5 Ways I'm Trying to Be a More Conscious Fashion Consumer

Thursday, April 22, 2021

        Happy Earth Day! In honor of this day, I wanted to talk a little bit about sustainability here on Elizabeth, Marie, and Me. Fashion has always been such an important part of who I am and how I express myself creatively from day to day, and always will be.  Sadly, the fashion industry has a disastrous impact on the environment and is the second largest polluter in the world.  There’s a lot that I have yet to learn about sustainability, but for today I wanted to share with you five small ways I am trying to change my shopping habits to be a more conscious fashion consumer by incorporating sustainable practices into my life.  

1— Shopping Vintage and Secondhand 

        According to ThreadUp, buying one item used over new reduces its carbon footprint by 82%, so why not? Personally, I love shopping at vintage stores and sifting through racks and racks. It always feels like a treasure hunt and I never know what I’m going to find, which makes every shopping trip unique and exciting. Since thrifting is always a “hit or miss” experience, there are days I don’t find anything, but there are fantastic days when I find a few amazing one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that I adore. However, when I find a vintage designer piece in excellent condition and in my size, I feel as if I hit the jackpot. 

        Also, you can easily shop secondhand online at eBay, Poshmark, ThreadUp, Depop, etc. Some of my favorite pieces that I’ve featured in previous blog posts are ones I purchased on Poshmark from amazing sellers. My gold and cream Free People star dress, my gold horse chain belt, and my gold zodiac chain belt are just a few dreamy pieces that come to mind . . .

2— Donating/Swapping Clothes and Accessories with Friends 

        Donating clothes and accessories to non-profit organizations like Goodwill helps the environment by giving it a second chance at a new home and keeps them from accumulating in the landfills. Also, swapping clothes with your family members and/or friends is a great way of trying out new styles and hitting the refresh button on your wardrobe. One person’s “trash” can be another’s treasure. For example, remember the three vintage Coach belts I wore in my last blog post, Following the Butterflies? Well, when my aunt cleaned out her closet a couple of years ago, she discovered them and asked me if I wanted them because they no longer fit her. Of course, I said yes, and they all fit my waist perfectly! 

3— Reselling 

        As I mentioned above, there are lots of reselling apps and websites where you can resell your gently used clothes and accessories. Personally, I’ve been re-selling as a side business for almost two years now and I love it! If you're interested, I listed a handful of items on Poshmark that I wore in previous outfit posts. I even listed a lot of unworn clothes and jewelry that I had planned on styling in outfit posts before I took a break from blogging. Also, I am currently selling clothes in other sizes besides my own, so be sure to check it out HERE!

4— Choosing Quality Over Quantity

        Saving up to purchase a few quality pieces over an abundance of fast-fashion pieces is something that I’ve been trying to do for the past five years or so. As a gal on a budget, I love shopping at stores such as Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth for great quality designer pieces at a fraction of the original price. You can find amazing gems there, especially heels! 

5— Making Mindful Purchases

        I admit, I am guilty of using shopping as a form of entertainment. If I’m bored, I shop. If I’m sad, I shop. If I’m in a “Imma treat myself” kinda mood, I shop. I shop A LOT. However, I’ve been working on my self-control and only buying fashion pieces that I know I will love and wear for years to come. I now do more window shopping than purchasing. Restraining myself from buying boatloads of fast fashion items was a bit difficult in the beginning, especially when Zara had their sales, but now I remind myself to only buy what I need or really love. 

        Although I just mentioned quality over quantity in the paragraph above, I may contradict myself a bit by saying I still occasionally purchase a few items from fast fashion stores. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Completely overhauling my wardrobe to be completely sustainable was not something that worked for me. Personally, I think it’s all about balance and being a conscious shopper who makes mindful purchases. 

        When deciding on a purchase whether it’s a fast fashion piece or a designer piece, I will always ask myself important questions such as: Will the quality of this piece last the test of time? Can I picture myself wearing this twenty years from now? How much do I love it on a scale from 1-10? To be honest, I still wear and love a handful of Forever 21 clothing that I purchased almost a decade ago. Surprisingly, they are still in great condition and I don’t see myself getting rid of them anytime soon.

        Okay, so those are the five small ways I am trying to change my shopping habits to be a more conscious fashion consumer. Of course, it’s always great to shop sustainable brands such as Reformation and Boden, but I just wanted to share with you other ways you can incorporate sustainable practices into your life. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and be sure to let me know in the comments below your thoughts on sustainability. As always, I am sending you lots of love from my heart to yours!

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