Hey, everyone. Remember when I shared my list of resolutions a month ago? I wanted to stop shopping at fast fashion places and guess what? Last week, I picked up a new sweater from Bershka and this dress from Forever 21. At first, I was so mad at myself for breaking my resolution so quickly in the year. But even though I caved, my perspective and attitudes on shopping, in general, have changed more drastically now than ever before. So yes, I bought two new things. But they are things that I know I will wear and cherish for plenty of years to come. I’m not saying that shopping at fast fashion stores is a good move – it’s really not, which is why I felt bad. The main point that I’m trying to drive home with this post is that the first step to living a more sustainable life is mindfulness. While I haven’t quit fast fashion quite yet, I now have a set of strict guidelines that I follow every time I shop, no matter the retailer. Here’s how to shop more mindfully and sustainably:
1. Pick a color palette for your wardrobe and stick to it.
This is probably the most revolutionary thing I’ve come to realize recently. I used to buy a lot of dope pieces only to find that they wouldn’t really match the rest of my closet. Ask yourself, do I wear a lot of this color? Do I have pieces already that would match this color? Personally, I’m sticking to black, white, grey, and shades of red, yellow, and green. I decided on this palette because all of those colors look equally good with blue jeans and black jeans. If I buy a top in any of those colors, I know I can wear any of my jeans and skirts with it. This definitely helps me minimize my purchases – pretty colors are fun but not always practical. My new dress is red and my new sweater is black and white, so they match everything I already own.
2. Think hard about which trends you want to buy into.
Is this item really gonna be cool a few months from now? A year from now? To cut down on waste and spending money, shopping for certain trends may not be the best move. However, some trends, like the leopard trend and color-specific trends, aren’t necessarily something to rule out. Classic patterns like polka dots, leopard, houndstooth, and stripes may come into the spotlight as “trends” now and again, but truthfully, those patterns never go out of style. Same thing with a certain color. Sure, coral might be having a moment now because it’s the Pantone Color of the Year, but is coral ever gonna be deemed uncool? Probably not. Consider the trend’s potential longevity before you buy.
3. Calculate the cost-per-wear of each item in your cart.
Really think about how many times you are going to wear what you’re buying. Are you just going to wear something once or are you looking to make something part of your regular wardrobe rotation? If you don’t think you’ll wear it enough times to justify how much it costs, it’s a waste. For example, for the dress I bought, I knew I could layer it over long sleeve tees in the winter and wear it solo in the summer. Because I can wear it year-round, the cost-per-wear is very low.
4. Pay attention to the fabric and construction of each piece you buy.
Both the dress and sweater I bought are made of sturdy fabrics that won’t rip or tear. A lot of fast fashion sites sell blouses and dresses made out of super thin material that can be easily damaged. Stick to thick cotton and more structured pieces that won’t get ruined to build a long-lasting wardrobe.
5. Shop in person rather than online when possible.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever thrown in a bunch of random shit you didn’t really need or want to meet the free shipping minimum on an online order! 🙋🏻♀️ I feel like most of you would probably raise your hand. It’s incredibly easy to impulse buy and make mindless purchases online because of shipping minimums. Shopping in person can help you minimize what you buy and it’s always better to see everything in person anyway!
Instead of totally beating myself up for fast fashion shopping, I’ve allowed myself to be proud of just how far I’ve come as a consumer. I used to just mindlessly shop and would end up buying things I would never wear or only wear once for a ‘gram shot. I still have a long way to go in terms of living a sustainable lifestyle, but these five guidelines are putting me on the right track. Here’s to saving money and waste for years to come!
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Do you shop at fast fashion retailers? Are you overspending? Do you have a ton of clutter and clothes that never get worn because they’re “hard to wear?” I really hope you guys enjoyed these tips on how to shop more mindfully and sustainably. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to start a discussion on this topic.
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