One of my worst fashion moments wasn’t turning up to a friends party wearing illuminous green and pink leg warmers, it was when I had a huge wardrobe clear out and realised how much money I had wasted on clothes I had barely worn. Even worse, I had to confront myself with how much waste I was adding to the planet.
It was in that moment that I decided buying fewer, better items is the way to go. This belief has only solidified itself over the years. What I discovered is that my narrowed down closet has allowed me to live more intentionally, compassionately and only wear items that I truly love; special investments instead of impulsive purchases. Long gone are the days of trying to squeeze everything in to my tiny wardrobe, no money in my bank account, and struggling to find something to wear in the morning (you know what I’m talking about.)Whats better is that it is actually a lot easier than you think.
Conscious consumerism and finding true happiness with your wardrobe is all about being mindful. Owning the closet of your dreams isn’t some made up fantasy that only Cinderella get’s to own. You too can have a closet that’s full of stuff you actually adore and want to wear. Moreover, you will be saving money, lessening your environmental impact, and reducing the stress of having to decide what to wear. It’s a scenario in which everyone wins (except for maybe fast fashion—but that monster has to die!)
Here are nine questions you can ask yourself before adding something new to your wardrobe…
Is this piece trendy or timeless?
When it comes to becoming a conscious consumer or even simply finding your own personal style, it is highly important to understand the difference between what is timeless and what is trendy. There is a very stark difference between fashion and style. Whilst fashion is all about trends and often stems from a fear of control or judgement. Style is defined by individuality and should be your leading guide before purchasing any new clothes. When you are following trends you are not actually buying for yourself but rather for someone else. This is certainly not going to lead to you being happy with your wardrobe and will most likely result in having bags full of wasted clothes you shouldn’t have bought in the first place.
Whilst timeless style is often defined by classic cuts that test the stands of time against the fashion industry. (think the little black dress, trench coats and striped tops.) This is not quite painting the whole picture. When I imply looking at timeless style, I am really suggesting about personal timelessness. By this I mean that you should try and look for something that is timeless to you and no one else. Once you have defined your own personal style, this should be like a walk in Nottinghill; easy and pleasant. You will have a strong idea of what you like and don’t like and the things you know you will repeatedly for years to come. A.K.A your timeless style.
Will I regret not buying it?
If am really on the fence about an item and finding that my curse of indecisiveness is beginning to trifle. I simply ask myself if I will regret not purchasing the item. It may seem a little dramatic for a non-fashion enthusiast. However, I know that if personally regret an item afterwards, it was because it was the perfect piece I was probably searching for.
This also helps to avoid impulse purchases that result in one wear before it goes to the back of your wardrobe for an eternity before donating it to charity.
How many outfits can I put together with this one piece?
Unless you are starting your wardrobe from scratch, ( like I have had to do after loosing a lot of weight) you really need to consider how many outfits you can picture with the existing clothes you own. The worst thing is purchasing something and then realising you have started to burn a whole through your purse as you now have to buy additional pieces to make it work.
I’ve certainly been guilty of this when I have tried to push myself into a new style direction that I admired but didn’t feel right for myself. At this point I had already found my personal style but I was trying to be someone else. Therefore, this is a really great question to keep your personal style in check. In addition, it allows you to think of how an item of clothing fits in to your overall aesthetic.
If you already have ten variations or can’t think of a clear role for the item you are considering buying, leave it on the rack.
Is it a wardrobe staple?
I personally love to view my clothes as investments. Although it wouldn’t be possible to have a wardrobe consisting of only staple pieces, I believe that this should make up the bulk of your clothing collection. As such, I find that it is helpful to ask myself if the piece I am lusting over will fill a gap in my wardrobe or only add to an already overrepresented area. For instance, regardless of owning 4 charming white shirts, the last thing I need is another one.
Does it fit well?
When I was in a total slump with my figure, I found myself purchasing clothes that I titled “motivational ware”. In other words it was clothes that I liked but didn’t fit me yet. Not only was this detrimental towards any attempts to create a positive body image, it resulted in having loads of clothes I would never wear. After I did finally obtain a healthy lifestyle and drop a few sizes, the clothes ended up being too big! In addition, my whole outlook towards life and myself was completely different which meant that I disliked all the clothes I had once picked out for myself.
Therefore, I often ask myself if the item in question fits me well now. Not when I’m at my goal size. Moreover, I question if i genuinely like how it looks on my body. If there is any hesitation, I don’t buy it.
Is it well made?
It is important to examine your garment. Particularly from the inside—evaluating the seams, the cut, the fabric, etc. This is because assessing craftsmanship will help you understand the durability of the garment. If you love the piece, you want it to last. Moreover, regardless of how much you’re paying for your clothes, they certainly shouldn’t be falling apart after one wear!
This also applies to jewellery, too. I have unfortunately, previously purchased several pieces I loved but rusted and discoloured very quickly. They could only be worn a few times before they were completely unwearable and ended up in the bin. Not nice.
Does it work with my lifestyle?
I really cannot stress this enough. Considering your lifestyle is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when consciously consuming.
As some of you have titled me a ‘fairytale blogger’ you will know how much I adore a princess dress. However trying to get to work on the London underground during the morning rush hour is beyond ludicrous. No matter how pretty I may feel the practicality of this is a joke.
When assessing an item you love, I suggest to imagine possible events that typically happen during your life—dinner dates, picnic in the park, important coffee shop meeting. This will help you decide if you would put the item to good use or if it is something you will consistently admire but never have an occasion to wear it.
Is buying this piece the best use of my budget, or would a different item make a bigger impact on my wardrobe right now?
Impulse purchasing can be so tempting. You see something you love, you get it! You feel great about your new purchase but later on you remember that you actually need to replace a huge staple in your wardrobe. Except you’ve spent that money already on something else. This can end up in a spiral of purchasing things over others you actually really need. Simply put; Prioritise before you buy.
Do I want to buy this because it’s on sale or I need a pick-me-up?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but retail therapy isn’t something to laugh about. It may seem harmless to joke on how you’re always spending to make yourself feel better but really you are just compensating for something instead of addressing the deeper issue. Whilst shopping should certainly be an enjoyable experience, getting a buzz from impulse purchasing or over spending can be quite troublesome. We need to start treating shopping as a real addiction. As with any addiction, it can lead you into a lot of debt. However, spending for a quick ‘pick-me-up’ isn’t as innocent as you may initially believe. Our mass consumption is creating devastating effects to our planet and it is something we can no longer afford to ignore.
Similarly, purchasing something just because it’s on sale is just as detrimental to your home, your purse and the planet. You are not saving darling, you are spending. Those alluring red sale signs are a clever illusion made to trick you into thinking you are making a great bargain. The sad reality is most of the things we buy on sale, we would never even look twice at if it were marked full price. You purchases should be made with rational thought not emotional impulse.
Buy it because you need it and it works with your wardrobe. Not because it’s on sale.