In Discussions, Shop Quality Series, Shopping, Style, Women

How I feel about fast fashion (now)…as a previously avid consumer

Fast fashion was something I truly lived on for pretty much most of my life until about a few years ago when I started to get more into consignment shopping, thrifting and the like.

When I was younger…

I lived on it. I had a diet of fast fashion. If you could have seen my closet back then versus now, it was full of regrettable polyester, cheap fabrics, terrible cuts..

I thought I needed quantity, and that is what I went for. LOTS OF QUANTITY.

I think I was never a size 0. I just thought I was because I didn’t know how clothes were supposed to fit. If I had been honest with myself, I was probably more a size 4 back then, and now a size 6 creeping to an 8 depending on how loose I want my fits.

My closet when I was younger, was terrible. Truly, horrific. Very flammable, I’d say.

I have not a single piece save for my Jacob tweed skirt & pant suit, and this Urban Outfitters tank top with a vintage scarf print on it, that I have kept from those days.

I still wear this scarf print tank, and the suit is only for when I have to go to interviews in person. It still fits just for the interview, and then I never wear it again because I loathe matchy-matchy suits for daily wear.

Then I got older. I had more money to spend, and I started tasting luxury items, which turned on a light bulb in my head.

Fast fashion, has lost all of its appeal for me

How so?


Here are a few reasons why fast fashion is not my thing any more:

After a few washes, it looks terrible because all the chemicals they put on there to make it look sleek, chic and shiny on the hanger in the store, washes off or worse, ruins the clothing with the colours bleeding, and you’re out $30 or whatever.

The drape doesn’t look great. It just doesn’t. Compared to more natural fabrics (no polyester, more cotton/wool/silk/linen), the look of these shiny fabrics just doesn’t sit right.

A beautifully cut pair of pants, looks incredible. A facsimile of that in a cheaper polyester fabric version, doesn’t drape as well because it isn’t as thick, the weave is not as supple, and they don’t think about proper LININGS (white pants with no lining? UGH.)

These white pants – if they were thin, shiny and polyester, they MAY look the same in photos, but the feel, the drape, and the way they would make you feel is a whole other story.

I need to now FEEL like a boss too, and I can’t in cheap clothes, I have felt the difference in quality and I am hooked on higher-end stuff now.

Very little of fast fashion passes any muster for me these days and right now it is limited to jeans. I am seeing them improve the quality in jeans at places like H&M, but it is still only 75% the quality of a REALLY good pair from designer, luxe jean brands.

I also don’t really subscribe to having to follow trends or change what I wear because the fashion waters are deciding that harem pants or frills are back.

I wear what I know I like, and what looks good on me. I tweak that style and evolve from year to year, but it doesn’t really veer too far these days, from the core looks I enjoy.

Some days, I may have a leather jacket on with ripped jeans and boots, and then the next day I am in high heeled booties with a formfitting ruched dress.

There are no style rules for me to follow any longer except for the ones I set for myself.

I know certain cuts or styles don’t look good on me – high cut necks (turtlenecks are okay though like the one below as long as it is in a good fabric and not too thin), racer backs or racer fronts, too many frills or ruffles, too billowy or loose items without a belt, or anything too sausage-y tight or short.

I just don’t feel comfortable and it shows.

These days…secondhand is queen

This year, I have pretty much turned off the faucet on not just fast fashion but retailing fashion, as in, I will not buy anything new from the stores when it comes to clothing, accessories, shoes, or style in general.

Secondhand is cheaper, hands down.

Cheaper?

In a better quality?

In a great brand that has better resale value than Zara or H&M?

How could I say no?

To be honest, I don’t NEED it. I only WANT it, and honestly, should I be clogging up my closet with more items when it is already full, varied and wonderful as it is?

I can literally shop my closet, and that’s what I have been doing lately. I come up with new looks like this one of a re-purposed top from a designer Erdem too-small dress I chopped up, over a maxi dress:

A reader mentioned this to me in a comment a year ago – that I was only really fooling myself if I wanted to do little bans like a budget for only $200 a month, or only secondhand or thrifted items, and she was completely right.

I basically have to go cold turkey, but the real push for me was to go cold turkey on retail.

It is much harder to find exactly your style, brand, colour, cut and fit secondhand, in very good to new condition, than it is to just buy it off the rack.

It is also really difficult to find unique pieces that speak to you, secondhand. It’s not like you can just buy it at retail – I can find plenty of things I want within 20 minutes that are unique and amazing, if money is no object.

I still love to shop… but within a box!

My feelings towards shopping have not changed one iota. I still love it – the rush, the hunting, the biological need in me to conquer the sale rack – but it has been redirected instead of chopped off completely, to secondhand shopping.

With an instituted budget of $200 for fun money (includes eating out and my beloved massages), I am also not shopping secondhand wildly, just picking up whatever I want at any price I want. I could shop secondhand and spend thousands, to be honest.

The trick is to let myself shop, but within very, very, tight, constrained boxes, and so far it is working.

I am seriously putting LIKES on all the things I want in Poshmark (use code¬†SHERRYISH for $15 credit), but as I go through them, I unlike what I don’t think I’ll wear or get much use out of, and unlike anything that I feel is already too much like what I own.

I make the pieces I would like to buy, battle other pieces in my wardrobe, and as a result, I am very VERY slowly being pickier and pickier.

I used up all of my Posh credits on this one necklace in one shot:

It is just beyond anything I could find in a store, or in-person frankly.

It was a commissioned piece by an Indonesian jeweller for something that never went into production. It is truly a sample piece and unique – DING DING DING! It basically sang to me. I had to have it and I was very happy to hand over all of my hard earned credits for it, having waited so long to find a piece like this.

Fast fashion for me, is my old mindset

And it was fine. I had no money, I wanted style which I equated with LOTS OF CLOTHES in various colours and styles, and that’s what I got.

It was the only way I could wear cute clothes because WHO HAS THAT KIND OF MONEY AS A STUDENT.


These days? I am far more discerning and smarter as a consumer because I can afford it. It’s a privilege, really. But even if you don’t have a ton of money, it is better to save up and buy a better quality item used than to buy something crappy that’s new.

Fast fashion no longer fits into my life, let alone retail.

I am actively against it personally, and I talk myself blue in the face about how it really isn’t doing us any favours – quantity is not worth it if you own 5 dresses that makes you feel okay, when you could have used that on a SINGLE dress that makes you feel phenomenal.

Quality is the key factor for my shopping now.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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