I am a reformed clotheshorse. I worked in e-commerce for an online boutique and one of the perks was an amazing discount. On top of it, I was one of the first to see each piece as they were received. It was easy to say, "that's cute, I'll buy it." It was a thrill to have the latest style before anyone else.
I moved through my fashion career and started working directly with manufacturers. For the first time, I was confronted with what exactly goes into that cute top I wanted for my next beach vacation. As I learned about the manufacturing process and the people involved, I decided to step away from fast fashion and changed my habits with a few simple swaps. As an added bonus, I've saved money on my clothing budget.
Look for natural materials
When shopping, look for natural materials like cotton, wool, and silk. Natural materials are better for the environment, biodegradable. Check the label and avoid anything with poly – polychiffon, polysatin, polyester. By avoiding poly, you'll reduce microplastics when washing your clothes.
Buy pieces you'll wear again and again
Before you purchase any piece of clothing, think of how often you'll wear it. It's tempting to buy something for one-off events like weddings or a special date night. Instead, challenge yourself to wear each item you own at least 30 times. Look for styles that will match what you already own so that you can work it into your wardrobe.
Buy clothes that last
To get to 30 wears, look for well-made clothes. Check out the stitching and make sure it's even and straight. Check for any holes or gaps in the hems and, again, look for natural fabrics. This typically means avoiding fast-fashion retailers or big box stores but if you'll wear something 30 times, don't be afraid to break the rules a little.
Shop local and shop secondhand
Consignment stores are a great place to buy pieces that you know will stand up to wear. They've been carefully inspected by the staff and can be a great way to buy quality pieces at a great price. Consignment stores run the gamut from designer to everyday wear so there's something out there for everyone. Don't be afraid of thrift shops. To avoid being overwhelmed, stick to one section during your trip -like dresses or sweaters - to keep you focused.
Have fun with your closet
Check out a clothing swap. Dive into your closet and wear something you haven't in a while. Hem that pair of pants you never got around to or mend that hole in your favorite shirt. You'll find plenty of resources online or on social media to repair or repurpose what you own.