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5 Simple Ways to Shop More Sustainably

Alice Huang

Posted on August 22 2019

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world- only second to oil. The good news? With increasing pressure to protect our precious planet, we as consumers are finally starting to get smarter about our purchases. Where we buy, not just what we buy matters. Fast fashion is out and conscious shopping is in! As a result, many brands are taking strong strides to make their business models more sustainable. From organic denim and vegan leather, to tree planting campaigns, we’re seeing fashion get a much-needed eco-friendly makeover. Shopping ethical, earth-loving labels isn’t the only way you can go green while spending some green though.

Here are a few simple ways in which you can shop more sustainably:

 

Shop less, shop better

There are several benefits of buying fewer items at a better quality. So, the next time you’re in the mood for new clothes, before purchasing something, ask yourself a few questions to determine if it will be a good addition to your wardrobe. Why are you buying it? How often will you wear it? Will it last? If you can’t answer each of these questions confidently, it’s likely not an item worth spending money on.

Stick to the basics, avoid flashy trends and try to only invest in durable, high-quality items that you’ll wear time and time again. By paying more attention to what you’re buying, you can greatly reduce non-essential spends (AKA impulse buys), curate a closet of clothes that you truly love and of course help the greater cause.

 

Shop pre-owned, shop vintage

You can also satisfy your shopping cravings by visiting local thrift stores. This is without a doubt the eco-friendliest way to get your retail therapy on. If you’re not already an avid thrifter, don’t underestimate the unique and beautiful things you may find. And by purchasing a second-hand item, you can rest assured knowing that no new fibers have been used to produce it (and therefore wasted) and that you’re saving it from simply being tossed into a landfill.

And vintage? It’s so in vogue right now! In this new age of fashion, where authenticity and originality are highly sought after, there’s no better way to make your mark than by wearing clothes that no one else probably owns. If it’s an older, vintage piece it’s probably timeless in terms of style, and it’s likely that more quality was put into the manufacturing of it, meaning it will last longer.

Knowing how to “thrift” doesn’t always come naturally, but with a little patience and know-how, you can score some seriously stylish steals. For one, go into it with the mindset that every store will be unique (because it will be). Secondly, shop for tomorrow. Rather than expecting to go in and find exactly what you want for this coming weekend’s date, enter the store with no specific goals outside of hoping to find some amazing staple pieces. Finally, check and double check for quality. At bargain prices, it can be easy to gloss over simple flaws. Don’t do it.

Some of my go-to thrift stores here in Los Angeles include Rose bowl, Melrose Trading Post and Long Beach Antique Market. Have you ever been? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Restyle regularly

It can be easy to fall into a fashion rut and feel like you have nothing to wear. This is where the impulse to start filling online carts kicks in. But sometimes, all it takes is putting a fresh spin on the things you already own. Ask friends and family how they’d pair your garments in different ways. Who knows how their own personal approach to fashion could rub off on you! Or of course, you can always look to social media for inspiration. There are so many amazing bloggers these days for all shapes and sizes and nearly any taste of style.

 

Mend, don’t toss

Once a piece of clothing you own becomes a bit tired and possibly even hole-ridden, don’t rush it straight to the trashcan. Most issues are mendable, like missing buttons or loose stitching. If it’s something simple, you can likely do it yourself with a needle, some thread and a how-to video on YouTube. If it’s something more complex, you could call up a local seamstress. Who knows, the items you own today could become some of the trendiest vintage finds years down the road!

 

Rent, don’t buy

There are also companies like Rent the Runway, Rocksbox and Le Tote who are helping to normalize the idea of renting clothes and accessories rather than purchasing them outright. Renting items ensures that each article will have a longer lifecycle before it’s thrown out (or hopefully donated to a second-hand store). This is more sustainable, as it means that fewer garments need to be made to meet demands.

What are your tips for shopping sustainably? Let’s all work together to make a better future!

 

LOOK INSPIRATION:

Sustainable shopping

 

1. 90s low slung crop jean, RE/DONE / 2. New York City Tee, RE/DONE / 3. Vintage suede skirt, Urban Outfitters / 4. Green Astoria earrings, Kendra Scott / 5. Hermosa Clutch/Crossbody, Mei Vintage / 6. Kimono Clutch/Crossbody, Mei Vintage / 7. Vegan suede boots, Anthropologie

 

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