Many of you probably expect to be reading another one of those “why you should stop buying fast fashion” articles that tend to pop up left, right and center these days, but let’s be clear: you won’t. Why not ? Because I am not bashing fast fashion per se.
In my opinion, in today’s world, fast fashion is inevitable. Maybe even a necessity to some degree, as weird as this might sound. But we are not here to talk about the negative impacts of the fast fashion industry today. Nope, not today! And I also won’t force thrift shopping down your throat, although it might get an honorable mention somewhere further down. Instead I will tell you the one sentence that changed my way of shopping and the way I look at my closet – and therefore at the fashion industry. You ready for it?
I am not rich enough to buy inexpensive fashion
There, I said it, and I am sure that this will resonate with you when you keep reading.
I don’t know how much money I spent on cheap clothing and how much of that was a waste. To be frank, I don’t even want to know! I would probably break down crying if I knew.
I already told you excessively about the way I shop to avoid disappointment, and what to look out for to get the best shopping experience online. These points are still as valid as back when I wrote about them. But I don’t think I have ever mentioned anything about investing.
The problem with fashion today
is that it is not produced to last, it’s produced to make the big bucks. And I feel it’s getting worse. By now everyone and their goldfish heard about the 52 micro seasons stores come up with. To be honest, I don’t really see 52 micro seasons, but I get where those who do are coming from. We as customers get bombarded with the latest hot trends and it-pieces we just HAVE to have. And all that stuff gets produced so fast, sewn using “a hot needle” as my mother would say. Seams rip, buttons get loose (or lost), zippers break…and don’t get me started on the horror you feel when you pull your brand new sweater out of your washing machine and it looks as shapeless as a potato bag… next stop: landfill. But oh, who cares, the piece was “so last month” anyway and only cost 10, 20, 30 bucks.
But that sh*t adds up, I tell ya!
I love shopping, I really do! But I don’t have much closet space, and I don’t grow money on trees. Would be neat though, amiright?
So when I did the research for my fabric guides for summer and winter I realized that while fast fashion looks REALLY good, it’s not doing ANYTHING to keep me warm (or cool, respectively) because most of it is made of synthetic fibers and it’s also not as cheap as brands make you believe. So that got me thinking about the pros and cons of inexpensive fashion:
Why I bought inexpensive fashion
- Lots of colors, prints and styles
- Always on trend
- Often on sale for little money, therefore I could afford more items
- Easily accessible, makes for satisfying shopping sprees
What annoyed me
- Not very breathable
- Smelly after wearing it once, that means you have to wash it after every wear
- Can lose shape easily
- Often poor level of craftsmanship, so damages occur frequently
- Maintenance is a strain on the environment due to the release of micro plastic during washing (yeah, I just played THAT card!)
What annoyed me most really was that items had to be washed constantly. I spent more time doing laundry than wearing them… And if you pay your own bills you know what happens if every day is laundry day…
So not only was I not getting as much wear out of the cheap stuff as I would have liked, it cost me a fortune in time and money to maintain my closet, and I was like “nope, no more”.
I now pay more for each item of clothing I buy, but I make sure it’s of good quality in terms of craftsmanship and materials. Tops, sweaters, blouses, blazers and the like I now prefer to be made of at least 70% natural fibers such as wool, cashmere, silk, linen or similar as opposed to various synthetics and the results are amazing!
Everything is much more breathable, I am not constantly too cold or too hot anymore, and instead of throwing my sweaters in the laundry basket after 5 minutes of wearing them I just hang them outside for a bit and let fresh air do its magic.
Laundry days became less frequent too, so another win in terms of time and money. And good quality clothes just fit better, look more flattering and don’t show signs of wear and tear that quickly. But what about the downsides ?
Cons of quitting inexpensive fashion
do of course exist, but to me the pros outweigh the cons. I can live with buying less items or not owning the trendiest of trendy tops at any given time. If you are short on money it might also be much more difficult to find affordable high quality garments, so you may have to get creative:
How to afford high quality fashion on a budget
is technically not witchcraft. I am sure you already do a lot of the following, just your target items were different.
- Hit the sales
- Go to outlets (I am a firm believer in outlet malls. Even if designers have collections made for outlets only, the quality usually still beats low quality collections from the highstreet, at least when it comes to fit and craftsmanship)
- DIY (for those who want to use HQ materials and sew their own outfits)
- Check websites such as ebay, poshmark, vinted
- Attend clothing swap parties
- Go thrift shopping (honorable mention: check)
At the end of the day changing up what you shop for is similar to changing up your diet or starting to exercise. It’s a lifestyle change one has to get used to, but the results are usually worth it.