The amount of clothing the average American throws away every year.
Why any well-heeled gentleman should get his clothes fixed
It happens little by little, then all at once. I went to button my jacket and the whole button just came off in my hand, with a few dainty little threads still clinging to it. I was pissed, but more at myself than at my beloved jacket that I've had for years. In truth, I knew that I had taken it for granted.
You see, I knew the button was loose. I had been meaning to get it fixed for a while and each time I closed it, I felt that familiar wiggle—like the loose tooth of a child—and wondered if my beloved jacket had at least one more "good close" in it before giving up. What's more, the pocket had a slight rip on it as well. Sure, I could still use it but my jacket deserved more.
There's a reason why I wear it so much—it looks great on me and is the perfect piece of outerwear for travel. I can dress it up or down and I'll never be able to buy another like it. Cut from indigo-dyed wool, it was made by Apolis, the West Coast brand that's focusing on their popular market bags at the moment. If I want this baby to keep making me look good, I've got to take care of it.
For the record, I'm not against buying new clothes. On the contrary, I view it as an occupational hazard that I can't go to a new city (or a new store for that matter) without dropping my credit card and picking something up. But that's not to say I view clothes and accessories as disposable. In fact, when something works well for me, I tend to hang onto it.
Here at Valet., we've always advocated the motto of "buying less, but buying better." When you shell out for quality items, they not only look and feel better, but they last a whole lot longer. Lightbulbs eventually burn out. The best bottles of whiskey will inevitably run dry. Even relationships can end. But a well-crafted pair of leather shoes? An expertly tailored jacket? Those can last forever.
After all, it's one thing to shell out for something "timeless" and "classic." It's an altogether different thing to really live in something, travel in it and rely on it to make you look and feel your best. That's when you really come to trust an item. But, of course, even with things made with integrity, sometimes you're going to need to have something fixed—a seam repaired, a strap restitched or a shoe resoled.
What I learned is that having your beloved item fixed isn't the logistical headache you think it'll be. Your local dry cleaner might even tackle such jobs. If not, ask them for a recommendation or search Yelp for the best-reviewed shops near you. Bring in your item and get a quote. My jacket cost about $12 to have the pocket restitched and two buttons sturdily sewn on. I came back the next week with pants that needed the hem stitched up. She did that for two bucks while I ran across the street to grab a coffee.
Why get rid of something you love, something you look good in and paid good money for when the solution is simple and affordable? It's like spraying a little WD40 on a squeaky door hinge—a quick fix and it's good as new. You're left wondering what took you so long to correct something that was bothersome. But boy, are you glad you did it once it's done.