Is It Time To Change Your Clothes Shopping Habits?

With issues such as the environment on everyone’s minds, many people are looking at ways to change their shopping habits for the better. Fashion is obviously still important – nobody is denying that. But more people are becoming conscious consumers, both for their own wellbeing and that of the environment. Over the past year (of lets be honest, not wearing much more than pyjamas) I’ve come to realise that less is more and buying clothes that will last me a few wears is actually not worth it at all. Here are some of the ways you could change your clothes shopping habits in 2021, that I’ve already started adopting myself. 

Look For Bargains

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The markup on some clothes is extraordinary. Fashion houses and designer brands will often charge ten times or more the cost of making or designing the garment. Of course, you don’t have to pay these kinds of high prices if you know where to look. Going to a fashion outlet, for instance, allows you to buy lines that didn’t sell during the season for massively discounted prices. Thus, you get all that quality, for a much lower fee. I am quite lucky and live really close to a few top designer outlets and so often manage to get some absolute bargains! 

Think Before You Buy

We all know what it’s like when we see something that we like in the shops or on Instagram. We see it, and we want it. 

But it is worth allowing your brain to process this impulse before handing over the money. Ask yourself whether you actually need the item in question. Think about how you’ll wear it and when. Don’t just rush in because you see something in the sale. Ask yourself when it’ll make an appearance, and whether it’s worth it. I honestly avoid high-street sales this time of the year and instead look at places that I’ve been lusting after for a while. 

Nobody is saying that you shouldn’t buy new clothes. We all need to look our best. But having a mental filter in place makes it easier to make the right clothes decisions, allowing you to retain your budget for clothing items you’ll benefit from the most. Waiting can also help too, because if you still want it in a few months time, it’s also most likely to be in a sale! 

Make A Distinction Between Wants And Needs

It sounds basic, but a lot of people don’t make the distinction between what they “want” and what they “need.” 

Once you master this skill, however, it becomes much easier to make rational decisions when shopping. If something is in the “need” category, it means that you don’t have much of a choice whether you buy it or not. If all your socks have holes in them, buying new ones is not optional. 

Clothes shopping in the “want” category, however, feel a little different. You know what you’re doing is an indulgence. And that way, you can keep a better track of how much you’re spending. Stopping yourself and thinking about things before you run to the till can not only help you save cash but also stop yourself from adding to the current environmental issues around fast fashion. 

Think About Why You Want To Change Your Clothes Shopping Habits

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Depriving yourself for the sake of it is never fun. But when you understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, it becomes a lot easier. In other words, you need some sort of motivation. The reasons people change their shopping habits vary from person to person. For some, it is about sourcing clothing ethically or only wearing garments made of sustainable materials. For others, it’s about cutting the cost of clothes shopping and not always buying from designer stores. Sometimes, there’s a lot of joy in finding high-quality items for bargain prices. For me, it’s stopping my unnecessary spending and buying things for the sake of it. I’ve decided i’d rather spend on slightly more expensive items to invest in pieces that will last me – removing the amount I’m buying from ‘fast fashion’ shops. 

Having a philosophy behind your shopping habits can help you a great deal. It gives you a deep reason for changing your behavior and can help keep you motivated over the long-term. 

Stick To A Strict Budget

Nobody is saying that you shouldn’t go out and buy new clothes to make yourself look fashionable. But exceeding your budget is never a good idea. Doing so puts pressure on other aspects of your life and can lead to debt – not what you want. 

Having a budget for clothing, therefore, can help rein in your spending just like it does elsewhere in your life. Where possible, try to avoid spending more than 5 percent of your disposable income on clothing each month. Instead, try saving it and then splurging at special times of the year on the items that you really want. Watching the pennies grow in your savings account is honestly the best feeling (and sometimes puts me off spending haha).

Focus On Quality

As you browse for clothes in the store, you’ll often come across garments that look nice but aren’t high-quality. 

You know how owning these items goes: they look great for a couple of weeks but eventually begin fraying and you wind up having to throw them out. Or they last one holiday (remember when holidays were a thing?) and you throw them in the back of your wardrobe until the next year where you start all over again and forget all about them. 

This year, you might want to avoid purchases like these. Instead of considering only the price, you should also ask yourself how long you expect a particular piece of clothing to last you. In many cases, it’s worth spending a little extra for something that’s going to last ten years instead of just a couple of months.

Replace Shopping With Other Activities

Are you still struggling to change your clothes shopping habits? The trick might be to replace shopping with different activities. 

The options here are virtually endless. For instance, instead of spending money on a Saturday morning in town, you could go for a walk or do an activity instead. For me, I always tend to spend money when I’m sad, it’s almost a coping mechanism and something that 100% never makes me feel better in the long run. During the lockdowns I’ve saved so much by just not being near shops and it’s something I definitely want to keep up. Why is it that when I’m bored I always suggest shopping as something to do? I’m not made of money! 

Buy Sustainable Clothing

Not all clothing is sustainable, but there are now a host of brands that offer garments made of compostable materials. The options here are quite interesting. Bamboo clothing, for instance, uses fibers from bamboo reeds instead of synthetics, giving clothes a bouncy, stretchy feel. Other brands use pineapple fiber which produces a kind of crinkle-cut appearance for your clothing. 

Sustainable clothes are interesting because of how they work. They’re not biodegradable in the traditional sense. They won’t just start rotting if you leave them in the closet for too long. However, they are compostable, which means that if you leave them in a composting medium, they will eventually break down naturally. I have a few brands that I’m loving for sustainable brands right now such as Tala  and they’re definitely worth investing in.

Write A Shopping List

When was the last time you did an audit of your wardrobe to find out what you really need? Chances are that it was a long time ago. Rummaging through your clothes and then making a shopping list to plug the gaps can help. Ideally, you want a well-rounded wardrobe that includes everything you need for daily life. If you’re low on jackets, then you should prioritise these over, say, trousers. 

When creating a shopping list, try to look for items that naturally complement the clothes that you already have so that you can mix and match. It’s just the same as you would food shopping… what would make a good meal to add with the ingredients you already have?


Are you thinking about changing your clothes shopping habits for 2021?