It’s one of the most common remarks heard in discussions about ethical shopping. It’s too expensive. I can’t spend that much on a single piece of clothing. I’ll go broke if I do. To be honest, I can’t really blame anyone for thinking this. It’s easy to look at a few brands that pride themselves on sustainable or ethical practices and laugh when you take a look at the price tag.
Despite this, the idea that ethical fashion is just for the wealthy is simply not true. I’ve only started being conscious about ethical clothing at the start of this year, but it’s already saved me a bunch of money, mostly because it’s been preventing me from buying extra pieces that I really don’t need and could easily do without. But for those of you who are on the fence, here are 5 reasons being a conscious buyer shouldn’t, and doesn’t, cost an arm and a leg:
1. Investments in QUALITY will save money in the long run.
Imagine only buying 1 or 2 new pieces every season instead of having to buy numerous things to replace all of the ones from last year that fell apart after a few months. You’ll have to dish out a little more at the start, but if it’s a quality piece that you treat with care, it’ll last you at least 3 times longer than a cheaper version would have, meaning you don’t need to spend the time and money buying more and more that won’t last you as long.
2. Thrift shopping and other secondhand buying can seriously cut the price on a piece you’re looking for.
Ever consider that not everything you buy has to be new? There seems to be a little bit of a stigma surrounding thrift, consignment and secondhand shops, probably because, let’s be honest, the majority of the stuff there is not your style. It also takes the extra effort and time to sift through racks of old, outdated, or just plain ugly clothes until you land on something you would actually consider trying on. But it is definitely possible to stumble upon something, and if you’re one of the talented people who knows how to use a sowing machine, then the transformation and DIY possibilities are endless.
Another place to check out is garage sales! Since they usually all tend to occur on Saturday and Sunday mornings, you can easily check out your local newspaper for garage sale ads, chart a route and hop from one to the next, without necessarily needing to spend much time in one place.
3. Buying classics will extend the lifespan and relevancy of your closet.
This ties in with #1 – its important not to only consider the quality of the clothes you’re buying, but also how long they will be relevant. There are certain pieces that always have been, and will continue to be worn: a little black dress, a white tee, a pencil skirt, a silk blouse, nautical stripes, a trench coat…the list goes on. If it would’ve looked just as good 5 years ago as it looks today, then that’s probably a good sign that this is something you can confidently wear for a while, without sacrificing style. Trends can be fun, but they will never satisfy you, and will always be sucking money out of your pocket.
4. Sharing is caring – swap/share with family and friends.
Like buying secondhand, sharing and swapping clothing also tends to carry a bit of a stigma. I think it might be because we’re afraid of looking like we can’t afford new clothes and are taking donations. It’s because of our egos and the need to impress others. It’s time to learn to be humble and encourage others to do the same. The results are better than any sale you’ll find at the mall – you get rid of clothes you don’t wear, and in return, get some new-to-you clothes that you will!
5. Know yourself and develop your personal style.
Though I guess this isn’t technically a money-saving tip, knowing what you like and what looks good on you will prevent you from making purchases on a whim that you will later regret and barely wear. It will also help you know what to look for when shopping, and to quickly evaluate if something will fit in with the rest of your wardrobe and be easily wearable. This way, none of your hard-earned dollars go towards something you won’t love next week.
Convinced to start shopping ethically yet? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!