So, I've Changed My Shopping Habits...
I'm not writing this as a running leap onto a bandwagon, but as a stumbling contribution to the conversation which is currently happening in the online and 'influencer' world right now - sustainability. I've spoken before about hyped items and haul culture, so the fact that this trend has taken somewhat of a nosedive isn't something that surprises me. It is in itself unsustainable. Of course this is only a microcosm of individuals who are promoting this change, but we cannot deny the impact people in the industry have on a larger group of people. So, this shift to being more socially and ecologically aware of the impact we as consumers have on the planet is most welcome.
As a brief synopsis of my own sartorial spending habits, I was atrocious from my very first job at the grand old age of 16. Being paid weekly (and being paid a decent hourly wage, ta M&S), having a new group of college friends and very little grasp on what I wanted to wear lead to some very impulsive and compulsive shopping. Fast forward to my early-mid twenties and I had a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear - yes, that cliche. It was overwhemling and quite frankly, ridiculous. Hoarder? Almost. I inhaled Marie Kondo's famous book The Magic of Tidying and it completely transformed my outlook on material items. Before moving into our flat two years ago, I rid myself of around 70% of my possessions and set myself a bunch of rules for future purchases (which I'll share today). It made me feel lighter, both mentally and physically and now having a good clear our is one of my favourite things to do.
So, in today's post, I'm going to chat about how I now approach shopping, especially as we're coming into the new season, in the hopes that it may help you if you're feeling somewhat overwhelmed
Buying Vintage and Second Hand
I've mentioned this in my post about scoring designer bargains, but expanding this to every day items, shopping pre-loved is a great way to not only save money but to be more sustainable.
Whenever buying something expensive, I will always look for it second hand first. And by 'look', I also mean wait. Setting notifications for items (if available) or searching frequently means you'll be more likely to end up with the item you want. Don't settle for less.
As trends inevitably come around time and time again, you can bet your bottom dollar that dozens of items already exist on the likes of eBay or Depop so it's worth a browse! Buying trendy items at a reduced cost is great too, as you can dip your toe into the water without dropping too much money on an item in the stores.
Mood Boards and the Art of Waiting
If you're the kind of person who runs full force into each season, stumbling out of shopping centres with their arms full, then may I suggest being patient. As someone who did just that previously, waiting and deciding what you want to buy will not only help you assertain what you actually want to wear, but it will save you money in the longrun.
Each season I create a Pinterest board of outfits, as well as a dedicated 'Saved' section on Instagram so I can save outfits I'd love to replicate as and when I come across them.
A lot of the time, you'll find you already have similar items in your wardrobe so you can style them up for the new season without spending a lot. Changing the accessories or wearing your hair a different way or putting on a lipstick can freshen everything up too.
Choosing Things To Wear Over and Over
When taking a photo of the leopard skirt above, my boyfriend asked 'Haven't you taken a pic of this outfit a million times before?' and I feel like this sums up my point. When choosing to spend my money, picking things that I can wear over and over is top of my priority list. The camo jacket above I've had for about 7 years. Old me would have worn something once and been fine to send it to the charity shop, but new me wants my monies worth.
Now, I've created a sort of uniform for myself within my wardrobe. Everyone's will be different, but mine basically consist of:
- A wardrobe staple and the centre of my outfits
- Worn with tshirts, shirts, knitwear
- Mostly tshirts, oversized shirts and knits when it's colder
- Can be worn with denim and skirts
Blazers and Jackets (and coats in the Winter)
- Can be worn over pretty much every item in my wardrobe
Dresses and Skirts
- I don't own many, but they can be worn alone or with a blazer over and/or tshirt underneath in Autumn
- Boots, trainers, flats and sandals
- Matches everything in my wardrobe
So, using the above items, the majority of my wardrobe goes together. I pick a lot of neutral shades and, when deciding to add any new items to my closet, they have to match. Classic styles over trend pieces, always. Usually I stick to being able to put at least 10 other outfits with this item, otherwise I don't buy it!
Budgeting and Financials
Let's be serious, the vast majority of us cannot afford a whole new wardrobe each season. Nor would we want to with our new uber sustainable mindsets, yes? Yes (sort of).
Having said that, it's nice to have something fresh and new (your interpretation of the word welcome) in your wardrobe each season. Always ask yourself 'do you really need it?' before purchasing, however.
My rule is to sell enough to cover the cost if I want to purchase anything expensive. Recently I sold some of my bags (and shoes and sunglasses) to put that money towards a new bag that I had my eye on and that's what I want to do going forward.
You could also try the one-in-one-out rule to keep what you have to the essentials, or turn your hangers around the other way to see what you wear within a month or two. It really helps in both organising and trying to decide what to purchase.
Reacquaint Youself With Your Wardrobe
If you're like me, you put you wardobe away each season. My actual wardrobe is quite narrow, so I can't have my coats and chunky knits out at the same time as my summer dresses and skirts, so everything is placed in a vacuum bag and stored away under the sofa in the spare room.
So, each new season, I look at my moodboards and Instagram saved lists and then get my items back out again. I will also assess each piece and see if it definitely deserves a place in my wardrobe. If it doesn't, then it's placed in an Ikea bag ready for the next £1 listing day on eBay.
Getting familiar with your items again before purchasing anything new helps to keep the spending down, as well as giving you a fresh perspective on the items you already had. shopping your own wardrobe is kinda fun!
It's not about taking the fun out of shopping, it's just being more sensible and informed about your purchases
It's so easy to get carried away when we're signed up to a million email lists and Instagram is insisting we purchase that bag so we fit in. We've constantly bombarded by 'buy buy buy' every single day which can be very overwhelming and I honestly don't blame anyone for purchasing more than they need to, but it's nice to take a step back and feel a bit more free with our wardrobes rather than being a slave to the latest trends.
Do you have any tips for being more considered with your purchases?