The Cost Of Fashion

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fashion… to some that may sound trivial and superficial, but I love fashion. I’ve worked in retail off and on at various times in my life and now have my own business as an Independent Stella & Dot Stylist so I still have a passion for fashion, but particularly over the last two years, I’ve been more conscious of where I shop and how often (which my bank balance has definitely thanked me for). I tried to only shop to replace things (although stupidly, often ended up buying multiples that are now sat in a pile in my flat still with tags on), or if I needed a specific item for an occasion rather than impulse buying.

It’s a long time since I bought into trends in that whole ‘must have’ dress that’s all over Social Media or the quick turn around that shops have for their new collections. Until recently, I pretty much lived in skater dresses, tunic dresses or skinny jeans and various tops/jumpers so nothing overly exciting.

Since being on a weight loss journey this year, I have had to replace a lot of my clothes, but I decided that I would do a wardrobe edit to clear out my wardrobe and sell things on Ebay/Vinted/Depop… Having a clear out was pretty cathartic, even if I did find multiple items with tags still on. I even went through all the summer clothes (I was supposed to be going to the sun over Christmas, but we had a change of plan, so heading down south instead), so I have also listed some summer clothes etc. on Ebay, but this is the wrong time of year to be listing them, so I might de-list them and re-list them after Christmas or just donate them to charity to stop them cluttering up my tiny flat. Thankfully, I’ve managed to sell some things so at least people are getting some use out of things that would have sat in a bag in my wardrobe for months on end. Anything that doesn’t sell will be donated to charity. I think I still need to be a bit more ruthless, and I haven’t even tackled the shoes yet, but it’s a work in progress.

Anyways, replacing clothes… I began to make a list of some of the things I needed and I realised I was automatically listing the same types of things that I was selling, so I took some time and paused to think about my style and realised that I’ve changed and my style has changed, so I didn’t rush into things…

I wanted to begin to  buy things that would last and would work hard in my wardrobe with other things that I already own or that I would buy over time to compliment one another.

I did think about doing a capsule wardrobe but thought I would get bored too quickly (although at the moment, because it’s cold and I don’t have much that fits, I suppose I am doing some form of capsule).

First up, I knew that I needed a pair of black jeans so I ordered them before Tesco’s website was taken down in July and I just picked up another pair (a size smaller) a couple of weeks ago as my current pair are getting too big. I love these jeans and they fit really well, so these will last a while (or until I lose another dress size and at which point I’ll sell them on). The next thing on my list was a pinafore dress (I wrote a whole blog about pinafore dresses here), I had wanted one for ages but couldn’t find one I liked, then like buses, three came along at once… Fat Face brought out the Dedee Cord Pinafore  which is what I originally wanted, but it was sold out when I went in store, so I picked up the Susan Denim Pinafore instead. I now have the Dedee Cord Pinafore in green as well as navy and I love all three of them and wear them a lot. They are good quality and as I lose more weight, I can take them to a seamstress to get them taken in.

At the moment, this is pretty much my outfits, pinafore dresses or my black skinny jeans or blue skinny jeans with various tops, but since it’s getting colder I need to think about jumpers… I have some fine knits and a sweatshirt but no chunky knit jumpers.

If you’ve been following me on here or Instagram for a wee while, you might have seen my post about the mustard cardigan. I bought a long chunky knit mustard cardigan from Topshop. I love it. It’s so cozy and it will last for years. I’ve still got a cream Topshop cardigan from 5 years ago and I love it. It has seen better days now so it may need replaced.

Topshop Mustard Cardigan

I still need to tackle some of my cardigans and decide whether to keep, sell or donate them. It’s a time consuming process but so worth it.

I am heading out shopping with a personal stylist friend of mine tomorrow to talk through styles and shapes that suit me and how best to invest in key pieces that will work in my wardrobe for years, these will be purchased mainly from the high street but not with a fast fashion mindset.

A fortnight ago I watched Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets and it totally stopped me in my tracks… If you wear clothes and I assume most of you do,then it’s definitely worth watching to gain an insight into the fashion industry that you may not otherwise know.

I knew fast fashion was bad and that all too often the clothes we discard end up in landfill, I often thought of all the packaging and plastic from online deliveries and how much waste there is, but I didn’t think too much about what goes in to the actual making of the clothes.

The dye and chemicals used in designing our clothes is polluting rivers in countries where our clothes are made, meaning people have no fresh drinking water or water to wash their clothes and they are also suffering from skin irritations due to the chemicals in the water but the factories continue to produce fashion to meet the demand.

On average it takes 20,000 litres of water to produce on kilogram of cotton – that’s the equivalent weight of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

I was aware of how harmful it often is to the workers who produce the clothes, but I was shocked to learn how harmful fashion can be to the environment.

I’m not necessarily saying I’m going to completely stop shopping the high street, I can’t afford to… but I am going to think more about where and what I purchase and make sure what I buy will work in my wardrobe for a long time, investing a bit more in quality over quantity and trying to apply the logic that if a top/skirt/pair of trousers won’t work with 3 outfits then it’s potentially not a keeper (with the exception of evening dresses/outfits for weddings etc).

I have often thought of shopping more ethically. I do like to buy H&M conscious pieces in store/online when I can, but there aren’t many affordable ethical and sustainable brands available in the U.K.

Here’s a few I’ve come across recently:

Some of these look great (depending on your style and budget). I love that they are sustainable and ethical but the price point still is a bit higher than the high street. I guess making a change takes getting used to and it’s about investing in fewer high quality pieces that will last longer.

I’ve not tried any of them yet, but would definitely consider them… they have some great pieces and their sale prices are pretty similar to other stores… so it’s maybe worth waiting for a sale.

Seasalt Cornwall

Nancy Dee

People Tree

Bibico

Komodo

Or… another way to do sustainable fashion is to pick up pre-loved pretties on eBay/Vinted/Depop or at your local charity shop.

Have you tried any ethical/sustainable brands? What would you recommend? I’d love to know.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Gill x

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3 thoughts

  1. Great post. I also watched that documentary and it’s astounding. The future scares me in terms of our attitude to clothes, there is so much waste. I’ve trying to do my bit by cutting down in general, donating or selling. Thinking of buying second hand and your post persuaded me to so thank you for that 🙂

    Like

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