In modern day, let’s face it. We really like clothes. Of course you should always reduce the amount of items in your wardrobe but fashion is also a great way to express yourself. Here’s how to be a sustainable shopper when you need to.
Only buy what you need. Stick to what you really need to avoid over buying and over spending. If you’re looking for a new shirt for work then only buy a new shirt for work. Don’t buy a a fifth black v neck t shirt. Trust me, you don’t need five. Impulse buys are the worst because you often end up finding out it’s a duplicate or, worse yet, you don’t even like it once you get home. It’s just going to just add clutter to your wardrobe and make you even more confused about what to wear in the morning.
Stay away from trends and fads. What’s in now might not be in next year. Try to buy things you know you’ll wear for a while. Start off with classic staples that everyone should have and build your own personal style around those core pieces. That’s not to say all trends are bad. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it when the grunge 90’s trend came back, but that’s mainly because it went well with my personal style. If floral is really in (as it seems to be every spring/summer) and you love it and think you’ll wear it for years to come, that’s fine! Just make sure you’re not buying something just because that fashion article said it was so totally fetch this season.
Think of getting some investment pieces. Okay, so you need a new skirt for an event and decide to go with a black pencil skirt. This is obviously a core piece that can be used for a really long time for both events and work. That’s great! You’ve already covered the top two tips, buy what you need and stay away from trends. Now, since we know this is a core piece that you’ll wear again and again, would you rather buy one for $10 that is cheaply made and you’ll have to buy many more in the future to replace it or would you rather spend $50 to get a better quality skirt from a better brand that will last forever? It makes sense in this case to go with the $50 skirt because you know you can use the pencil skirt for years to come. I know it’s easier to gravitate towards cheaper clothing, especially when you’re a broke college student (me), but stick to quality over quantity.
Buy used when possible. The second best thing to reducing is reusing! Go to your local thrift store to give a piece a second life. I’ve personally found some amazing quality brands that will last forever, sometimes with the tags still on them! This is a great way to search for that quality without the large price tag. Just make sure you take your time and are patient when thrifting. There’s almost always something amazing, you just have to look hard enough. You know what they say, one mans trash is another mans treasure.
Bonus Tip! I highly recommend watching The True Cost to learn more about the environmental and social impacts of fashion. It’s an amazing movie and it’s really eye opening to the impact something as simple as a shirt has.
Let us know what your favorite sustainability fashion tips are!
Written by Patricia Van Valkenburgh, Class of 2019.