Definitely the biggest change that comes from shopping conventional, fast fashion to sustainable style is the STICKER SHOCK. Makes sense, since fast fashion has driven the cost of our favorite trends way down. But, as you read on my intro post, the true cost is much greater.
Why cheap fashion has a deadlier cost
To be honest, though the price tags were really low, my fast fashion habit was making me go broke!
Shopping was my hobby. I always clicked on the offers in my inbox, and used my “loyal customer” discounts religiously. Of course, I had to keep adding to cart to make the shipping minimum… and go over it. I got such a rush from my multiple steals in the clearance sections at the mall, but those small purchases added up. Plus, I can now admit that I didn’t come home always loving everything I bought in my frenzy to not pass up on a good deal.
I had equated browsing, shopping, and buying constantly with fashion. Now, I’m doing things a little differently. Fashion is once again about versatility, story, and art for me- it’s once again about style.
Since July, I’ve only bought 3 totally new items for my closet, and thrifted around 6. 9 items in 4 months, compared to 9 items sometimes per week…pretty big change, and I still have a long way to go!
I’ve been able to reuse and restyle tons of forgotten items from my wardrobe. And when I do think about buying something, it’s no longer impulsive. That’s why I decided to majorly splurge on a Thursday evening at Hazel and Rose, a boutique I had purposely been waiting to hit up most of this year.
5 ways to reuse your favorite pieces
And when I walked into Hazel and Rose’s gorgeous space, I felt I had found the perfect boutique for me. I honestly wanted to snag everything at H & R!
I began browsing and had to resist picking every single thing up to try on. I had a little fitting room party, showing my favorite pieces to owner Emma (who is a great cheerleader). And then came the moment—I winced and prepped myself for the price tags, which, for someone used to the colorful $10 or less items at F21, can be a jarring experience.
Imagine you’re there with me in the most chic and modern space at H&R has, so excited to find this gorgeous black Sechung top and the widest wide leg beauties that are these Megan Huntz pants. The price tag on this Sechung top is $180. And the pants retail for $320.
That’s right. That’s an escape to Miami. That’s 100 bubble teas. That’s 33 Pad Thai’s. That’s 5 great massages. And the list goes on.
Now, since I’m no newbie to shopping or boutiques, I had already given H&R’s website a once-over before hitting up the store, so I knew to expect the prices to be $$$. So why did I sign myself up for this?
Emma, H&R’s founder and owner, is a small-business #girlboss who quit her full-time corporate job to start this store. She is literally living my dream! So the first reason- I wanted to support what she was doing. I wasn’t just buying clothes. I was investing in her dream.
The easiest thing for her to have done would have been to source cheap, conventional items. She has experience in retail and merchandising, and would have been able to easily create a trendy, fast-fashion-esque shop. But she truly cares about the ethics of our wardrobes, though that does drive price tags way up—and potential purchases down. That’s the second reason- I know how difficult, and how impactful, it is to source only sustainable brands. And, I know sustainable sourcing, handmade items, and running a business don’t come cheap.
Speaking of those brands—I loved asking Emma about the different designers she worked with. Their stories made me connect with the clothes. For example, both this Sechung top and my Megan Huntz pants were made of reclaimed materials, combining art and design with sustainability and reusing. Third reason- by shopping their designs, I was directly supporting these artists’ visions and dreams. And that’s something I want to invest in.
And, I made sure I could afford it. For a long time ideas of budgets and saving made me crinkle my nose in disgust. (To all of you rolling your eyes at me- I agree). But at some point, I realized that I was constantly stressed about money, and the reason is that I didn’t really know how much I had, and where it had gone. I downloaded Mint, and this app is honestly a lifesaver. (#notsponsored) I cut my shopping budget down to $50-$100 a month, which means that this purchase meets about 5 months of budget. Since I hadn’t really made major purchases in 4 months, I felt pretty good about affording this purchase. In the end, planning this purchase saved me money, versus the tons of impulse small purchases I used to make—which totally add up.
Sometimes, a splurge can be better for your closet, wallet, and the world than a ton of sale steals. There’s something about the connection you feel with a purchase you put so much thought into, and the excitement around a unique item, with a story and a purpose. If you’re considering taking a plunge like I did, take a look at these 5 Tips for a Guilt-Free Splurge:
Everyone’s journey is different. But I hope these tips helped you think differently about an innovative sustainable fashion designer, or those organic cotton jeans you were eye-ing. You might just be investing in someone’s art and good-for-the-world dream.
Thanks for reading!