might prove more challenging, however. Unless you have multiple children, you’ll find little use for clothes bought for a fast-growing child. You don’t have to splurge on high-quality clothing since it won’t be used in a few months anyway. Once your child has outgrown their clothes, consider donating instead of throwing them away.

toddler boy wearing hat sitting on the ground

3. Follow care instructions

How you launder your clothes directly influences their lifespan. If you use the wrong products or apply too much heat, you might ruin your clothes permanently. It all depends on the type of fabric you’re working with. Make it a point to check the laundry symbols in each piece of clothing. Each fabric will have its own care instructions, so separate your laundry by fabric type to prevent accidental damage.

One thing you need to remember: Don’t buy clothes you can’t maintain. Many high-end or vintage pieces require special maintenance. They might look good on you, but if you don’t know how to keep them clean, then you’re just throwing your money away. Instead, buy sturdy pieces that are easy to maintain.

Once you’ve mastered the basics of fabric care, you need to learn how to work with color. Colored items are always laundered separately from white items. Clothing with metal zippers and ornaments may require special attention when placed in the dryer. It’s also smart to learn how to work the washer and dryer and which settings work for which fabrics.

The bottom line

You can make your clothes last longer just by following these four care tips. Some pieces aren’t meant to last for years, but you can get more use out of them with the right care and treatment.

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