A topic widely discussed in the fashion industry at the moment, and something which is only going to become more important and scrutinised over the coming years. Of course, as consumers we can’t be completely responsible for the conditions of workers and the methods carried out to create the products we love, but we can do our best to be aware and make informed choices. I have written a separate post on fast fashion and which high street brands are the best in terms of working conditions and environmental considerations which is here.
Also, I would like to mention that not everyone has the budget to go for high quality goods which have the best fashion ethics, so I do sit on the fence a little when other bloggers and influencers are highly criticised for their fashion choices. I think we can all just try our best by buying wisely and recycle as best as we can in our own circumstances (no hate here please)!
What Is It Made Of?
The first thing I do when purchasing from a more affordable store is look at the material of what I am buying. If it looks questionable in the photo I usually don’t even bother looking at what it is made from, however if it looks ok I will see if there is information on the material. The main thing I like to check is knitwear and jumpers. I think that you can get away with cheaper quality t-shirts and denim as long as the style is ok, however cheap knitwear just makes me cringe. I don’t spend an extortionate amount on knitwear, and am more than happy to wear cheaper brands, but I am particular about how the knit looks.
Will You Actually Wear It?
I find that a lot of sites selling trend pieces put really extravagant and eclectic outfits together, which look exciting because they are on a skinny, tanned, 6ft something model who is clearly not just popping to Waitrose to do the weekly shop. My question in this case is, will you actually wear it? Yeah those camo trousers look great, but you love to wear boots, not heels with fishnets day to day, so will they fit to your wardrobe, have you got things to pair them with and most importantly, will you actually wear them or was it just the illusion of the ‘cool trendy model’ swaying your decision. No matter how cheap it is, if you aren’t going to wear it then it’s a waste of your money.
How Long Will It Last?
This is kind of my benchmark for whether I purchase or not. If it is a basic plain tee that I will wear everyday under jumpers for a season and its £5 – gimme. It will last and do its job, but if it doesn’t wash overly well or starts to fade, after a few months of wear I am happy to recycle and start again for £5. If I am buying a winter coat and it is on the lower budget end and is around £40 but probably won’t last me through the full season and will end up being something I wear for 3 weeks then never again – there really is no point.
Is It Worth The Money?
Think about what you are happy to spend on what items and stick to it. I always go into these stores or onto their sites with a price point in mind. ‘For this store I won’t spend more than £10 on one item because its not worth it’, then I realise after scrolling through 20 pages that I have suddenly decided that £50 is ok to spend on a jacket and £20 on a top is probably fine? No! If you set yourself a budget or had a price point in mind before, there was probably a reason for it. Don’t let the marketing and pretty models sway you (guilty, guilty, guilty), stick to what you started with and remember that you can invest in better pieces elsewhere if you want them to be longer lasting and better quality.
I usually have a quick look on mid to high-end sites to compare before ordering as if I think a pair of boots are great at £20, but I can get a more durable and more expensive looking pair from Topshop for £36 (literally just happened to me), then to be honest, I’d rather spend the extra money and have an item I know will last longer and probably look nicer.
Don’t Go Wild.
I am soooo guilty of this by the way, but there is something that happens when you think you are getting so many steals. I intend on getting a dress and a pair of boots and because its lower budget I expect to pay around £30 for both, but suddenly there are dresses for £10 each, shoes for £15, tops for £7 and I am on a shopping frenzy! Next thing I know I have £180 worth of stuff in my bag that I can’t seem to reduce down because it’s so cheap and everything seems so worth it. DON’T DO THIS (unless you have the money to burn and you are going to recycle your unused clothes properly), because chances are you don’t NEED all of these things and they will be a waste of money.
Make Use Of Returns.
Again, something I am guilty of but very very careful about now is making sure I return items that don’t fit properly or that weren’t quite what I expected. I don’t mean to dwell on the negatives, but there are going to be things that do disappoint, or don’t quite fit properly, or that you just don’t think you will wear. I always then either think ‘i’ll just keep hold of it just incase’ or I totally forget to go to the post office and miss the returns window. Please don’t do this! Most places pay for returns and send you a return label so it’s not even like its costing money to send back, it’s laziness or forgetfulness and again, it’s money you could be putting towards something that you really want!
Check out – ‘Converse‘