Hi, friends. Today I wanted to share how and why, over the past few years, I have drastically changed how I shop. Everyday on Instagram, I share my outfit of the day, as well as the brand of each item. Since starting these outfit of the days, I’ve been afraid of alienating people who might assume I have shopping sprees to expensive brands all of the time (spoiler alert: I don’t). I budget, wait for sales, think about purchases beforehand, and talk my shopping lists over with my husband. But before we dive deeper into that, I want to share why I’ve changed my shopping habits.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
I was an impulsive shopper. When I graduated high school, I became a very impulsive shopper, meaning I would purchase clothes without consideration for if I truly needed the item. I often used shopping as a means to boost my mood, deal with anxiety, and fill various voids. I threw away my own money, as well as my parents’ money, on clothes I either never wore, or only wore for a short time.
I used shopping as a means to feel better. As I mentioned above, I often used shopping to make me feel better either about myself or my situation. It’s a slippery slope from occasional retail therapy to consistently using shopping (whether online or in person) as a way to fill voids or deal with life. Loneliness, boredom, and societal pressure are the most common reasons we shop.
I would buy clothes for who I wanted to be. There were times I would buy an item in a smaller size, telling myself that once I lost 5 lbs, I would be able to wear it. If you’re in the process of losing weight and you know your size is declining, then it makes sense to purchase an item for when you lose that 5 pounds. But when you’re not actively losing weight, and you just wish you were 5 pounds lighter, then it makes no sense to purchase your incorrect size.
I’m investing in my clothes. I made a shift in where I shop. I have decided to invest in higher quality pieces that can last in my closet for a long time. (I use “can” very purposefully here. Our styles change, and we need to allow ourselves the ability to shift and change as our tastes do.) I’m learning which brands are actually higher-quality, compared to which brands just up their prices without real necessity. I also want to start shopping at more ethical companies. This means companies with strict ethical rules and conditions in their factories. This also ups the price, however, I am willing to pay more for such a notion.
I’m shopping my closet first. One of the biggest changes I’ve made is shopping my closet before I shop a store. Creating monthly capsule wardrobes allows me to better understand how each piece in my closet can be styled in various ways, and also helps me to better understand what’s missing from my closet. I have around three pairs of what I consider to be “flowy pants” in my closet that I purchased last Summer (2019). I anticipate that these pants will be in my monthly capsules until the weather begins to cool down. Just by trying these pants and other items I’ve had stored away in my “Spring” box on, I’ve already figured out that my style this Spring and Summer will probably consist of various styles of flowy pants, basic tops, and mules.
I’m trying to shop more sustainably & ethically. As I mentioned before, I want to shop at more sustainable and ethical brands. Another way to do this is by second-hand shopping. I feel there is still a stigma around thrifting. Yes, it does take longer because you have to sort through each item. And yes, other people have worn the clothes. But I feel that if we are okay donating our clothes, then we should be okay wearing other peoples’ as well. I haven’t had much luck shopping at thrift stores, but I also feel I haven’t taken the proper time needed to sort through each clothing rack and find the hidden gems. If you’re interested in how to get started with secondhand shopping, Carrie Dayton has amazing YouTube videos showing how to thrift well.
This is a process.
Changing my shopping habits is a constant process. I have days that I want to purchase all kinds of things, and I have to actively self-talk and remind myself why I’m on this journey:
– I want to be smart with my money.
– I want less clothes and more versatile pieces.
– I want to be part of the positive change.
Brands are listening. Change is happening.
And guess what? Brands are listening. Yesterday, I saw a Target commercial where they were advertising more sustainable and ethical fabrics for their clothing. Our voices are clearly being heard. But we have so much more work to do. There are still so many factories where the conditions are horrendous. This is unacceptable. We may never meet the people working in those factories, but we wear their handiwork, so their lives should matter to us. These companies will hear us through our actions. We have to keep purchasing from more ethical brands and stop shopping fast fashion.
I hope this helped give insight into how and why I’m shopping differently. Have you recently changed how you shop? What are your thoughts on fast fashion, factory conditions, and ethical brands? I would love to start a discussion!