I used to be a sucker for fashion and buy into all the latest trends, every sale and promotion going had me impulsively buying things that I didn’t need, and in the process, I thought I was saving money! I know, it makes no sense, but this is how most people STILL shop. Reality hit me when I took a Buying and Merchandising unit at University – it was like being slapped in the face with a wet fish! I wasn’t a smart shopper, I was every fashion retailers dream customer. The big red sale sign that says “Up to 70% OFF” is an illusion. Here’s what actually happened… the retailer bought too much stock, or stocked up on fads (short-lived trends) that didn’t sell, so they offload them onto impulsive shoppers. You can try to convince yourself that the salmon, over-sized, cocoon shaped coat was exactly what you needed in Autumn/Winter 2014 but count how many times you’ve worn it. You probably wore it for a couple of weeks when you first bought it, and maybe pulled it out a couple of times after. The salmon pink coat was my purchase (guilty) and no, I no longer have it – I sold it online.
Thankfully, I am older and wiser now, however, I still have a salmon blazer from 4 years ago that I have never worn, don’t judge me this was a purchase from my sucker days, and it’s such a hard colour to match. Nevertheless, I’ve learnt my lesson and I’m here to help you take the steps to becoming a conscious fashion shopper.
“Buy less, choose well, make it last”
To help you use the information below, I’ve identified two different types of fashion shoppers, choose the one that you find most fitting. The self-proclaimed fashionista (always up to date with the latest), and modest shoppers (people who care about their presentation but don’t priorities fashion trends). The modest shoppers only need steps 1 to 3 and the fashionistas should use all 5 steps. Once you’ve identified yourself follow the next three steps.
STEP 1. Identify KEY ITEMS for your wardrobe
Identify they key pieces of clothing you need to suit your lifestyle. For example; if you’re a student your wardrobe may need casual, comfortable and trendy clothes, a working mother may need smart, easy to care for clothes and a young professional may need more shirts and dresses.
STEP 2. Choose 4 colours for your staple wardrobe
Choose colours that complement each other. My colours this winter are, navy, beige, khaki, and white (I know white isn’t a colour, but it is in my wardrobe). This helps you to buy things that will work with the clothes you already have, it also allows you to mix and match your outfits with ease.
STEP 3. Make a note of all the items that are missing
*Tip* when you see a “sale” these are the items to look
out for, and that’s how you end up with a REAL bargain (thank me later)! **Wiggles eyebrows***
The next two steps are for the fearless fashionistas to create a more expressive wardrobe.
STEP 4. Get Inspired
If you follow trends and celebrities, have a look at what they’re wearing, flick through some fashion magazines, and now my blog is here I’ll keep you up to date on this too. If you don’t follow trends and have your own unique style you may want to do some people watching, make sure you go to areas that reflect your style.
STEP 5. Buy Stand Out Pieces
Once you have your wardrobe inspiration you can use this to buy STAND OUT pieces that you can wear for occasions and everyday. You may have to shop around for this, go to vintage stores and boutiques for something different *Tip if you want to stand out in summer you may want to choose a pair of unique sunglasses winter. In winter, buy a coat that matches your personality, preferably in a colour that compliments most of your outfits (unlike my salmon over-sized cocoon shaped coat). If you go for a time less cut or something vintage that’s well made, it’ll last year after year.
These are a few of the steps that were crucial to me evolving as a fashion consumer, now my eyes are open to the illusions of sale signs. More importantly, becoming more aware of your shopping habits is a step in the direction towards a more ethical life, which is better for your purse, the people who make your clothes and our environment.
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