Hello Darlings! I’ve been thinking about my wardrobe a lot lately. I’m thinking about purchases I’ve made, purchases I want to make, and things I have that I need to wear or need to get rid of. I’m no stranger to shopping and retail. Quite a number of retail jobs are on my resume list, from stylist, to management, and more. Then, going to school for fashion design, and now being a blogger/designer, taught me a whole other level of the retail industry. Like any person who loves to shop, I also like to get a good deal and I like to feel good about the product that I’m buying. So today I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks on shopping designer for less and helping the planet too.
Part of shopping is the love of the hunt, finding the perfect item that suits your wardrobe and the occasion. But that sometimes comes with a price: the retail and fashion industry as a whole isn’t committed to production practices that are sustainable. It’s no secret that the industry is environmentally detrimental as well as has production practices that are less than ethical. Has anyone watched The True Cost? Let me know in the comments below if you have..it’s such an eye opening documentary about the industry. I’ve been on a mission for the last year or so to make my wardrobe more ethical, more sustainable, more ‘conscious’ without having to compromise on my personal aesthetic and style. And even though I’ve been on this mission, I still love traditional fashion; I love designer clothing, I like certain ‘trendy’ clothing as well, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve been in love with fashion for as long as I can remember, and as a designer and artist myself, that love will never leave me. So how do I feel good about the purchases I make without compromising on one of my loves in life?
My secret? Buy used – or consignment.
I’m sure many of you have never entered a consignment store before. Or maybe you have this image of being in Goodwill, searching for some amazing ‘mom’ jeans that are so trendy these days. My advice? Throw all of these perceptions out the window and start with and open mind and open heart.
I scored this amazing Ulla Johnson maxi dress at a local upscale consignment boutique called Summerbird. If you’re from Charlotte, you probably know about this boutique. The owner Tracy carries amazing pieces that completely suit my romantic, bohemian, artistic aesthetic. She also carries some pieces from independent designers as well as jewelry designers. The dress isn’t from the latest collection, and is sold out online, but that is sort of the beauty of it. It’s a special piece that I have that I love, and the style is timeless, so I will be able to link some similar options for you to shop. Here is the link to the original dress.
Through shopping consignment, I’ve found some amazing designer items for so much less than you would pay retail. I think though, one of my top tips is: cultivate your personal aesthetic. This tip will help you a lot when shopping consignment or used because you will already know what kinda of pieces you like to wear and you won’t just be searching for trendy items or looking for ‘whats hot right now’. Not that this is a bad thing, because many of the consignment boutiques I’ve been to get so many ‘hot’ items as well. Places like Buffalo Exchange buy up trendy items really well, and the one in Charlotte is a place I frequent.
My second tip for shopping consignment is to follow some of the local consignment boutiques in your area on social media. This is helpful because you’ll be able to see exactly what items they’re getting in and if you see something you like, you can always call, or send them a private message and say you want the item. Often these boutiques only have one of something, so if you love it, you want to make sure they still have it or even could be willing to ship to you if you aren’t in the area. Going to local boutiques in your area is also great because you can touch, feel, and see the items before you purchase them.
My third tip for shopping used or consignment is to do it online. there are so many great online options for this, I find it hard to believe more people don’t do it. My favorite online options are The Real Real, Tradesy, and Thredup. I like these websites because they are easy to navigate, put in your sizes, and also the brands are authenticated. I.e. if you buy a Louis Vuitton bag, you will know it isn’t a fake. They also list in good detail any wear/spot/damage to the item so you know exactly what you’re getting into. This way you can shop designer for less and get exactly what you signed up for too.
My next tip? Use Poshmark! Poshmark is an app you can download on your phone and buy and sell gently used (or new!) clothing, accessories, and jewelry. I think this app is seriously a godsend. You take photos of your items, write a description, set a price, and list it! People can offer less that what you list it for, and it’s up to you to decide the final price of the item. Then Poshmark sends you a shipping label that you print out, you pack it, and ship it via Postal Service. It is seriously so easy to use. Poshmark does take a small percentage of the sale, but to me, it’s worth it. You can look up my closet on the app, just search my name Aubrey Busek! I’m planning on listing a bunch of items this weekend for sale! My tips for Poshmark are take as good of photos of the items as you can in natural light so someone can see the truest colors. List pertinent information about the item and any wear and tear so people know. Pack it well for shipping, because things can get damaged in postal service.
Here’s a great article from Harper’s Bazaar about online consignment:
Shopping gently used, consignment fashion is also good for the planet. So, it will make you feel good inside! Here are some facts that you should know about the fast fashion industry as told in The True Cost Movie from a blog post on 1 Million Women:
1. The fashion industry is the world’s second-largest polluter.
Right behind the oil industry!
2. The world now consumes a staggering 80 billion pieces of clothing each year.
This is up 400% from two decades ago.
3. One-in-six people work in the global fashion industry.
A majority of these workers are women earning less than $3 per day.
4. 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years.
Partly as a result of going into debt to buy genetically modified cotton seeds, courtesy of Monsanto.
5. Only 10% of the clothes people donate to charity or thrift stores get sold.
The rest end up in landfills or flooding markets in developing countries like Haiti where they are bought by the box and kill the local industry. ** I.E. Shop at these stores more! Hence this post
(facts and captions from blog post on 1 Million Women)
These facts cannot be unlearned. Once you know, the more you’ll want to know, and want to start consuming less. Buying used means you get to breathe life into a garment, or accessory that someone no longer wants and instead of donating that garment to charity or throwing it in the trash, you get to wear it, show it love, and make it your own. Plus, when you shop consignment, often times garments still have tags on them! So they are still ‘brand new’. Also, if you sell your own items on consignment as well, you’ll make some $$ too!
Trust me, this post isn’t meant at all to make you feel bad, or guilty. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always make perfect buying decisions. But, I hope that this post empowers you to try a new shopping habit. Hit up the consignment stores in your city with your friends, see what kind of gems you find!
What are your top tips for shopping designer for less? I’d love to hear your comments below.