Remember back in the olden days when clothing would last forever and people would darn socks?
Now you can stay on top of the trends at a fraction of the price, shopping discount retailers and door-busting sales. If that cute skirt’s not-so cute next year? Toss it in the Goodwill pile! Did that “must-have” sweater start pilling up? Chuck it in the trash! Hell, it was only $15!
I could go on and on about what the fast fashion industry is doing to our planet, but I’ll spare you the gross details and just wait here while you google it (keywords: fast fashion environment). You came here for solutions! So here we go:
- Buy Used: Sure, there are things you won’t want to get used (ahem, probably undies for one), but if there’s something specific you’re looking for, say, a black cashmere sweater, why not check out used options first? (I just found two super cute jean skirts at my local Savers.) But if you don’t like scouring the local thrift shops, there are so many online options that make buying second hand second nature, like eBay, ThredUP, Swap, and Poshmark. For more fancy-pants designer brands try your local consignment shops or online places like The RealReal, Tradesy, Material World, or Le Prix. Love yourself some vintage duds? Try eBay, Asos Marketplace, and Refashioner. And dudes, you can buy pre-owned and still look like a baller with Grailed. If you’re big Instagram fan, try Depop or Noihsaf Bazaar. Don’t forget to check return policies.
- Buy Responsibly: Get the heebie-jeebies from wearing a stranger’s cast-offs? Can’t ever find the size you need at the thrift store? If you can swing it ($$), try buying your clothing from more socially responsible places. Need a few ideas? Here’s a few: Patagonia, Alternative Apparel, Blue Sky, Pact Apparel, G-Star RAW, and Yoga Democracy. (Leggings made from plastic water bottles? Yes please!)
- Host a Clothing Swap: Invite a few friends (and their clothing cast-offs). Make sure there’s a designated changing room. Decide if you want it to be “clothing only” or you’re up for swapping household items, decorations and used toiletries too. Make it as easy or as complicated as you want: Serve wine and cheese, or do like I did once and bring a bag full of clothes when you meet friends for coffee and do a parking lot swap. Donate anything left over.
- Put it on Virtual Hold: Next time you’re filling your online shopping cart with impulse buys, pause, take a breath, then sleep on it. The next morning evaluate the items you have in said shopping cart. I’m guessing you won’t buy half of them.
- Get it Fixed!: When’s the last time you got shoes repaired? Pants hemmed? A waist line taken in (or taken out)? I’ll admit I’m kinda lazy (and cheap) about those kind of things. But two years ago, the sole came detached from a pair of my well-loved boots I wore for over 10 years. They sat in my closet sole-less for over a year until I finally decided to take them to a shoe repair shop. Guess what! I’m wearing them all the time again. Totally worth the $20 or whatever I paid to get them fixed. I also had this comfy pair of brown corduroys that I bought from J. Crew a while back. I loved them. Only problem was, they were way too long and since they are wide-legged, they wouldn’t hold a cuff. In the winter they would drag through the salty slush causing bleaching around the hem. Finally, (I don’t know how many years later) I got those puppies hemmed (a mere $12 from a local lady) and they’re back in my fall/winter rotation. I know, inspiring stories right? Give your fashion a second chance!
- Create a Capsule Wardrobe: When I met my husband, he would always wear the same thing: a plain white t-shirt and jeans. He called it his uniform. And while he has since expanded his wardrobe beyond his uniform, he may have been on to something. Steve Jobs was known for always wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. Same with Mark Zuckerberg (although is trademark shirt is usually more of a dark gray). I mean, think about it: How much of what’s in your closet do you really wear? If you’re like me, you probably find yourself reaching for your same favorite pair of jeans and shirt day after day. Which is why I love, love, love the idea of the capsule wardrobe. If you haven’t heard, a capsule wardrobe is a small selection of quality wardrobe pieces that you mix and match. But as much as I love the idea, I can’t seem to commit the pieces that would make up my capsule wardrobe. But I bet you’d be good at it! Give it a try and report back with your tips. Maybe this or this or this will help.
I get it. We all feel great when we look great—and getting new clothes is fun. I’m not asking you to go naked or swear off EVER buying clothes. Baby steps, people! Just try one or two of the ideas above on for size and see how they feel. I have a feeling you’ll find a perfect fit.