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The Family Jewels

How to Be a Conscious Shopper

Vancouver Fashion Blog: How to Be a Conscious Shopper - hieleven bag

Vancouver Fashion Blog: How to Be a Conscious Shopper - classic street style

Vancouver Fashion Blog: How to Be a Conscious Shopper - Maui Jim Sunglasses

Vancouver Fashion Blog: How to Be a Conscious Shopper - Oak + Fort navy coat

Vancouver Fashion Blog: How to Be a Conscious Shopper - Joe Fresh Beanie

Vancouver Fashion Blog: How to Be a Conscious Shopper - Meaghan Gipps Photography

Vancouver Fashion Blog: How to Be a Conscious Shopper - Winter Chic Style

Have you seen the documentary The True Cost? We watched it last night after a friend recommended it. I am still in shock over the statistics and am horrified over the impact that it is having on our environment, factory workers and their families and communities. Did you know that only 10% of clothes we donate are actually sold here? The remaining items are shipped overseas and sit in landfills; polluting the air, and seriously harming those who live in surrounding areas. Fast fashion retailers have driven this industry to become the #2 polluter in the world, after oil. What used to be four seasons in retail, spring/summer and fall/winter, has now become fifty-two. Every week new styles are released to make consumers feel like they constantly “need” the latest styles to stay on trend, and in turn, feel better about themselves.

It made me take a step back and think about what I am doing, and what I can do going forward. I work as a stylist, helping others shop and buy clothes. I blog about fashion, talking about trends and style. As someone who is heavily involved in the industry for work, what can I be doing to become more conscious? Educate myself further on the subject, and share my knowledge with my clients and you, my readers. As Lucy Siegle described in her article regarding the film “Engaging with the ugly side of fashion will lead to changing it.”

I will continue to promote my theory of “less is more” and “fewer better”, but furthermore, I will work to provide more useful information and tips to help you become a more conscious shopper. It is unrealistic to say that we will stop shopping, but scaling back and making better decisions is the perfect place to start.

Here are a few tips to consider when shopping:

  1. Do you LOVE it, or just like it?? Really ask yourself if this is something you see yourself wearing long term, or is it a “of the moment” item that you will quickly get over. Does it really excite you when you put it on?! There’s no sense of buying something that you aren’t going to use, or keep for an extended period of time. It is just another item that will give you buyers remorse over, and end up in the landfill.
  2. Take note of the material, and quality of the item. Does it look and feel like it’s going to wear well and wash well? Very inexpensive items (often found at fast fashion retailers) can be poorly made and can quickly become unwearable after one or two wears.
  3. Walk away and think about it. This is something I have finally taught myself to do over the last year, and I can’t even imagine how much money it has probably saved me. If you walk away and are still thinking about it until the next day, and have had a chance to confirm that it would work well with the other items in your current wardrobe, then it’s most likely a smart purchase.
  4. If it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it. Often with impulse purchases, we make quick decisions that aren’t always the smartest. We tend to convince ourselves in the moment that we can make it work, even if the size is wrong. (I have done this in the past with shoes too, and it never ends on a positive note). Just walk away, it wasn’t meant to be.
  5. Really consider the benefits of shopping consignment and resale. You can save money and find great, quality items that will last longer. I have been doing this more and more! This eco-conscious decision will also make you feel better about your purchase!

I exercised these practices with my entire look! White t-shirt: I have stared at it for months in store. Finally bought it on sale after my other white t-shirt called it quits. Navy coat: I have been on the hunt FOREVER for a classic style. This one fit like a glove, but I still walked away for a day to ensure that I loved it. Denim: I fell in love with this pair of jeans a few years ago. I have worn them so many times that I have had them patched three times on the bum (embarrassing to admit, but true). Needless to say, a wise purchase. Shoes: Recently found these at a resale boutique after being on the hunt for this exact style of sneaker, for at least six months. I had my eyes on a new designer pair but resisted the temptation. Thank goodness I did! Bag: Discovered this brand on Instagram. Again, it was something on my radar but I waited months and months to ensure I absolutely loved it before buying it, even though the price point wasn’t high. I can say with confidence that I will have these items much longer than six months, which is the average length of time consumers today keep an item they have purchased.

If you are interested in learning more about the documentary The True Cost, click here. Do you have any eco-friendly resources or brands you would like to share?? Please tell me in the comments below. I would love to hear your recommendations!

Photos by the lovely, Meaghan Gipps. Thanks Meaghan!

t-shirt: zadig & voltaire via bella & wren
denim: ag
coat: oak + fort
sneakers: prada via mine & yours co
bag: hieleven