Sustainable Shopping | Clothes

Sustainable shopping has been on my mind a lot lately. Anyone who knows me knows I use to have a tendency to buy a lot of fast fashion, never get round to wearing it and throw it out two years later with the tags still attached to the garment. I can feel your dagger-looks and hear your huffs of anger from here. I think my routine of doing this was rooted from my upbringing and local environment. Growing up in a single-parent household, we never had a lot of spending money for the new clothes or ‘niceties‘. Through secondary school I got used to saving what pocket money I had and spending it in Primark with my friends at the weekend.

Now being older, and a little wiser, I’m aware of the impact a lot of industries are having on our planet – one of them being the fashion industry. We consume a vast amount of clothes which we probably don’t wear more than a handful of times. The items find themselves in landfills and we move onto the next.

For the past four or five years – or ever since I started reading Peppermint magazine – sustainable shopping has constantly played on my mind. It’s always there niggling in my brain as I hand over my debit card as well as when I get home with those bags of shopping laid out in front of me. Because of how this issue has played on my mind, I have got myself into the healthy habit of thinking about some of the things below when shopping:

Shop your wardrobe

Before shopping for new items, I like to take some time really analysing what I already own. I ask myself which pieces do I wear the most? Which do I feel drawn to? and then ask myself why? I analyse the cut and fit of it, the tones and textures, its’ versatility, etc. I like to do this not only to remind myself of what I own, but also to remind myself of the items I feel comfortable in and the shapes and cuts which truly suit my body. By doing this, I also remind myself of the ‘winners’ in my wardrobe. The pieces I wear once a week which go with anything and everything, and will no doubt still be in my wardrobe in a decades time.

Find your base colours

Sticking to neutral base colours for your wardrobe can help the longevity of your clothes as well as make them coexist with other items perfectly. I consider base colours to be the neutrals, so that is your black, grey, white, linen white, navy, brown, and olive tones. A great way to establish your base notes, as I call them, is by standing in front of a mirror and assessing how they suit you. Note how they make your eyes and skin glow, or does it wash you out? See if it suits your hair colour, etc but also see if you are drawn to it. Be open-minded, sometimes the colours we are drawn to do not align with what we feel comfortable in or do not physically suit us. I find that Black is a great colour because it goes with anything however, it can also be too harsh on my skin tone and sometimes appears to wash me out if I’m not careful.

Some people like to choose two of these tones, one for Summer and one for Winter however, I like having three and for me that is black, grey and navy (sometimes). I sometimes step over the line and don some olive or khaki tones, purely because I feel drawn to earthy tones and it compliments my complexion, eyes and hair colour so well. It is also worth noting that these base notes may change over time, either due to age or simply because you changed your hair colour.

Alter and Adjust

I never used to think of altering garments – I know, I’m stupid – but since making even the slightest alterations, like pinning the strap of a top, I have noticed the world of difference it makes to the fit of an outfit. Further more, even altering hemlines or the fit of an item can give it an entirely new lease of life. I know some things are beyond repair and just simply no longer work for our bodies however, whenever you can – I think adjusting items is a great option.

Add Accessories

When entering a new season, or even if you have an event coming up, don’t feel compelled to buy new clothes instead look in the accessory section. Adding a statement necklace, bold earrings or even minimal bracelet can completely change an ensemble. It is often too easy to keep adding clothes to your wardrobe – instead play dress up in front of your mirror, dabbling with different accessories and if you really feel the need to freshen things up, head to the accessory area first!

Invest in quality pieces

It is quality over quantity always! Although things can often seem pricey at first glance, in my opinion it is far better to spend a lot of money on something well made than a lot of items that are cheap and will become worn out faster. This is often the case with fast fashion so I think it is better to establish what you need and what you want, write a list of these items and spend some time looking around before buying. Really mull over each purchase and question if it is a quality product that will still be in your wardrobe in 5-10 years.

So those are just a handful of the things I like to think about and address when contemplating whether or not I want to add items to my wardrobe. I think it is really important to stop and think before you buy, and with a few little pointers, it can make the world of difference to your lifestyle and wardrobe.

Do you have any tips or tricks you use?

Cheerio for now! 

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