You can easily know if you should buy any new garment if you ask the right questions beforehand. When making a clothing purchase, it's essential to get relevant answers to avoid making mistakes.
When going out shopping or surfing an online clothing store, make sure you have all the information you need. Otherwise, you risk losing time, money, and precious space in your closet.
Fashion is also one of the most polluting industries in the world. It produces massive amounts of waste, pollution, and greenhouse gases every year.
Thankfully, you have the power to drive positive change in the global textile and apparel industry. Invest in quality, long-lasting clothing that you truly like and plan to wear.
To help you make more mindful purchasing decisions as a conscious consumer, here are essential and insanely helpful questions you need to ask before buying new clothes.
1. Do I truly like this clothing piece?
The first set to know if you should buy each garment you find is to ask yourself if you truly like it. Is it absolutely you and does it match your expectations?
2. Would I buy the same clothes again?
You should like and wear every fashion item you own. If you feel like you wouldn't buy it again, you probably don't need or want it enough. If you can't think of at least one reason you'd buy each garment again, don't buy it in the first place.
3. Do I have something to wear this garment with?
Every clothing piece you plan to purchase should fit with the rest of your wardrobe. If you can't put together an outfit you like right away with your new investment, it's a sign to avoid it. If an item will hardly ever be in your rotation of clothes, don't buy it.
4. Are the clothes I plan to buy on my shopping list?
You should invest in clothing that fits your unique style, that you will enjoy wearing over and over again. To do so, make a good plan and list what you need to complete your wardrobe and craft beautiful outfits before buying new clothes. Look for pieces that match your current needs.
5. Can I think of one occasion I will wear this garment?
If you can't picture yourself wearing each garment you see in-store at least on one occasion, it's not a good investment to make for your wardrobe. Leave space for new and better items you truly plan to wear and have earned a rightful place in your closet.
6. Does this new clothing item fit my fashion style?
You don't need clothes that don't fit your clothing style and aren't you at all. Make sure you only buy the clothing pieces that do it for you. It's easier to do so if you already know your fashion style and what kind of clothes you regularly like to wear.
7. Do I already own a similar garment?
You don't need every color of the same clothing piece. It's understandable to have multiples if you particularly love one style. Simply buy only the best ones. You can't wear them all as often anyway.
8. Do the clothes I am buying fit me perfectly?
There is no need to buy clothes that won't fit you perfectly. If they are one size too big or too small, don't make an unnecessary purchase. Loose-fitting clothes don't look chic or elegant. And clothes that are too small are just uncomfortable.
9. Is this clothing piece of good quality?
Don't buy garments with poor construction or cheap materials. It will simply fall apart quickly and you won't be able to wear it as often as you'd like.
Only purchase high-quality clothing and avoid pieces that will rip, pill out, lose buttons, or threads. Well-made garments made from durable and resistant materials are better.
High-quality clothing might be more expensive when you buy it but you will save money in the long run by having to change clothes less often.
Think carefully about how you spend your money on clothes. Take a step back and invest in a smaller number of high-quality pieces, instead of many garments that you only wear just a few times.
10. Do I have space left in my closet?
Think about how much room you have left at home before buying new clothes. If you have no space left for them, it doesn't make any sense to make a new purchase.
Make space in your closet before buying new garments. Go through your clothes to find what clothing pieces you should keep and what you can get rid of.
If you lack space, extra storage space might help you. Try to add shelves, bars, baskets, boxes, use corners, organizers, clothing racks, special hangers, and stack your shoes.
11. Is this new garment comfortable enough?
Clothing is your second skin. It should make you feel confident and comfortable at all times. Only buy clothes that you will love to wear and avoid the rest. Make every piece in your closet a winner.
It's a good idea to try each garment on before you buy it. If you can't, then consider not buying. Even returning or exchanging clothing sizes costs an excessive amount of time, money, and resources.
12. Are these clothes too expensive?
Buying fancy pieces that are out of your budget won't necessarily help you have a great style. On the contrary, that's what you do when you don't know much about fashion.
You don't need to shop for expensive, luxury clothing to look fabulous. It's sometimes difficult to resist the urge of spending your monthly budget on upscale brands. But try to only buy clothes that are within your budget.
13. Is this clothing piece classic and timeless?
Simple fashion aesthetics are good for the eye, the planet, and your budget. Invest in classic and timeless pieces to keep your look minimal and original.
Oftentimes, less is more. Pick versatile pieces that you can combine easily into different outfits. It's an easy way to dress well and improve the way you look and feel.
14. What are the clothes made of?
Most materials used by garment manufacturers are wasteful and highly polluting. It's much better for the environment if you purchase clothes made with eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics.
It helps a lot to reduce the disastrous environmental impact of fashion. Buy new clothes made from materials that reduce pollution, energy consumption, water usage, chemical release, and greenhouse gas emissions.
15. Can I find a comparable second-hand garment?
There are many advantages of shopping for used clothes. You can easily increase your clothing budget by buying pre-loved garments. Using resale shops or online marketplaces is a great way to find unique pieces that nobody else is wearing.
16. Who made the garment?
Ask where and how the clothes you plan to buy were made. Unfortunately, not all apparel brands and retailers are transparent with this information.
Many fashion brands even hide that they use unsafe factories, forced labor, child labor, and sweatshop-like working conditions to produce their clothes. They abuse farmers, workers, and animals in their supply chain.
Follow my guide on how to check if a fashion brand is ethical to make sure the clothes you are about to buy were made with the highest social standards.
17. Do I believe in this clothing brand?
Is the fashion label you are about to support transparent, accessible, responsible, and accountable? Always ask for more information if you can't find it yourself.
Look at what kind of values the clothing brand stands for. Search for its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies.
The more information it shares about its social and environmental impact, the better. If they avoid your questions, it's a sign to buy from someone else.
18. Does the brand have a certification?
To guarantee solid working conditions and environmental standards in every step of the supply chain, look for certifications from third-party organizations.
Certifications and quality marks are important to ensure that textile products are manufactured with responsible use of resources and the least possible impact on people, animals, and the environment.
19. What happens to unsold garments?
Fashion brands and retailers don’t just keep every item until it sells. They don't place it back for sale when you return it every time either.
Many large clothing companies burn billions' worth of clothes every year, instead of reselling or recycling them.
Ask each brand what happens to clothes that don't sell and the items you return to get a clear picture of their sustainability efforts.
20. Are these clothes cruelty-free?
The global textile and apparel industry slaughters billions of animals each year to make fur, leather, wool, silk, or down clothing. A lot of animal cruelty happens daily in the fashion industry.
Animals such as pigs, cows, rabbits, foxes, birds, sheep are enslaved, exploited, subjected to painful treatments, and exposed to dangerous substances with long-term disastrous effects on ecosystems and human health.
No welfare standard makes fur, wool, silk, down, or leather production ethical. It's cruel to mass-produce animal-derived products when we don't have to.
Follow my guide on how to tell if a fashion brand is cruelty-free to only buy ethically sourced, responsibly made, vegan clothing.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.
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