Whether you’re an impulse shopper, a can’t-wear-the-same-thing-twice shopper, a sucker-for-a-sale shopper, or all of the above, the impact of your spending habits goes beyond the dent in your could-be savings account.
Times are changing peeps, and even though Instagram has conditioned us to believe that multiple wears of a garment signals the demise of your street style cred (uh, not true, don’t worry), wasting your money on fast fashion is no longer sexy. Making conscious decisions about how and where we buy our clothing because a) workers and communities are suffering all around the world to keep up, and b) the environment, duh – now that’s sexy.
Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to sacrifice a lit outfit in order to save the world. All we ask is for you to consider one simple thing:
Think before you buy.
In order to be able to do that, we asked Melinda Tually, director of NDLESS: The New Normal and coordinator for Fashion Revolution Australia and New Zealand, to curate this incredibly simple list of questions to ask yourself before spending your hard earned dosh on a new fashion item.
Scroll for the list of questions to ask yourself before you buy:
Do I REALLY need it?
It’s a tried and true statement, but asking yourself whether or not you really need an item of clothing is a good place to start when considering a purchase. Do you have other pieces in your wardrobe that meet its description? ‘Black satin cami’, ‘white button down shirt’ – that kind of thing? It can be confronting because what that often tells you is that you’re already over the one you have just like it at home, which means you’re a sucker for trends (sorry!) or you didn’t choose well in the first place.
Melinda’s tip: “Don’t go shopping unconsciously to fill a void, to fill time, to make yourself feel better, just to buy for the sake of it… Because you’re lonely or because you’re bored… Cut out that impulse shopping and just think before you buy. Ask yourself ‘do I really need it?'”
Am I prepared to look after it the way I’m supposed to?
When you buy a piece of clothing, you’re entering a relationship. If you’re a clothing commitment-phobe, then put that hanger back on the rack right now, sister. In order to get what you need from this relationship you’ve got to pull your weight, too. And we’re not just talking about the upfront cost, we’re talking about its care label. If it says cold wash, don’t throw it in at 30°C. If it says gentle hand wash, then you best be prepared to roll up your sleeves. And by the same coin, if there were to be damage to this item, do you love enough to go to lengths to have it repaired as opposed to getting rid of it?
Melinda’s tip: “If the garment says handwash only, ask yourself when was the last time you actually handwashed something. If you don’t handwash, don’t buy it. It’ll end up at the bottom of your laundry basket and be a one-wear-wonder, or, you’ll end up shortening the garment’s lifespan.”
If you’re prepared to put in the hard work but don’t know where to start, Reformation has a Wash Smart guide to walk you through the basics.
How many times will I wear it?
Treating clothing as if it were disposable is straight up unacceptable – we know too much about the detrimental impact of this behaviour. When you love a piece of clothing, you make it last; you look after it and you find different ways to wear it over and over again. Just as you would a new laptop, a new car or new home, clothing is an investment worthy of consideration. How many different events could you wear this to? What are five things you already own that it’ll go with? Is it transeasonal? Can I guarantee that I will wear this 30 times? If you can answer these questions easily then you’re free to pass go. If not, park it for a week and see if you’re still obsessing about it. Chances are, you won’t be, and you’ll save yourself a cheeky sum of money for something you actually need.
Melinda’s tip: “It’s no longer sexy to have things you buy, wear once and throw away anymore. There’s a real trend with millennials on Instagram to not be seen [in] anything more than once, so every Saturday night they have to have something new – that’s a whole other argument about playing into people’s insecurities which I don’t think we can decouple from the conversation either.”
Words: Terri Dunn