I am really working hard to try and shop mindfully, but this time, with feeling. Ever since I discovered consignment shopping and thrifting, the taste of having to pay full price for something (even on sale) makes me think twice, because I just think:
I can buy X amount of clothes with that money in a thrift store!!
I have to really love it to want to buy it now, so I came up with some loose guidelines for myself that you might find helpful:
INITIAL QUESTIONS: NEED, LOVE, USE & WANT
- Do I need it?
- Can I wear it multiple times and in various ways?
- Do I love it?
- Will it last?
I think of why I want this piece, and generally this cuts out 40% of my purchases because I just want yet another striped shirt or striped item in my wardrobe full of striped things.
My other love is white or ivory pieces. Why? No idea.
If I see a piece, I think about whether or not it fills a gap in my wardrobe (e.g. black moto biker boots which as of writing this post I still have not yet found), and then I ask myself if I am able to really get a lot of use out of something so casual.
Naturally, then other things crop up like: Do I love it? Not “like it enough” but do I LOVE it, and of course, quality & manufacturing of the piece; not all designer pieces are worth their price tag.
LOVE WHAT YOU HAVE
I find this hard but it is actually not that hard if I am able to play in my wardrobe more, see right now everything is kind of crammed into one space and not properly organized.
I need more space (ideally a whole room, hah!) and I need time (double hah with a toddler) and the inclination to play around with outfits and get inspired.
KNOW YOUR LIFESTYLE & PERSONAL STYLE
You have to really commit to what you own and what you want to wear as an outfit and this is hard if I don’t really know my own style.
If you want to be more professional and bought more professional clothing for that new persona, then WEAR your professional clothes on a regular basis.
I finally realized that I am not a sweatpants person even lounging at home. As much as I love the idea of hoodies, sweatshirts, and all things cosy, unless it’s a cashmere sweater (oversized or not), I am not interested.
I really enjoy wearing NICE things that I could wear to work and even casually with some flats on the weekend.
THE FOUR R’S OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION & STYLE
I used to think it was Reduce / Reuse / Recycle, but I’ve come up with these 4 twists instead:
REFUSE TO BUY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE
Don’t buy it. Just don’t buy it. I should take my own advice more often but in the heat of the hunting moment (online or in-store) you think you might regret it, so you YOLO on your FOMO and you just buy it, only to regret it months or even days later, well past the return date.
REPAIR WHAT YOU ALREADY OWN
Bring things in to be tailored, bring up the hem on that too-long skirt, or shorten the sleeves on your otherwise perfect top or jacket.
You might think you picked up that top for only $40 at a store and it would cost $20 to tailor it to fit you perfectly, which is such a terrible waste of money, but it is a travesty to continue wearing a piece THAT YOU LOVE TO WEAR (regardless of price tag) and to continually be reminded of how much better it would be if you just had it nipped in or brought up.
RECYCLE YOUR PIECES INTO SOMETHING NEW (OR DONATE IT)
- Turn a top into a skirt
- Buy from thrift or consignment shops, my favourite shops in Toronto & Montreal
- Chop a dress in half and make a top and/or skirt out of it
- Change the buttons on a shirt or a jacket to something more deluxe
- Give it to someone to whom it’ll suit better (I do this often)
- Make bags out of it, or cute fabric pouches / purses
- Re-wear your big event clothes to other events (e.g. to more than one wedding & change the belt and/or accessories)
RENT (OR BORROW) IT INSTEAD
I have yet to rent items, but I am starting to see it as being a very sound piece of advice for things like black tie events or weddings. You don’t necessarily want to buy something new (OR DO YOU) each time you go to yet another wedding, but if you can wear a thousands-of-dollars piece for only $100, it doesn’t clutter up your closet and it looks fantastic.
The only caveat is you can’t tailor it to your body, you can’t keep it and you might feel sick having wasted that money.
The other option is to find another stylish friend who looks and fits like you in body type and ask to borrow a dress!!!