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As lockdown restrictions have eased, the temptation to buy a whole new ‘post-corona’ wardrobe is tempting. We have stayed in our sweat on our sofas for over a year – the idea of seeing family and friends in public, non-socially distanced settings is exciting! But as we begin to venture out into the real world, beware of shopping impulsively out of understandable excitement. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before reviving your wardrobe this season.
1. Where can I wear it?
The average garment is only worn 7 times before it’s tossed in a landfill. Are you dedicated to wearing this piece more than that? You know your dressing habits, so would this be an everyday piece for you? Avoid purchasing clothes for one specific event like one fancy dinner, exciting first date, or important business meeting.
If you need something formal, see if it can be dressed down afterward for the main event. For example, a long sleek silk dress can also be worn with a jacket and sneakers. On the other hand, a floor-length tulle ball gown probably wouldn’t be as easy to pull off in a more casual setting!
2. How Does It Need To Be Washed/Iron?
While the washing label on an article is clothing is arguably the last thing you want to study when shopping – do not neglect to find out how something needs to be washed before you buy it! We generally recommend avoiding garments that need to be dry cleaned – especially if it’s a lighter color that tends to look dirty easily.
If you aren’t a big ironer, we also recommend steering clear of fabrics that crease easily, like rayon or linen. This is also a good opportunity to remind you that you don’t need to wash your clothes every time you wear them! See if they are dirty- if they aren’t, give them another wear or two before chucking them in the machine!
3. Is it season transferrable?
Generally, you should be able to wear the same clothes during both spring and summer. The same goes with your clothes for autumn and winter. The key is to be able to mesh the two groups of seasons together to create the ultimate versatile closet. Does your garment contribute to this kind of closet?
This doesn’t mean you have to wear your bikini in the middle of winter. Much like when considering where a garment can be worn, a piece of clothing should have the potential to be layered or stripped to suit a plethora of weatherly needs.
4. Have I thought about this purchase?
Millennials are 52 percent more likely to make an impulsive purchase than any other generation. Impulsive shopping is thrilling. The rush you get when you go into a shop, see something you ‘like,’ and buy it is certainly exhilarating- but making more calculated purchases is smarter for your wallet and the environment. Have you been wanting this for a while? Or did you just want it when you saw it?
5. Where is it from/who made it?
The fashion industry and ethical labor rarely go hand-in-hand. Currently, 2 percent of garment workers worldwide are paid living wages. That is ridiculous! It is up to the consumer (you) to vote with your dollar on what kinds of labor laws and working conditions you think are acceptable by purchasing garments that were made by companies that respect their employees.
The “lack of support to meet ethical standards” by fashion companies puts pressure on the factories and their workers to produce as quickly and cheaply as possible. This results in horrible working conditions, wages, job insecurity, wage theft, abuse, and general mistreatment.
If a brand can constantly put out a ton of new designs at incredibly low prices, chances are their clothing isn’t made ethically, and you should steer clear of purchasing from them.
6. Can I buy it thrifted?
Most of the time, the answer to this is yes! In the day of the internet, almost everything can be found online. eBay, Depop, Vinted, Vestiaire, The Realreal, and Poshmark are all great examples of places to check before buying a new piece. Why spend your money on something brand new that was cheaply made rather than on a higher-quality piece that’s been worn a few times? Besides, the satisfaction of finding an awesome piece for a good deal far outweighs buying from a fast fashion store!
7. Is this just a trend?
When did you first start seeing this style floating around? If you have a clear answer to that question, it’s probably a trend. Keep in mind that fashion bloggers are sent a lot of their clothes by brands, so seeing your favorite bloggers with the same style purse or shade of purple probably means they all got similar PR. Just because they wear it for free doesn’t mean you should spend your money on it.
8. Do I have several things that can go with it in my closet?
Never just buy something for one outfit. Super-specific or loud prints and textures are good examples of things to be wary of buying. If a dress only goes with one pair of shoes or one jacket, you probably should think about getting something else. On the other hand, if you love outfit-repeating, go for it!
9. Do I need it/can I live without it?
Will this purchase genuinely make your life better? Buying just for fun versus out of necessity dictates how much you will probably wear it. Buying Jeans because all your others are too worn out is very different from getting a top because it’s ‘cute’. This goes back to impulsivity and considering a purchase before biting the bullet.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fashion. It just means you care about making your fashion choices a little more sustainable and mindful.
10. Can I Give Something Away?
Some people like having a lot of clothes – that’s fine. But you can only wear so many clothes in a lifetime. Having a one-in-one-out policy will keep you mindful of how many clothes you have at one time and make you appreciate what you own rather than what you want to own. If you have a few tops you haven’t worn yet and don’t want to part ways with, do you need another one? Get well acquainted with your closet before throwing new pieces into the mix!
At The End of the Day
Purchases have ethical and environmental consequences. We all love to shop- but think before you spend time and money on temporary trends and badly sewn garments. Most importantly, love the clothes you own. We’re sure you have good taste!
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!