There are a few important things to consider when making a clothing purchase to avoid mistakes, increase your budget, and protect the planet.
Save time, money, and precious space in your closet for the clothes you truly like and wear.
To help you make more mindful purchasing decisions as a conscious consumer, here are important things you need to consider when buying clothes.
1. The materials and fabrics
Don't buy garments made from low-quality and cheap materials. They will simply fall apart quickly and you won't be able to wear them as often as you'd like.
Most materials used by clothing manufacturers are wasteful and highly polluting. It's much better for the environment, your budget, and your wardrobe if you only purchase clothes made from high-quality and sustainable fabrics.
You will help reduce the disastrous environmental impact of fashion if you buy clothes made from natural and organic materials that lower pollution, energy consumption, water usage, chemical release, and greenhouse gas emissions.
2. The garment construction quality
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.
Cheap, trendy clothing is usually low-quality and doesn't look elegant or refined. You'll quickly realize you have nothing to wear if you buy poorly-made clothes.
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. Invest in essential, high-quality, and elegant pieces that are also uncomplicated and stylish.
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.
3. The size and fit
Don't buy clothes that don't fit you perfectly. If they are one size too big or too small, don't make an unnecessary purchase. Don't put on clothes that don't fit right. Otherwise, your risk losing style and elegance.
Avoid any tops that are too large, wide dresses, and baggy pants that hide your shape and make your body appear larger than it is. Loose-fitting clothes don't look chic or elegant. And clothes that are too small are just uncomfortable.
The right clothes for your body type make your best features look proportionate and even stand out. Highlighting your most attractive traits is crucial to dress well, especially if you want to impress.
Wear well-fitting clothes that showcase your unique assets, accentuate your best features, skims your figure, emphasize your waist, and make you look fabulous.
4. The hand feel and comfort
The clothes we wear are our second skin. They should make us feel confident and comfortable at all times. Only buy clothes that you will love to wear and avoid anything that feels uncomfortable.
It's a good idea to try on every garment before you buy it. If you can't, then consider not buying. Remember that even returning or exchanging clothing sizes costs an excessive amount of time, money, and resources.
5. The retail price
You don't need to shop for expensive, luxury clothing to look fabulous. Resist the urge of spending all your monthly budget on upscale brands. Instead, try to buy clothes that are more within your price range.
Buying fancy pieces that are too expensive won't necessarily help you have a great style. On the contrary, that's what people do when they don't know much about fashion.
There are many simple ways to afford beautiful fashion even if you don't want to spend too much. Think outside the box to easily renew your wardrobe with fabulous pieces that help you look your best without breaking the bank.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking you cannot look great without spending tons of money on clothes. You can easily dress well for cheap, even if your budget is limited.
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. If you focus on quality instead of quantity, you will improve your look drastically.
6. The garment durability
Consider only buying durable and versatile clothing pieces that last a long time and that you can combine easily into different outfits. Classic and timeless garments won't go out of style easily and help you dress well.
Simple fashion aesthetics are good for the eye, the planet, and your budget. Invest in durable garments to keep your look minimal and original and improve the way you look and feel.
7. The prints, patterns, and colors
If you choose the perfect combination of prints, patterns, and colors that go well together, you'll improve your look and dress better.
Wearing colors can instantly make you stand out, more attractive, and confident. Don't wear colors that are too bold but don't shy away from colors completely.
Prefer neutral colors that you can mix and match easily to make your outfits chic and classy. Neutral colors make clothes very versatile and timeless and they can work with any outfit.
You can wear classic colors all year-round effortlessly. Choose a few bright and colorful pieces to add a twist to your wardrobe and improve your look by giving a particular nuance to your outfits.
8. The manufacturer
Consider the garment manufacturer when buying clothes. Ask where and how the raw materials were produced, how the dyeing, cutting, and sewing of the garment took place.
Unfortunately, not all apparel brands and retailers are transparent with this information. Many fashion brands even use unsafe factories, forced labor, child labor, and sweatshop-like working conditions.
Follow my guide on how to check if a fashion brand is ethical to make sure the clothes you buy were made under the highest standards.
9. Certification standards
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.
10. Second-hand options
Consider second-hand options when buying clothes. There are many advantages of shopping for used clothes. You can easily increase your clothing budget by buying pre-loved garments instead of brand new ones.
Visiting resale shops or online marketplaces to buy vintage clothes is a great way to have fun and find unique, stylish, original pieces that nobody else is wearing.
11. Animal welfare
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 need to.
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.
Follow my guide on how to tell if a fashion brand is cruelty-free to only buy ethically sourced, responsibly made, vegan clothing.
12. Your gut feeling
To know if you should buy a new garment, simply consider the style, shape, cut, silhouette, and ask yourself if you truly like them.
Are these clothes absolutely you and do you feel like you could wear them for a long time?
13. Your clothing style
You don't need clothes that don't fit your fashion style and aren't you at all. Make sure you only buy clothing pieces that do it for you.
If you already know your fashion style and what kind of clothes you regularly like to wear, it will be easier for you.
Experiment to figure out your preferred style if you don't know the best look for you yet. Try out different clothing combinations until you find the perfect match for your preferences and body type.
Use your creativity and express yourself and find a style that is all about you, showing your personality and showcasing your best features through originality, confidence, and uniqueness.
Don't hesitate to be a little creative with your outfits and push yourself out of your comfort zone. There are so many different fashion styles to try out there.
14. The space in your closet
Think about how much space you have left in your closet when buying clothes. If you have no room for them at home, 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.
15. The rest of your wardrobe
Every clothing piece you buy should fit with the rest of your wardrobe. Build a conscious wardrobe with classic garments that last and go well together.
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.
You can make every piece you own a winner by simply making the most out of your closet and choosing the right collection of clothes that go well together.
When buying clothes and building your wardrobe, put simplicity first. Remove unneeded extras to enhance your overall style. You can easily improve the way you dress by keeping a simple wardrobe.
16. The possible duplicates
Avoid having garments that are too similar in your wardrobe. You don't need every color of the same clothing piece.
It's understandable to have multiples if you particularly love one style. But only buy the best ones. You can't wear them all as often anyway.
17. Your shopping list
You need to invest in apparel that fits your unique style, that you will enjoy wearing over and over again if you want to save money, improve your dressing style, and protect the environment.
It's easy to do if you make a good plan and list what you need to complete your wardrobe before going out shopping.
Think of the pieces you need to complete your wardrobe and craft beautiful outfits before buying new clothes.
18. The reasons behind your purchase
You should like and wear every garment, shoe, bag, accessory, and jewelry you own. If you feel like you wouldn't buy something again, consider delaying your purchase.
You probably don't need or want it enough if you can't think of at least one reason you'd buy a garment again.
Simply don't buy it in the first place to avoid purchasing mistakes and make every clothing piece you own a winner.
19. Your outfit purpose
Try to think of at least one occasion for the outfit you are crafting and picture yourself wearing the garment before you buy it.
It's not a good investment to make for your wardrobe if you don't have a tangible purpose for it.
Make sure to truly plan to wear each clothing item you buy and ensure it has earned a rightful place in your closet.
20. The clothing brand
Is the fashion label you are about to support transparent, accessible, responsible, and accountable? Always consider the brand and its reputation when buying clothes.
Shop from the most ethical and sustainable brands. Many fashion companies add fair, organic, and affordable options to their collections.
The best fashion labels help you dress sustainably and protect the planet, the people, and the animals living on it. Buy clothing from brands that implement sustainable practices.
Look at what kind of values the apparel company 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 don't share this kind of information, it's a sign to buy clothes from someone else.
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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