“It’s an Investment”- Big Ticket Fashion Purchases

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Image credit: Ana Guisado

While I haven’t yet ventured down the luxury designer bag route, a lot of my loved ones have. As for me, jewellery and digital prints are my poison, so I’m the person who spends a lot of money on that. When people find out how much we’ve paid for something, there’s usually a horrified glance mixed in with some judgement as well. They always ask why. The typical response? “It’s an investment.”

It may be difficult to see how a designer bag or necklace could be an investment, but let’s stop comparing these items to houses and cars, and look at these purchases from a slow fashion perspective. People who spend a lot of money on particular fashion purchases are buying the brand, yes, but they’re also buying for quality. It’s the whole quality versus quantity argument. What would you rather have – six wallets that you like well enough individually or one wallet (that cost the same amount as the aforementioned six combined) that you absolutely love? When you’re shopping for things that last, quality and a timelessness of design are key, and if that happens to be an item that is incredibly expensive, then so be it.

TTS x

We Can’t All Be Macklemore – Thrift Shopping Musings

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Photo credit: two pink possums

We all have that friend. The person who seems to have a gift for finding good quality, interesting and completely awesome goods in an opshop. The person who loves going to markets because they score one-offs that make everyone jealous all the time. The person whose wardrobe is 90% composed of thrifted items but you wouldn’t know that until you asked because they style modern, fashionable outfits with pre-loved items you wouldn’t have a single clue what to do with.

I am not that person.

My mum is though. She’s always popping into the local Vinnies and always scores – silk shirts, cotton pants, comfortable leather shoes. And they’re always less than ten dollars. I used to go opshopping with my mum as a child up until high school and I was always rubbish at it. While I did my best to scour the racks looking for gems that I could bring to new life, more often than not my picks were almost-new clothes from well-known brands. The other times I’ve managed to add a little vintage/thrifted to my wardrobe have come from days out at Glebe Markets, the vintage shops in Newtown and countless hours looking at the vintage clothing tag in Etsy. In the end, only one or two pieces have managed to survive my regular wardrobe culls, with the rest sent back in donation bags to the opshops I was shopping at in the first place.

Maybe I’m just not a thrifter. I just don’t have the patience to go through racks upon racks of clothing, looking for gems like needles in a haystack. Maybe I’m not creative enough and miss out on items with the potential to be great.

Macklemore and fashion bloggers who are all for thift shopping make it look so easy.

Hopefully I’m not the only one who struggles with this…

TTS x

Who Made Your Clothes?

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Photo source: StudioTempura

Prompted by Fashion Revolution – I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who makes my clothes. Consumers generally know very little about the conditions that their clothes were produced under, and I can honestly say that I don’t know anything about 100% of the clothes and accessories I own besides what country they were made in. But as the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse and other, more recent factory incidents reveal, that isn’t quite good enough. Knowing where a country was made tells consumers nothing about who made it (factory workers? child labour?), the conditions that the workers are employed in (how safe are the factories? how much are they paid?) or where the materials used are sourced from (how environmentally friendly are the disposal processes? Is dye being released into rivers? Are the raw materials ethically sourced?). There are so many questions, but where are the answers? Let’s face it, we (generally) don’t know anything about where our clothes are from.

Retailers aren’t jumping at the chance to be transparent about their manufacturing and production processes either. That’s understandable to an extent – after all, which corporation is going to admit that their mass-produced and consumed clothes are made in terrible factory conditions where their workers are paid peanuts? However, just because we know that corporations won’t be transparent about facts that could potentially damage them, doesn’t mean that we should accept it. We shouldn’t.

Increase the pressure. Ask questions. Prompt, create, support change.

Ask yourselves and other people – who made your clothes? Ask your favourite brands – where do my clothes come from?

TTS x

4 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Shop The Sales

It’s VOSN today – if you haven’t had a look at the great deals yet, take a look now! I will definitely be taking advantage of all the savings I can make. Wait. Is this starting to sound less like a slow fashion blog and more of an impulse shopping one? The thing is, slow fashion doesn’t mean that you should boycott sales or impulse shopping so long as you’ve thought long and hard about your potential purchases and are sure that they will last you season after season. After all, there’s nothing worst than spending lots of money on new clothes only to leave them lying around in your wardrobe to resell later on for 50% of the amount you paid (we’ve all been there haven’t we).

Anyway, here are a few things that I always consider before I buy anything on sale — let’s face it, who isn’t tempted by the words “30% off”?

1. Can you imagine it working with your existing wardrobe? Can you think of any outfits you can make with it, or what tops/bottoms/jackets you would wear it with?

2. Is it something that you can wear (or want to wear) next season or next year?

3. Is it easy to wear? Or will you have to buy extra things in order to make it work – like a specific bra style, or singlet or jeans? Can you wear it to work or uni – or is it a special occasion kind of item?

4. Is there anything else you really want right now or a saving for? Would the money you might be spending on this item be better off on that dream item or holiday to Singapore?

I hope this helps! While I’ve definitely made a few mistakes, asking myself these 4 questions have stopped me from buying countless things that I definitely would have just regretted later.

If you have any tips yourself, please share them!

