If you know me, you’ll know that I’ll never be one to have a capsule wardrobe. Shopping will forever be my favourite past time, not one that I could ever give up lightly – and my spending bans never seem to work!
Yet recently enlightened to the less than peachy side of fast fashion and trend following, I figured I’d try to cut back on my consumerist ways and attempt to solve every shopaholics age old question, “do I really need that?”
Being aware of alternatives to the high street has certainly made me more conscientious when purchasing clothes. I’d figured I’d write up a few ideas of how I am attempting to become more sustainable and yet still allow myself to enjoy shopping and fashion, whilst having a wardrobe to be proud of.
“Do I really need that?”
We’ve all been there, some more often that others. Stuck in a battle between head or heart – will this jumper truly be a worthy purchase?
Maybe too often we see the bargain price of an item and decide that it doesn’t matter how little we wear a piece; the price is a mere justification. The jumper must be bought.
Yet take a step back from bargain hunting (hard for student’s, I know) and consider the amount you will wear the item. Is it just a trend piece or does it have a timeless quality to it?
Ask yourself the question, “do I really need that?” Are you simply adding yet another slogan tee to your collection of slogan tees or are you considering the fact that you’ve already got six?
Instead invest in clothes that can be worn for multiple seasons, those which won’t “go out of fashion”, but are still rewarding to wear. Remember trends come and go out of fashion on a circular basis. We saw the delightful return of animal print last season, and now we’re seeing tie-dye make a return for Spring. Maybe dig out your old garments from the last time it was ‘fashionable’, instead of buying new. Saving money and saving the environment, jeez!
Who knows, those older garments are for sure not going to be owned by all your friends, who have probably bought all new ‘trendy’ garments. You’ll be cool and sustainable!
As a student this may come as no surprise. Especially considering the amount of vintage sales on campus and within a student city. Yet buying preowned clothes is perhaps the best way to start making a positive change.
As a self-confessed shopaholic, the ability to hunt down key pieces is always a fun and existing task. Swapping the high street shops for markets and charity shops adds further excitement. Rather than seeing the same style of clothes but in different shops, a ground hog day scenario, you’re suddenly faced with rails of clothes that are all unique pieces. You never know what gems you will find. Nothing is every repeated, and even the rails of checked shirts are all different!
Furthermore, often buying preowned items reduces their price. As such you could potentially save more by buying clothes previously owned, and if buying from a charity shop, have the knowledge that “every little helps”.
Maybe this is the best time to start experimenting with you style, as not buying clothing at full price, as on the high street, means you can try different looks and see what floats your boat.
From charity shops, depop, and vintage sales, the opportunity to buy preloved items is endless and I would strongly encourage you to check them out next time you pop to the shops.
This is perhaps a newer idea that I’ve seen floating around on social media.
The premise being that you donate any unwanted clothes in your wardrobe and swap them for the same amount worth of clothes that other people have donated.
A perfect opportunity to switch up your wardrobe, yet still being able to experience the buzz of adding and wearing new clothes. What you may longer want, other people may have been lusting after for years. Style is a constantly evolving medium, I for sure am luckily not wearing the same clothes as I did five years ago.
Yet the swap means that these clothes are not going into landfills, and instead have found good homes, to be worn for years to come.
For those clothes that may not be suitable for charity shops, perhaps too many wear and tares, instead of simply binning them, consider recycling them.
In a similar vain to the clothes swap, many high street shops are offering discounts for handing in any of your old clothes regardless of the brand or condition of the garments.
Here are a few stores that offer recycling incentives:
H&M– every time you donate a bag of textiles you receive £5 off your next purchase
Levi’s– handing in a bag of unwanted clothes gives you a 10% discount in store
& Other Stories– donating a bag gives you 10% off voucher, valid for three months
Zara – have collection points for unwanted clothes at selected stores
M&S– ‘Shwop Drop’ exchange boxes are collection points for Oxfam, that will reward you with Sparks points. Similarly if there is an M&S item in an Oxfam drop off, you can earn a £5 voucher