In a recent Vogue article, editor Emily Chan is clear: Each person should buy only five new items of clothing each year.
That figure comes from a report by Hot or Cool published last year. The researchers behind the report based their recommendations on the Paris Agreement, a binding international treaty created in 2015 with the goal of stopping global temperature increases caused by human activity.
The goal of the agreement is to limit the increase to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Doing this requires countries to reduce their production of gases like carbon dioxide that stay in the atmosphere and trap heat on the surface of our planet.
The fashion industry has been repeatedly called out in recent years for contributing to the production of these heat-trapping gases. Eco-friendly fashion designer Niharika Elety details many environmentally damaging practices on her TikTok channel.
Buying less clothing and choosing eco-friendly brands could encourage the offending companies to change their approach and pollute less. Not to mention that buying less and using each garment for longer is good for your wallet, and it also helps keep clothing out of landfills.
“According to waste charity WRAP, extending the average life of a garment by nine months can reduce its carbon footprint by around 25 percent,” says Chan. The Hot or Cool report suggests aiming for a “sufficient” clothing collection of “six outfits for work, three outfits for home wear, three outfits for sports, two outfits for festive occasions, plus four outdoor jackets and trousers or skirts” — about 74 garments total.
And when you no longer need an article of clothing, try to pass it on — to a new buyer, a charity, or a thrift shop — instead of throwing it in the garbage.