These days, fashion cycles are faster than ever. High fashion design houses are producing for at least seven “Seasons” including Winter, Resort, Spring, Summer, Pre-Fall, Fall and Holiday! Retailers are releasing new inventory at a record pace and online shopping allows companies to keep limited stock in-store, snuffing out the fail-safe step of trying things on. With fast fashion abound, consumers have to buy cheap or more often, becoming susceptible to trends, the chaos of steals & deals, and the purchase & return mentality. This is all a lot to consider when what we really want is a wardrobe that works for us so we can focus our lives on the things that are deeply meaningful.
The quality of accessible clothing has gone down. Gone are the days when clothing was mended and cared for and later re-imagined. Now you may find yourself collecting stuff that falls apart in the corners of your closet, or worse, sending them to the landfills. With all the options, choices, and constantly shifting trends, ordering online can lead us to become, Problem Shoppers. “Americans buy an average of 64 items of clothing a year, a little more than one piece of clothing per week. We are buying and hoarding roughly twenty billion garments per year, as a nation!”, according to the Annual Statistical Analysis for the U.S. Apparel and Footwear Industries. Hollywood even made a movie about it!
It’s important to hold ourselves accountable to our style goals, and also to our environment. Being fashionable requires more than a specific look or exhibiting a certain trend, it requires a mindfulness and responsibility to the beauty around us. Seeking out new ways to re-style and re-purpose your favorite things helps keep us inspired. So without further adieu, here are 8 simple practices that will help you become a more conscious shopper and increase the joy you find in what you already own…
1. Explore Your Local Consignment Stores.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping up with the trends. Knowing what’s hot is important if you’re interested in fashion. But knowing what will fit and flatter your body as well as your personality and pocket book makes you savvy. Once you are savvy, you will shop sales more strategically, know when to invest, find barely-used treasures in mint condition at Consignment Shops, and explore the world of Vintage with confidence.
2. Shop Your Mom’s Closet For Heirlooms.
Many of my clients come to me overwhelmed and uninspired having found themselves resorting to impulse buys and a wardrobe full of hand me downs or outdated items. My goal is to help them discover an authentic style that takes them through all the fads and seasons, and identify a well made piece of clothing. Fashion repeats itself, and you can bet your bottom dollar the one your Mom had way back when, is even cooler than its reproduction now. And who knows, she may have held onto it!
3. Avoid Dry Cleaning, Hand Wash At Home.
I seem to preach this one often, but it isn’t without good reason. Not only is it best for your clothes, but avoiding the harsh chemicals from the dry cleaner can benefit more than just your wardrobe and wallet. Most solvents used in the dry cleaning process contain carcinogenics which are highly toxic and can even contribute to smog levels when released into the air. Here’s a look back at the best ways to care for your needier garments at home.
4. Be Mindful Of “Free Shipping, Free Returns”
It sounds enticingly convenient to us but the “Shipped right to your door”, “Next day”, and “Hassle free” promises actually do come with a price. When you factor in the transportation, emissions and packaging materials it isn’t always environmentally conscious. “Consumers who buy online must order more than 25 items from one retailer, otherwise the impact on the environment is likely to be worse than traditional shopping,” according to Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Woah!
5. Make Friends With Your Neighborhood Tailor.
As your body changes, you can have your favorite garments altered. And not just for mending and sizing, chances are your tailor is no one trick pony. What could be more fun than re-imagining a garment into a totally new and unique reflection of your personal style. Tailors are often able to turn those pants into a skirt, those dresses into rompers and those skirts into pants! You may be surprised at what they’re capable of. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
6. Invest In Custom Made Clothing.
And when your tailor tells you it’s just not possible, visit a designer! You’ve long since dreamed up that perfectly-you piece made to fit your body, now go and make it a reality. It’s a truly one of a kind experience. I did it recently, and filled you in on all the details of the process here on the blog, check it out!
7. Create An Interchangeable Wardrobe.
When you simplify your wardrobe into key pieces that work well together you are less likely to be overwhelmed by choices, therefore triggering more creativity behind styling new looks out of fewer garments. Creating an interchangeable wardrobe makes for a harmonious experience when it comes to getting dressed. Fall in love with a piece at your local boutique, and if you find yourself thinking about it over the next several days, snatch it up quick! Investing in a statement piece or well made basic you want to wear every day will make economic sense in the long run.
8. Decide On A Prioritized Shopping List For The Season And Stick To It.
This goes hand and hand with number 7. Decide on the things you should reasonably invest in to round out the rest of your wardrobe and keep steadfast to your intention. In addition to helping clients create such a list, I educate them on all of the other things we touched on in this list. How to care for their clothing, where to shop to have a joyful experience, how to take advantage of sales in a strategic way, and how to build an interchangeable, simplified wardrobe is what I’m all about. (Want to learn more? Click here.)