Follow these tips to be less prone to September’s fast fashion madness and to be more style- and money-savvy when shopping for an ethical wardrobe!
As someone who’s been buying eco-fair clothes exclusively for the last five years and as someone with a bit of an individual take on fashion, I’ve been asked many times to do outfit posts or at least to talk about clever shopping.
So let’s roll!
7 HABITS TO SPEND LESS MONEY ON SUSTAINABLE FASHION & HAVE MORE TO WEAR THAN EVER
You probably have heard of the main pillars of Eco-Fair & Slow Fashion:
- Buy less
- Care & repair
- Reuse or recycle
- Support genuine eco-fair companies
So you’ll know that if you’re an Eco-Fair Slow Fashionista, you:
- Have less toxin exposure (for example, GOTS-certified fabrics have no toxic dyes)
- Produce much less waste, potentially toxic
- Help keep the oceans clean (polyamide and polyester fabrics shed microplastics)
- Help break the vicious cycle of exploitation, over-consumption, and environmental pollution
“Yeah”, I hear you say, “but what’s in it for Me?”
- Well, less toxin exposure is good for starters, eh?
- Contributing to less environmental pollution is also a no-brainer, unless of course you have a spare planet with pristine unpolluted nature just for yourself
- But you’re also saving substantial amounts of money: eco-fair clothes hardly ever require dry cleaning and they do last you much longer – and because the investment is higher, chances are you’ll be more savvy choosing and have more fun wearing them
- And you have all the tools at hand to look better than ever and to never experience “got nothing to wear”
Let’s look at the two last promises, because we all know they matter a lot: money and style.
They say that you can’t buy style but they’re wrong. You can. If you have the coins, you can book a personal shopper and let them guide you. Basically, you walk in with your credit card, and you walk out with a rack filled with ready-to-wear outfits.
The cheaper version of this is pick a lesser known street style blogger that’s loosely your body type and has a style you like, and copy their outfits. However, if you don’t understand fashion and don’t understand why this blogger’s choices work for them, chances are you’ll look ridiculous.
The more sustainable way to “buying” style is to learn all you can about fashion business, about trends, about colours, about fabrics and fabrications, about manufacturing processes and much more. You need to learn about YOU. It sounds like a lot of work, it sounds nerdy, but if you want to stand out with great – and unique – style, you better be a connoisseur of the matter. Or have you ever heard of a wine connoisseur who can’t tell a Merlot from a Syrah? A classic car enthusiast who doesn’t know what Citroën DS is famous for? See.
So let’s look at a few empowering habits that will help you build a more sustainable, a more ethical wardrobe without wasting money. The same tips will also considerably upgrade your personal style!
1 Check fabric quality
Quality is defined by two main elements: the fabric itself and the quality of the processing. You want clothes that are washable, durable, pleasant to wear; quality dyes that don’t wear out quickly.
Cheap fabric and cheap dyes are really easy to spot, I think we intuitively can do that; also, quality clothes don’t stink, may this be your number one hint.
Style bonus: quality fabric contributes to a more chic, effortless look. Even a simple jeans and tee style can look luxurious if we’re talking 14.5 oz raw selvedge denim from organic cotton and heavy linen knit.
2 Check product quality
Another element that makes clothes durable and a pleasure to wear is workmanship quality – all seams are accurate and straight where they outta be; buttons are not loose; hems have proper seams; all details are attached in a precise and clean manner.
Style bonus: let’s stay with the denim and tee example. How accurate are the seams? Does the plain tee hold its shape? Does the simple cut have interesting details? Interesting basics never look old or boring, and you always have more fun experimenting with styling!
3 Fit on – for cut and fit
For a garment to become your favourite and statement piece, the style and the cut have to be original, at least to some extent, intelligent, comfortable and the garment has to fit you perfectly. Don’t buy anything that’s unintentionally too tight, short, loose, baggy, asymmetrical.
Style bonus: nobody gets to see more of you that they bargained for. Also, jokes aside, clothes that fit are a five star upgrade to the look.
4 Fit on – for colour and pattern
Finally, only buy clothes that make you look and feel good.
If the infamous little black dress or THE it-piece of the season simply doesn’t make you look like a million quid, it’s not you, it’s the garment!
If you haven’t paid attention yet, start noticing what suits you best: which shade of red, blue, grey etc. makes you look more radiant and healthy?
Style bonus: when you start looking for colours and patterns that look good on you, chances are good that more of your wardrobe will be mix-and-match-able!
Money bonus for all of the above: you don’t waste money on stuff you don’t feel like wearing anymore!
5 Take proper care
Study the labels on your clothes – they really tell you all you need to know. Don’t buy clothes that require dry cleaning, for it’s not eco-friendly, neither entirely free from toxins, and you have to ask yourself: why does the manufacturer need you to never bring their garments in contact with water? Will the garment lose its shape? Will the colours bleed?
Money bonus: your favourites last you much longer, age well and…
Style bonus: you look more put together.
6 Support a local sustainable brand or designer
Find a local brand or designer who creates sustainable fashion you love. Support their work by buying from them. Buy for yourself as well as gifts for family and friends!
This creates a much more intense feeling of being at the pulse of fashion than simply running into stores, and you are more likely to get quality pieces that last longer and look more special.
Plus, each Fash Rev day you’ll be able to tell everybody exactly who made your clothes!
Style bonus: interesting designs you are probably not likely to find elsewhere.
Money bonus: prices are likely quite competitive (although it has happened to me in the past that I suggested the designer marks ups – the prices were just too darn low).
7 Find a reliable tailor
Reworking an old machine-knit sweater into an off the shoulder may sound like a brainless DIY – but not everyone can do it right.
Also, it’s good to know you have a helper at hand to change a hem length or the waistline of an expensive dress that you’d otherwise have to give away.
Style bonus: personalise till you drop!
Money bonus: expensive pieces don’t go to waste.