A few years ago I decided to change the way I buy new clothes. Could we all be more sustainable with our shopping habits? Here’s what I decided to do.
With a number of changes in size thanks to having a child, I had a bulging wardrobe and seemed to be constantly shopping for new stuff! It was time to set myself a challenge.
I decided to break the cycle of clothes shopping by attempting a whole year without purchasing anything new.
But there was one exception; if something urgently needed replacing, I’d head to the nearest charity shop.
Over the course of the year, I estimate I saved hundreds of pounds on buying clothes. Money-saving is obviously a great benefit, but even more important to me personally was the sustainable side of buying from a charity shop and re-using items.
Sustainable buying choices are important to me, and I was pleased to see Mike Briggs, our Head of Product Research, discussing sustainability in the April issue of our magazine.
My tips for charity clothes shopping
I think it’s important to be open-minded. Shops tend to cut sizes differently, so always consider trying one size above or below your usual. And would you consider a colour you wouldn’t usually go for? You can often find a gem in a colour you may not have considered before.
You may also be surprised at what a difference some basic sewing skills can make. If you’re between sizes or just a bit of a perfectionist then it’s great to pick up an item cheaply, then alter it yourself.
And another tip before you do hit the shops – make sure you clear your wardrobe out first! I’ve bought things in the past only for something to turn up in my wardrobe later on that I’d completely forgotten about.
I’ve also found that location makes a difference when it comes to charity shops. For example, if you’re after books, shops with universities nearby will be well-stocked.
Could you change your habits?
I have to admit, I didn’t quite make it a year without buying anything new. I did buy a couple of pairs of leggings, which is something you can’t really find in charity shops, and are difficult to make.
So if you do attempt a whole year, don’t worry about making exceptions. The little challenge I set myself helped me stop buying things I didn’t need, rather than those that I really did. Walking into a shop and not feeling like I wanted anything was really freeing.
So that’s my story, what about you? Do you think you buy too many new clothes? Could you make more sustainable choices?
And what about shopping tips – do you have any you can add to my list? Let me know in the comments.