I was walking through the grocery store the other day. As I was checking out, a headline from a magazine caught my eye. So and so movie star wore the same dress to two events over the course of a few years. This made headlines, but not in a good way. It shocked me. How could this be worthy of headline news and why are we discouraging this? It really bothers me that we, women in particular, are discouraged from wearing fancy clothing items several times. I don't know about you, but I want to celebrate people who are wearing gorgeous outfits more than once. No matter how much money you have, only wearing a gown once isn't a great use of our limited resources.
Even if you're not a movie star and have a limited budget, there's still a culture that celebrates disposable fashion and isn't conducive to reducing clothing waste. It's time for the norm to shift away from buying cheap products with short lifespans. After all, it's better for the environment and saves us money in the long term.
How do we do this? Here are a few tips I'd suggest:
1. Go Back to Basics
Figure out your basics - find the clothing that are essential base layers to any outfit. Choosing items that all fit a similar style, color or aesthetic is helpful, because they can be mixed and matched. Create a list of staples in your closet and stick with them. As a notorious listmaker, I had to write mine all down. Here's my list, although this is just a starting point for you all; your list can be edited, shortened or lengthened to fit your needs and lifestyle.
a. Dark wash jeans
b. Black pants
c. Ankle Boots
e. Sandals (duh)
g. Little black dress
h. Summer dress
i. White tee
j. Knit sweater
k. Button up shirt
l. Jean or other simple jacket
m. (optional) knee length skirt
2. View purchases as investments
Given you're simplifying your wardrobe, when you shop for your staple clothing items, you'll want them to last and look good. Sometimes these clothes you're buying are going to be more than you'd like to spend. But I encourage us to shift towards a mindset that treats clothing as an investment and purchased to last. Instead of spending $50 on a pair of boots that will last a year, why not pay triple that for a pair that will last five? In the long run, you're looking at lots of savings. Plus when you start viewing your clothes as investments, you start to appreciate them and honor the work that goes into making them.
3. Take your Time
Good things take time! Take your time when making a big purchase item and choosing your basics. Reduce the urge to impulsively buy something that's not on your list, doesn't match with your staples, isn't sustainable or made to last.
Worried that the same clothing items will get old after awhile? You have the ability to change it up with belts, scarves, shawls, stockings hats, jewelry, etc. There are all sorts of clever ways to dress up or down the basics with accessories. Need inspiration? Pinterest & fashion blogs are a great first step!
5. Celebrate Your Mindset
Know the positive impact your changing purchasing decisions has and encourage others to do the same! While it can be a challenge to keep things simple, knowing why you're doing it makes all the difference. Remember - while we can't all do everything, we can all do something.