Let’s have a frank chat about sustainable shopping choices for a moment.
If you’re anything like us, you hate the idea of wearing clothes made by some innocent child in a nasty sweatshop. Doesn’t matter how powerfully you strut in it or the number of compliments it garners – after a while, it gets pretty darn tricky to wipe away that slimy feeling that you’re basically Hitl… okay, we wouldn’t go that far, but you get the point.
But, whenever you’re in a rush to find a replacement pair of pants on the go because you tried to drink coffee and walk at the same time (dangerous for even the most coordinated of us), you still find yourself running into a department store because it’s just so convenient and easy and…. Exactly what you’re used to.
Now don’t be too hard on yourself, dear fashionista – the switch to sustainable involves reconfiguring a lot of decision-making that has been hardwired our whole lives. It’s not an instantaneous flip. You don’t make the choice to go green and then wake up the next day with a whole new set of morals, suddenly dressed in a sleek jumpsuit with a lightning bolt embroidered on the back and a supernatural ability to set fast fashion stores on fire with a single look.
As much as we wish that were the case, it’s really not. In reality, it’s a lot of very small choices made with patience, dedication and a whole lot of being intentional. And – the vital ingredient – having the compassion not to beat yourself up too much on those days when you do slip up and choose the easy option.
We’ve compiled a list of ways you can find chic clothes that won’t have a negative impact on the environment and are actually really fun:
Throw A Suitcase Rummage with Friends Been secretly eyeing off that blouse that always seems to be abandoned on the floor at your friend’s house for weeks? Make a party out of it! Having a rummage with your nearest and dearest is the perfect guise to get your hands on it without looking too desperate.
All you have to do is arrange for a bunch of pals to gather with bags of unwanted clothes, pour them onto the ground, pour yourself a glass of red and dive on into this well of newfound hope and possibilities. It’s the perfect opportunity to connect with the people you love, find some awesome new pieces and – most importantly – Marie Kondo the heck out of your wardrobe.
Give Op Shopping a Shot If you’re a bit like us, hearing “op shop” might trigger some memories of standing in a dusty store with your grandma as a kid, trying to figure out how to be nice about the disgusting sweater she’s holding up with too much hope in her eyes.
We have some exciting news: with the right podcast/playlist, enough determination and a couple of spare hours, op shopping can be your new best friend. Say goodbye to ugly sweaters and hello to designer pieces for oh so cheap, plus some really unique additions to your wardrobe. The smugness of being asked where you got that gorgeous dress and being able to respond with “It’s just something I picked up thrifting!” is unparalleled, trust us. Eyes will narrow. Smiles will stiffen. Hairs will stand on end. The knowledge that they can never be on your level will shatter them. And the self-satisfaction you get in return? Sweeter than anything money can buy (even though, yes, technically money did buy it).
Choose to use your money to support sustainable brands This one’s kind of a no-brainer. As a buyer, you have the power to dictate the market by putting your money where your mouth is. With a little research, it’s easy to stumble upon pure goldmines of sustainability. Next time you’re going to scroll through the Myer website, just try googling some sustainable alternatives instead. After making the effort to consciously choose your supplier each time you’re looking for something new, you’ll be surprised at how thoughtless it becomes to shop green.
Invest in pieces that will last One of the cruellest driving forces of the fast fashion industry is the short lifespan of all its products. They do it on purpose – if you get attached to a product and then it breaks after a week, you’ll immediately run back to the store for another one and pour more money right back into the machine. We don’t blame them – they’re just out here trying to make money – but we do think it’s a little shady to sink to such low levels just for a quick buck. The best way around this is to invest in some basics that make you feel like a queen and were made to last. Usually, you might spend a bit more on each piece but in the long run you’ll be saving big. Plus, the feeling of wearing clothes that were made with love? Nothing can beat that.