TTS x

How To Shop For The (Almost) Perfect Wardrobe Items

Trying to slow down your consumption and don’t know where to start? Used to just buying what you “need” from whatever high street retailer is having a sale? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips on how to get started on your slow fashion journey, and trust me, it’s even more rewarding than a fast fashion retail therapy fix.

1. Figure out what you need to buy

This is a simple one. Just take a look at your wardrobe and think about the gaps in there (are you missing a tailored blazer? Ankle boots? A work-appropriate skirt?) or what beloved wardrobe items you want the perfect version of (think back to the basics – white tees, button-up shirts, flats). Now pick one to start off with.

2. Define your perfect item

In a perfect world where you can dream up the perfect wardrobe item and be able to buy it, what would this item look like? Is it thin, thick, sheer, cap sleeve, scoop neck, midi length? What material is it? How much is it? Define it. What’s the perfect ___ for you?

3. Start looking

This is the fun part; all you need to do is go window shopping. Start everywhere you shop already and then branch out to other brands and retailers. Compare all the options you have for that perfect wardrobe item. Search on Google for recommendations. You’re on a hunt.

4. Create a shortlist

Now that you’ve had a look at what’s out there, use your handy guide to your perfect wardrobe item (the definition you set up in Step 2) and compare them against all the options you’ve found. If you’re happy enough with those almost perfect items, create a shortlist. If not, go back to Step 3 and keep on looking!

5. Leave it and think about it

Trust us on this one. Just give it a few days to make sure it’s the item you REALLY want.

6. Time to present your card or click ‘add to cart’

Certain about your decision? Then it’s time to buy (my favourite words).

Hopefully you’ll now have a wardrobe item that’s the (almost) perfect one for you, destined to be worn over and over again and your new favourite thing. Wasn’t so bad was it? Sure the process takes a little longer but it’s definitely satisfying…

TTS x

It’s not easy being green

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Image source: Lula Magazine, ph: Yelena Yemchuk via FGR

It’s not easy being green – just ask Elphaba from Wicked; she would know. Even if you’re not a natural green, it’s also difficult being a conscious consumer, especially if you’re someone with limited financial resources (hello students). While shopping consciously, whether it be food or clothing or everything else in between, is great for the environment, supporting local communities and economies, and taking a stand against exploitation and unethical manufacturing standards, it can also be downright expensive. While some companies have fairly accessible pricing structures, others are just too expensive for the average consumers, who is often juggling all sorts of other financial responsibilities and wants. Sometimes fast fashion or something that isn’t organic/sustainable/ethical is the best option you can take, and we’re here to tell you that you shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Yes, we’re all about embracing slow fashion and encouraging conscious consumption, but we’re not condemning fast fashion. Our hope is that consumers will do their best to shop consciously, when they can. And if you’re sure that the $10 top you’re buying from Dotti will last you seasons and make your money’s worth – then go ahead. These are struggles that we all face. I don’t think that it’s easy for anyone to live and consume completely green products. But we can try.

And that, is what really counts.

I Used To Love Fast Fashion. Not Anymore.

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Image credit: Matt Callow

As a high school student, I completely loved fast fashion, mostly because it was all I could afford with my limited budget. I was obsessed with Australian, international and luxury designers too but since they were out of my budget (understatement of the year), I kept on telling myself that my future older, richer self would splurge on them then. My wardrobe in high school was overflowing, filled with hand-me-downs from my older siblings, clothes I bought for a bargain during sale time and other bits and pieces. I didn’t wear 90% of what I owned, and I kept on adding more once sale time came around again. Fast forward to a few years and I can say that I’m not like that anymore. I’m trying to follow the slow fashion movement, and even though it’s hard and I slip up all the time, I can confidently say that I’m a better shopper now. I aim to buy quality, investment pieces that will last me years instead of trend-driven fashion fixes that last one season, and consider the designer, their philosophy and the fabric/detailing more closely. I love buying from sustainable and ethical designers when I can, and supporting local talent too! You can see the huge difference in attitude there.

Even though part of the change is due to growing up and having more money to play with, my attitudes towards shopping and conscious consumption didn’t come out of nowhere. Honestly, they didn’t even come from an awareness of the ethical and environmental issues surrounding fast fashion. No, my attitude towards fast fashion started changing as soon as I stumbled upon fantastic minimalism blogs, and bloggers who had dream wardrobes and lived the ‘quality over quantity’ philosophy. Then I started reading about the fast fashion industry – there is so much information available online and there are so many great books too – which really opened my eyes and made me realise that while I couldn’t do much to change anything, I could definitely stop or at lease decrease supporting them through sales.

So what did I do?

I did a massive wardrobe cull and removed a huge portion of my clothes, which instantly gave me a lot more wardrobe space. Anything I didn’t completely love had to go, and off they went to a charity bin or to eBay, which was another wake up call. Anyone who has sold pre-owned clothes on eBay will have experienced that moment of horror when you realise that you’ve wasted a lot of money buying clothes you didn’t love and then can’t earn that money back, I guarantee it. Then I made a conscious effort every time I decided that my wardrobe was missing X and Y piece, that I would spend time looking for the ‘perfect enough’ item to buy. It”s hard and I don’t always stick to the plan, but I can bet that I’ve saved myself a lot of money in the long run and it definitely feels good knowing that some of my clothes aren’t contributing to the fast fashion problem.

What are your thoughts?

TTS x