The dilemma of keeping clothes last longer...
I read this article on SFgate.com on how to make clothes last, and the secret is basically don't wash them. Apparently washing of clothes is what wears them out. Obviously that's not very realistic, so the article explains how to treat your clothes to make them last. I'm right now in the process of "rightsizing" right now, clearing out my apartment and figuring out what to keep and what to toss. I do get a lot of mileage off of most of my possessions. My computer is ages old, my scanner is a freecycle gem that I love and probably would have bought myself had I know it existed. Books are really hard for me to get rid of, and in fact I am in the quest for a new bookshelf and may end up making my own. Technology is hard to keep if it's general function like a computer or relies on software compatibility. But it can be easy to keep if it's single function, for instance answering machines and phones last forever.
So why do things become obsolete? There are two things
1) Normal wear and tear. The functioning stops
If fashion was more forgiving of waistlines, perhaps owning higher quality clothes that are a little loose would permit or midlife bulge (of course additional exercise to fight the ever slowing metabolism is a far out option). So what is the role of fashion but a form of exclusion (or stratification)? One could call it art too.
Was Mao's one suit for everyone more environmentally conscious?
My main beef with clothing is that it's not recyclable, you can pass it down to others or use it as a rag, but the raw materials are lost. (Since so much of clothing is cotton, could you use it as fuel in biomass?)
So buy timeless clothing, and treat it well, or else wear deodorant.