I’m someone who loves to shop and buy into exciting new trends. I’m someone who cares deeply about ethical issues in the fashion supply change, someone who believes we hugely need to revolutionise the industry and dramatically change our shopping habits. I’m someone on a low budget. These three elements of my life are in constant battle.
An important thing to point out before going into this blog post: I am not for one minute suggesting I am a glowing example of a responsible shopper – I’m really not. I’m someone making an effort, trying within the best of her abilities to become more responsible and more aware of how I can make a difference. I’m not preaching and I’m certainly not telling you what to do.
Not falling into fast fashion traps is so hard, especially with social media platforms constantly advertising cheap new trends. So I thought I’d let you guys know some of the tips and tricks of responsible shopping which, so far, have been really helping me! Here are my buying rules.
Will I wear it 30 times?
When I’m looking at that sparkly number and my magpie tendencies are getting the better of me I stop and think, will I be able to get 30 wears out of this garment. Is the quality high enough to withstand that many washes, is the style flattering enough that I’ll love it even on low confidence days, is it a piece that will transcend trends that I can wear it for years to come, or is it so me that I don’t give a crap whether it’s in style or not. There are so many factors to this rule, which makes it a really great one to bear in mind when you’re shopping. It takes into account your existing wardrobe, your personal style and even the bloody weather! Keeping this in mind with all your purchases will really help you to start making more sustainable choices. It’s a big un.
Do I feel brilliant?
This one gets touched on with the 30-day challenge, but it’s so important I thought I’d really drive it home. I’m such a sucker for seeing beautiful clothing on other people and trying to work it into my style. There’s been so many times I’ve not been 100% sure about a garment, but because I’ve seen style-icons rocking it I persist and buy it even if I’m not fully sold on it. From personal experience, if you’re not sure at the time of purchase you probably never will be. My rule is when you get that item home, or you receive that delivery try it on with your existing wardrobe. Try it on with five different outfits, in five variations – or if you want to ease yourself in three – if you can do that and feel good in it, keep it, if not get rid. It’s not worth keeping items you don’t feel amazing in or don’t go with anything you already own, no matter how much you want them to work.
Let it breathe
So you’ve seen those amazing pair of boots or gorgeous new dress in the new in section, the temptation is to immediately click buy, it’s instant, you don’t even have to pause for breath. But hey there, remember your responsible shopping efforts!
I’m terrible for quick buy purchases when I’m feeling a bit low or a bit unsure of what to wear for a particular event. So of course I invented a rule (because rules are awesome.) Now when I see that magical item I put it in my saved basket (or the imaginary one in my head) and I wait two weeks. If in fourteen days time I’m still excited by it, if I’ve imagined it for a few occasions, if I can place it with other garments in my wardrobe and I’ve created a bit of a (again imaginary) look book. Then by all means, go ahead!
If it’s lost its magic and your over it then congratulate yourself, you’d have probably only worn that item once and not felt all that in it. If the items sold out, which has happened before and I have been v.annoyed, remember there are other options. Firstly bear in my mind an item selling so fast means every bugger is wearing it so you’ll probably get sick of the sight of it OR there will be versions cropping up all over the high-street and not long after that in second-hand stores. You won’t have to wait too long for your fix!
Browse, browse, browse.
Don’t just see that one item in one store and grab it! Take a long look at that item, what is it you love about it, what could you change if you could? Keep a mental note of the price and quality, then start hunting. The likelihood of any high street store having a completely exclusive design is boarding on impossible. High street stores all take inspiration from the catwalks and new trends, so these designs will be cropping up everywhere. Browse until you’ve found the garment that has only has the features you love at the highest quality, this way you’ll get the most wear possible from it. To start becoming more and more ethical, start ruling out the shops that aren’t making any effort towards becoming more ethical and sustainable. Begin by using the Ethical Trade Initiative as a guideline, then research more and more into the topic,
There’s all sorts of inspiration out there for a new responsible shopper! Capsule wardrobe tips and videos are really helpful for starting to connect what you have and make your shopping more efficient, Anna of the Anna Edit has some brilliant capsule wardrobe tips and great videos for a less is more approach to styling. She also recently did a brilliant video called a fashion anti-haul which is a great twist on traditional fashion blogging. She basically listed all the trends she wasn’t going to enter into this spring/summer. Making your own lists like this is really empowering and helps define your own style!
Olivia Puris of What Olivia Did also has a really useful video on how to shop less. Mainstream fashion bloggers with such a high following delving into this subject is so helpful and really inspiring. Although they may not be coming at it from an ethical and sustainable viewpoint there is no denying how beneficial capsule wardrobes and shopping less is for garment workers and the environment.
I personally have a few more blog posts coming your way on DIY style, shopping second hand and styling trend based pieces in LOTS of different ways. I’m very excited to be blogging more about this, as it’s something I’m very passionate about!
I hope you’ve found this post useful and I’d love to hear your top tips, or how you’re going to start shopping more consciously.