Photo Credit: Neosha Gardner/CreateHerStock
Microbags, silk scarves, the color pistachio, and statement jackets are among some of the fashion elements that made their way from the runway to our wish lists. Before you head to the mall and contribute to the second largest polluting industry in the world, try taking these steps to help yourself become a more conscious shopper.
Make Yourself Aware
We all have our favorite brands and they become our favorite for a number of reasons. Some companies just seem to produce clothes that fit your style, while some just actually fit your body better. Whatever the reasons, you should take some time to find out more about your favorite stores. Initiatives to move sustainability measures forward are ushered in by regular people taking action and holding companies to higher standards. If you notice that a place you regularly shop at has poor practices, you can use your voice to ask them to consider making changes or your leverage as a consumer and find alternatives from more sustainable brands.
Master the Art of Thrifting
Thrifting for new clothes is an excellent way to shop when you’re looking to add to your collection of clothing. Thrifters describe a certain thrill that comes with finding the exact item they were looking for. Sometimes it can seem daunting to take on the racks, unsure of what they hold or how long it will take before making that thrilling discovery. This may require devoting some time to find the right fit or styles, but so can a trip to the mall with so many different stores at your disposal.
Being able to thrift online is a game-changer. Now when you’re looking for a particular on-trend item, like the silk scarf for instance, you can save yourself the time it might take to go from thrift store to thrift store, searching for that one item, hoping someone has donated it. It’s as simple as typing “silk scarf” into a search bar. Secondhand sites like thredUP make it even easier to get what you’re looking for by allowing you to filter for your favorite brands. For those that are more inclined to sport designer labels, you’re also in luck. Known for their iconic handbags and accessories, you may decide to search for secondhand Coach and get this runway look for much cheaper.
Raid Your Parents’ Wardrobe
Choose a decade and you’re likely to find something from that era that’s considered fashionable today. Vintage clothing is making a huge comeback. Jean jackets, the classic Levi 501s, rock band tees, and the strong-shouldered blazer can be spotted all around. Chances are, your parents just might have something hidden in their closets they haven’t worn in years that is resurging in popularity. Maybe they’ve got a pistachio colored shirt from the 50s you could modernize with accessories and be on point with this season’s cool color trend.
Offer to help them clean out their closet, while at the same time shopping through their discards. Not only would you be helping them get organized, but you might just discover some free vintage gems. These styles have already been in circulation and if you can take clothes off your parents’ hands, you’re contributing to reducing demand for these styles, giving the items a longer life and keeping them out of a landfill.
Perhaps your parents had missed the trends back in the day, or their sizes don’t work for you. Another way people are avoiding the monotony of their own wardrobe is by arranging swaps with their friends. Whether it’s just you and one other friend or a whole group of people, this allows you to switch things up without going out and buying brand new pieces that you’ll wear for one season before they get cast aside. Doing a swap party can get more people involved and therefore, you can shop from more style and size options. Get together with some friends to brainstorm ideas for your swap party and soon your style rotation will include new to you clothing, saving you money and the environment.
Whatever your personal style is, there are a number of different ways you can get your hands on what you want without buying brand new clothing every season from retailers that continuously produce clothing without regard to their impact on our environment. When there are companies actively working to reduce these harmful practices it seems like the least we could do as consumers, to reward their ethos with our purchases. If their costs, driven up by more sustainable practices and materials, are unaffordable, give one of these other methods a try. Every little bit of effort counts.