To help myself shop better, I have a mindful shopping hierarchy:
- Secondhand (in most of my outfits)
- Ethical/sustainable brands or collections
- Socially responsible brands (b-corps, “giving back” models, etc.)
- Well-made items that can be used for years, even decades
- Anything that doesn’t meet the first 4 criteria, try to avoid buying them
- Biodegradable/natural/semi-natural fabrics: organic cotton, linen, silk, wool, Tencel®, Modal®, etc.
- Recycled fabrics, synthetic or not
- Non-biodegradable/synthetic fabrics: polyester, nylon, polyamide, etc.
“Don’t buy much but make sure that what you buy is good.”― Christian Dior
Check the Fabric Tag
For materials, it’s usually easy to find out what a clothing is made of by simply looking at the fabric tag attached inside. I used to only look at the brand tag and ignore the fabric tag completely. But now I’m trying to minimize my dependence on synthetic fabrics, I have a habit of checking the fabric tags as well. Please know that more expensive brand names don’t necessarily mean better fabrics.
Judge the Price Tag
Often the price I’m willing to pay for my clothing depends on the style, the fit, the materials, and the brand – in that order. So here are some questions I ask myself:
- The Style: Can I wear it for both work and play? Is it something I can wear with what I have in my closet? Will it stand the test of time?
- The Fit: Is it fitting me perfectly? Do I need to spend extra time and money to hem or tailor it? Is it comfortable?
- The Materials: Is it responsibly produced? Natural/biodegradable or synthetic?
- The Brand: Sustainable brand? Brands that are making an effort to become more sustainable? Brands that don’t care at all?
This mindset helps me to make more responsible and smarter decisions. Just by looking at the fabric tag, price tag, and brand tag, I can snatch up the great finds, purchase intentionally and avoid the bad. And if everyone shops more mindfully, we can together reduce waste and build better wardrobes.
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