I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for ages and it’s something I think about a lot. The culture of fast fashion is obviously a problem but it wasn’t until I was in the Instagram bubble that I realised how ingrained the idea of throwaway fashion really is. As we all become more aware of the human, social and environmental costs of this attitude to clothes, we all have a responsibility to change our habits. When did clothes become so disposable?
There is a place (and a need) for affordable clothing, but the throwaway attitude and massive consumption that it can lead to is problematic in so many ways. We all know this, (Buy less wear more, quality over quantity etc) it’s well documented so rather than talking about it in depth I wanted to come at this post from the angle of creating a wardrobe with staples you’re happy with! Hopefully saving some money in the process while doing a bit to contribute to a change in the cycle that has become so normalised. I’m far from perfect in this regard but I’m trying to shop more carefully and I’m happier now with my clothes than ever before.
A couple of years ago my attitude towards all of this completely changed. I was doing lots of clearouts, binning stuff, sending more to charity shops, buying a lot of stuff that I really liked at the time but I still often felt like I’d nothing to wear. So I decided to change the way I shopped and work towards a wardrobe I really love to wear.
- Stop Buying– The first thing I would suggest is to stop buying altogether in the short term. I really don’t think there’s any way to take stock of how excessive our spending habits have become untill we take a step back and look at it objectively. How much am I really buying? Being bombarded with ads all day long and now being able to see what other people have through social media has skewed the way we think. Comparing what you have to people who are in a completely different situation to you financially is not healthy. A reality check and excercising some impulse control is a really good start. Building things up slowly is like a foreign language when we’re so used to everything we want being accessible now.
- Ask yourself some questions Am I happy with my personal style? Do I get anything from what I buy beyond the thrill of actually buying it? Do I have difficulty incorporting new things I buy into my existing wardrobe. Do I find myself getting rid of a lot of clothes or only wearing things a handful of times? Which clothes do I get the most wear out of? What do I feel most confident wearing? Do I spend more money on something for a one off occasion (for example a wedding) than I do on stuff I would wear everyday? Answering some of these questions will give you a little bit of direction with where you want to take your style without all the influences and distractions from brands in your inbox and social media. We all have limits when it comes to space, financial contraints etc
- Establish your personal style– This is where Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr etc come in. Try to look past the person wearing the clothes. Some people just look good in everything and it might make you think it’s something you would like for yourself, but is it actually? There is no better way to get fashion inspiration than to see normal people style clothes you love really well. Do you ever see an image that you just think ‘yess!’ Save it, make a mood board whatever your thing is and block out the mountains of other stuff that comes your way every day but doesn’t excite you in the same way.
- Make lists– Based on the images you’ve saved, pick out any themes there might be ( for example you may have been drawn to pictures with white jeans) and make a list of things you want to add to your wardrobe that you think will elevate it for you. By that I mean, it goes with other things in your wardrobe, making getting dressed easier. Is it something you can see yourself wearing for a long time or might it be something you’ll get sick of .
- Search for the perfect one– Now that you have a specific item in mind don’t just impulse buy the first one that you think will do the trick. Think long term and take the time to find the best fit, style, and fabrics within your budget. The best one might even be the least exepensive. (avoiding fast fashion totally is unrealistic for most people but buying more carefully will probably lead to buying less) However If something is not within your budget consider saving towards it. If it is the one you love chances are the cost per wear will make it the smartest buy in the long term. Also create alerts to sales and look at the second hand market!
- As much as possible consider the opportunity cost of something. If I’m going in to a shop to get something and I end up with a basket full of stuff I just don’t need, that is money spent that could have been put towards something that (in the words of Marie Kondo) sparks joy!
1 Dress for yourself– Whatever makes you feel good. When you feel good you look good too. Confidence makes every outfit look better
2 Whatever you wear make sure it fits! I’ve talked about this before, but getting clothes altered to fit you is the single best way to make anything look and feel better. Making sure clothes fit and suit your body shape is, in my opinion a much better investment than buying yet another black blazer or pair or jeans you don’t need.
3 Send things back! Don’t be lazy about returning things you bought impulsively or doesn’t look as good at home as it did in the changing room.
4. Don’t buy anything solely based on price. If it doesn’t fit you (yet)!/ you don’t love it/ It’s uncomfortable don’t buy it because it’s 50% off. It’s a false economy and a complete waste of money.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of accessorizing! Belts, jewellery, scarves, hats and bags can transform outfits so much no one will notice you’re wearing you’re favourite jeans and jumper… again.
What to buy
Everyone has different tastes but there are a few things I love to have 1 good version of in my wardrobe (did that sentence make sense?) I’ll do a follow up post about my favourite things and go into it in more detail but for now things I can’t be without include…
A leather jacket, a wool blazer, a wrap coat, A faux fur coat, High waisted jeans in multiple washes, cashmere jumpers, a camel scarf, a great pair of boots, nude flat sandals for summer, basket bag/s, midi tea dress, midi skirt, One or two amazing tops to wear out at night ( I love the look of a luxe fabric like satin with jeans) Pair of comfy but pretty heels, white runners, straight leg trousers- 1 cropped, 1 long both to be dressed up or down, gold jewellery, a black belt.
I could go on but these are the things I wear the most often! It’s actually a really good idea to write down a similar list with things that you wear the most!