Nine months ago I was in the process of updating my wardrobe due to lifestyle changes. I found myself buying too many items because they were on sale or I ‘had’ to have them. Now I’ve trained in colour and style, and joined an online style forum. My wardrobe has shrunk and so has my spending but I have more to wear. I feel more in control and much less tempted to spend time online ‘looking’ at clothes.
Impulse buying is yet another harmful effect of ‘fast’ fashion…along with sweated labour, appalling working conditions and being the second largest polluter the fast/disposable fashion industry has resulted in many women buying six items a month and wearing something only seven times….A recent Greenpeace report ‘After the Binge – the Hangover’ studying fashion shopping in Germany, China, Italy, Taiwan and Hong Kong concluded that the clothing consumer was “restless, compulsive and unfulfilled.” because the ‘quick fix’ offered by buying cheap fashion does not last and shoppers can become trapped in a cycle of excitement, regret and guilt.
Compulsive spending can become a real addiction – but that’s not what I’m discussing here; if your shopping has led to debts, relationship problems and is affecting your life then you need to seek professional help. I’m talking about impulse buying and ways to curb it and perhaps re-direct your clothes budget.
This is what I’ve found helpful:
- I set myself a monthly budget and write down my clothes expenditure with no cheating. If I sell something at a dress agency/consignment shop that’s a credit!
- I’ve built a more coordinated wardrobe so everything works together. Not quite a ‘capsule’ – I have about 50 or so items but it’s a lot more functional than before.
- In the front of the same notebook I have a shopping list for clothes and every few months I refresh a ‘style file'[ of pictures and ideas I like.
- I aim to buy a maximum of three items a month – one good quality piece and two secondhand items from the amazing charity shop where I volunteer.
- I press the ‘pause’ button. If it’s online I wait 24 hours – if it’s in a shop I go and have a coffee and think about it – even if it’s a charity shop!
- I really think about it – check for fit, style colour and will it go with at least 3 other items in my wardrobe.
- I ask myself it would fit well in my style file. Do I love it? If it’s OK the answer’s no.
- Each season I do a wardrobe check, looking for things that need replacing and where there are gaps and duplicates. I donate items that don’t fit any more (was I ever really a size 10?) or take them for alteration.
- IF I buy something I donate something so my wardrobe doesn’t expand too much.
- Finally – and most importantly I have FUN and experiment. If I think I need something I ‘shop my wardrobe’ first to see if there are creative ways of mixing up what I have with different accessories.
I love clothes and I love shopping but I’m semi-retired and on a budget so I cqan’t afford a lot of the ‘eco’ slow fashion brands. So buying less, buying vintage and second-hand makes a small contribution to cutting down on harming the planet and I feel so much better about my choices.
Does this ring a chord with you? I’d love feedback!