Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How To Shop Sustainable

"Buy less, choose well and make it last"
These wise words by Vivienne Westwood perfectly summarise the outcome of this blogpost. Tired of not being completely satisfied of the pieces hanging in your wardrobe? Next time, pick your items with more care when strolling around town. But here lies the difficulty: how to be sure the clothes we see on coat racks in our favourite boutiques are going to bring us the same satisfaction as when they were tried on in the fitting rooms? In other words, how to shop well and as a direct consequence, to buy less and avoid overspending when we can't afford it?

We are under the constant influence of new trends and products, whether through pretty photographs in magazines, our favourite instagramers or website newsletters (by the way don't make the mistake of subscribing to Zara, you'll soon be lost among quality fabric blazers and gorgeous pairs of shoes you'll covet for days) to such an extent that it can be hard at times to focus on what we really want. After I decluttered my wardrobe during the winter holidays, I decided it was high time to choose my clothes in a more thoughtful manner. Although I am no expert, I have built up some experience on the subject so here are my tips for a sustainable shopping, which means buying items you will love, never avoid wearing and which will last you forever. 

1. Define your personal style beforehand

Before you can achieve anything a few steps are needed; steps which once acknowledged, will be useful to you for the years to come. First, define your personal style. Without trying to fit in a specific box, how would you describe your style? Are you more sporty or romantic, like colourful outfits or quite the reverse, feel comfortable wearing monochromes and jeans? Does a particular colour palette strike you? If you have one which reflects your personality then stick to it. Also notice what pieces fit you - it is all about proportions. Dressing accordingly to your body shape is obviously flattering, but don't be hindered if you'd love to wear something that doesn't fit yours. Fashion is about personal choices, comfort and bringing up your confidence. 

2. Prefer quality over quantity

Secondly, stay away from (very) cheap clothes you will give a lot of wear of. For example, I will never purchase black skinny jeans at Primark because I actually wear these every day for work and during the weekend for all black outfits I love. I would buy something else such as crochet tops for the beach there though because I definitely know they are not going to be worn on a daily basis (I live in the UK for the moment not south France, you get the picture). They are not going to last very long and their quality remains most of the time questionable. Second most valued advice: don't buy clothes only because they're on sale (terrible flaw I had not so long ago)! Of course buying items on sale sounds amazing for both your mind and purse, but whenever you are about to make a purchase ask yourself if you'd buy it if it wasn't in the sales department, price put aside. You won't believe the amount of clothes you will put back on the rack. 

3. Choose pieces to invest in

I would suggest to spend a bit more money - if you can - on items you wear on a daily basis (a great blazer, a nice airy blouse or blue jeans for one). Invest in basics which won't disappoint you. However this brings another question up in the discussion: before going on a shopping trip or browsing the internet, ask yourself if you'd rather invest in basics such as a excellent-quality white tee, black jeans and black bag or in more original pieces like a statement bag or a yellow coat. My advice is to go for the first solution if your wardrobe lacks of essential staples; if you've got everything you need to build up the perfect Scandinavian-style outfit then have fun with your accessories and jackets!

4. Trust your instinct

If you hesitate a lot over an item, it is probably not good enough. If you wonder if it suits you in the fitting rooms, how do you expect to pick it up in the morning? Deep down you know you'll never pull it off the coat hanger. Generally if you find more than two things you dislike in an item, be brave and leave it. 

5. Delay the purchase

Giving the item a second thought at home is a habit of mine when it comes to pricey clothes. When I know the piece suits me, outfit ideas will pop in my mind - and if I get the "this would look amazing paired with my jacket and I can wear it during three seasons a year" state of mind I will certainly purchase it. However if you are not sure, simply put some time between the impulse and the purchase. If you see something that you like but hadn't planned on buying, put it on hold for a day. If you still love the item the next day after having had a chance to think it through, buy it. With a bit of training you will know yourself better and won't hesitate too much after a while.

What about you? What are you main tips when it comes to shopping in a more sustainable way?

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