When I was 8 years old, my Mum took me shopping for a new outfit to wear to the school disco. I chose a grape coloured two-piece with a black elastic belt (it was the 80s). I can still vividly remember the intense excitement I felt getting something new. I wore that outfit for years and passed it on to a neighbour when I could no longer squeeze into it.
New clothes were a big deal back then – I remember having less, wearing things more and valuing what we had. Granted it wasn’t all rosy – there were a lot of hand-me-down, unisex corduroys that I could have done without – but looking back I reckon there’s a few things we can learn from our wardrobes of the past.
These days, fashion trends launch at an eye-watering pace – the sheer volume of clothing being produced is staggering. We’ve become a lot more disposable in our consumption of clothes and it’s having an enormous impact on the planet.
The awesome news is that living a bit lighter when it comes to our wardrobe is really simple… we need to buy less. It’s not about going without, it’s just about breaking the autopilot of consumption and making conscious choices.
Here’s my top hacks for slowing our consumption when it comes to clothes:
- Love it: There’s one simple philosophy that has changed everything for me when it comes to clothing. I only have things in my wardrobe that I love. I know it sounds overly simplistic and cliché, but when you really lean into the idea, it works. When I try things on, it’s a cold, hard conversation with myself – do I love it and feel really good in it? Am I happy wearing it over and over again? If not, then it doesn’t make the cut.
- Again and again: It’s easy to feel like people are going to judge us for wearing the same thing all the time – but it turns out no one really cares! Psychology even has a name for it – ‘the spotlight effect’. It turns out that we think people notice us way more than they actually do – apparently we’re all far too busy thinking about ourselves. So wear that same outfit again and again with pride!
- Share the love: Whether it’s from your mates or through the magic of the internet – borrowing, swapping and renting clothes is a brilliant way to get variety without the impact. If I need something for a special occasion, I’ll shop my mates wardrobes or hit up a website like All the Dresses and find something to rent.
Slowing our fashion consumption isn’t about going without, it’s about re-connecting with the value of things and it feels really good.