One of the biggest hurdles to creating a conscious closet is of course… budget. No surprise there! I like to believe that more people would make ethical shopping a priority if they thought it were remotely attainable. Well, as a person who doesn’t have an endless fashion budget, I can say that it actually is—you just have to be resourceful. Here are 4 ethical shopping tips for you to consider:
Ease into it.
While I love the idea of committing to no more unethical factory-made clothes, it’s not exactly practical if there is clothing you need, and need soon. If you’re looking for a less daunting way to make change, start small. Decide to start googling ethical fashion and research first. Peruse our conscious shopping directory. Take tiny steps if it makes more sense for you.
You may not even need to shop.
I love shopping and believe in fashion as a form of self-expression, and that can be a huge source of confidence and inspiration. BUT, part of conscious consumerism means recognizing when you don’t actually need something. So, don’t think of conscious shopping as just the shopping—think of it as an overall awareness. Work to become more conscious of your impulses. It will save room in the budget for ethically made goods that you do need, since they do tend to be more expensive.
Avoid the “I should get this because it’s cheap” mentality.
The idea that we should buy something just because it’s a good deal actually works quite well in emptying our wallets. I will be completely honest, if you’re on a budget, you have to get used to the idea of shopping secondhand. And if you spend a lot of time thrifting, you will see shirts for $3 and jeans for $6 and you might even find your mind blown by the good quality items you find. It’s pretty cool! Whatever you do, do not just buy those pieces because they are cheap. Buy them because they make a necessary addition to your wardrobe. Just like you used to load up on 20 items from Forever 21 because it was all under $100 and you were over 19 of them within a week, the same will happen when thrifting. And unfortunately, re-circulating the items via donations isn’t as conscious as you think.
Know the ways you can shop used + exhaust those options first.
Yes, it’s more than thrift shops. You’ve got thrift stores, which are super inexpensive and usually donation based. Then you’ve got consignment/buy, sell, trade shops, like Crossroads Trading Co and Buffalo Exchange, which are pretty widely distributed through the US at this point, but there’s about a million other shops operating under the same model. I pretty much get all my everyday clothes at these. They’re more curated than thrift shops, so you get a little quality control, but still cheap and conscious. Then you’ve got resale apps and even sites that allow you to rent clothing—which is a great idea if you’re invited to a formal event but can’t justify, say, $200 on a dress you’ll never wear again. There are so many ways to buy quality, secondhand clothing these days, that there honestly isn’t much of a real, urgent need for new clothes. For most of us anyway. If a conscious closet is a top priority for you, try to go secondhand whenever possible. This helps a lot because when it comes to things you do buy new, like intimates, shoes, or the occasional treat yo’self splurge, you have a lot more room in the budget.
What’s your biggest setback when it comes to conscious shopping? Would love to cover it on the blog!
Necklace + Bracelet: featured member Tuli / Clothing: Crossroads Trading Co. / Bag: Boutique find