A $10 shirt? Yes, please! $20 jeans? I’ll take three! A $15 dress? Amazing!
But in reality, not so amazing.
Inexpensive clothes have become so readily available and what we now call ‘Fast fashion’* is dominating the market that it’s really hard to say no to getting more pieces for the same price of one ‘expensive’ piece? The temptation is everywhere, and the logic is hard to argue with. But if we delve a bit deeper, fast fashion is actually worse than we realize.
The first challenge is that fashion trends change every season. It’s easy and to some extent normal to want to own the next ‘it’ item. But to keep up, it requires a lot of money. So we turn to fast fashion that offers the same trends, at a lower price. More ‘bang for your buck’ so to speak.
But there’s a lot we are ignoring when we turn to fast fashion. These pieces are a lower price because they are also lower quality (come on, these companies have to make money somehow!). Lower quality means that after a few washes, the fabric becomes stretched out and you can’t wear it anymore. So what do you do? You throw it out and you replace it. So what you’re really doing is repurchasing the same item over and over again in a short period of time and in the end, spending the same amount of money or maybe even more.
Instead, why not buy the same piece, at a bit higher price but better quality, and keep it for a longer time? Not only will you spend less or the same amount of money in the same period of time, but it also looks nicer because of the stitching, the cut and the fabric. Don’t get me wrong, I know that a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean better quality, but if you do your research and start observing the types of fabric, the stitching, the details on pieces of clothing, you will notice a significant difference. And the money you are spending will not be going to waste.
There are also other consequences of fast fashion that we don’t think about: the environmental, economic and social consequences. Although I don’t want this to be a blogpost about how bad fast fashion is, I would highly encourage to read THIS article about it and it might shed some light on it (I can also write a blogpost specifically on this topic! Let me know if that would be something interesting for you).
So how do you become a savvy shopper and get the most bang for your buck?
Do your homework and ‘study’ what you’re going to buy: look at the stitching, the fabric composition, read blogs (hint hint) on brands that are good for better quality clothing. For example, it’s generally better to avoid fabrics like polyester, because they don’t hold the test of time. Look for things like cotton or blends of wool and cashmere that are natural products and have longevity.
Don’t just buy pieces, build a wardrobe: buy a few good quality basics like plain tops, a good pair of basic jeans, a black blazer or cardigan, and then invest a bit more money in unique and timeless pieces that you can use a number of different ways and build different outfits.
Always shop ahead: I rarely buy something full price and if I do, it has to be REALLY special. I am always thinking ahead of what pieces I might need so that I can replace it if a sale comes up. Or I think ahead one or two seasons – if I know that I will need a new bikini for the summertime, I will keep an eye in the spring because the bathing suits that were out during the wintertime will be going on sale. Plan ahead so that you have enough time to look around for what you need.
Be realistic about what you are buying: yes, that leopard fur coat looks gorgeous on you, but, how many times will you actually wear it? How many jackets do you already have and how many of them do you actually wear on a weekly basis? For example, I had seen a gorgeous DVF jacket at a REALLY good price. But I already own enough jackets, and I go to the gym almost every single day – am I really going to wear a DVF jacket when I leave the gym? No…I already have a nice day-to-day jacket that I don’t mind stuffing in the locker, and I have a fancier jacket for when I want to go to out. Although the quality and the price were amazing, I didn’t really need it. So I walked away!
What is your approach to shopping? What are some brands that you like where you buy pieces that resist the test of time and wear? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below, I’m always looking for new brands to discover!
* Fast Fashion is when companies take the newest trends from the catwalk and create them into cheaper and more accessible products for consumers – but with a high environmental and social price.