So I was thinking of topics for this weeks post and wanted to share some thoughts with you on an observation I made about guilt free consumerism and the justifications around it.
A friend of mine is a bit of a shopaholic. She loves fashion, loves linen and always wants the latest trends. She doesn’t however want to pay anything full price. So she naturally loves bargain hunting and is super proud of herself for it, who wouldn’t be!? I used to brag to people when they’d compliment me on something I was wearing by telling them how much it cost and where I bought it from. These days, I feel like that’s nothing to brag about. I’ll discuss this in more detail later on in the post.
The other part of this story is that she has a lot of family overseas that she sends clothes, shoes, bags and linen to on a regular basis. Now, my question is…do you feel better about shopping regularly if you know you’re doing a good deed and passing it on?
There are people that give their no longer wanted goods to family or to charity. Don’t get me wrong, I support the intent of donating or giving away items. But when you buy more stuff with the intention of giving clothes away, then this is where I believe the lines get a little blurry.
When someone is clearing out their closet and only keeping things that they love and wear regularly it’s different to someone that spends all their spare time shopping to then feel like they need to give away clothes to not feel guilt about buying new things.
Minimalists keep the basics of some good quality clothes and don’t really have a need to donate as what they have is what they wear all the time. Here are some suggestions to switch that mentality around and focus on creating a minimalist wardrobe without it costing you your wage on a regular basis.
Only buy quality pieces that you absolutely love
By doing this, you won’t be so quick to ship it off to your family or drop it off to charity if you wear a pair of jeans 2-3 times a week. Selecting clothes that is made with high quality natural vegan materials and is also made fair trade will add a story to the garment you own and you’ll probably build a bond with it. You’ll feel good about yourself and what you’re supporting. Buying bargains that are made of cheap, unsustainable materials and made for 5cents in a factory in Bangladesh will have a completely different affect on you. Fill your wardrobe with few quality pieces, you won’t regret it.
Go for timeless fashion over fast fashion
I still remember when I was in high school and was out with my friends in shopping malls some days after school and most weekends checking out what the latest styles were in. I had a thing for it, it made me feel good about myself. At the time, it boosted my self esteem and made me feel like I fitted in with my peers. Now looking back, if I was the way I am now 10-12 years ago, I wouldn’t care less about what others thought about what I wore. I wouldn’t care if I wore the same top two days in a row (that was like social suicide!) or the dress I bought wasn’t an expensive fashion label. As you grow older and wiser (I like to think I’ve become a little wiser), your view on life and the things that matter starts to change.
Now, I much prefer buying beautiful ethical pieces of clothing that I plan to wear for a few years, which also has a timeless look and feel about it. Fast fashion is such a massive industry and is carefully orchestrated to last you a season and then you move onto the next thing. That’s why the clothes are of poor quality as it’s not made to last.
Donate but don’t spend to give
So if you’re nodding along to the above scenario and you’re just like my friend then this point is for you. There is a great deal of personal satisfaction when we get what we want but guilt comes with it when we look at how much we already own and can barely squeeze in that extra top into our wardrobe. This is when you decide to give some clothes away that you either no longer wear, have never worn or should really be repurposed for things like a floor rug (we use old t-shirts to clean the floor with and use them as wiping cloths).
How to beat guilt free consumerism
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel guilty about your purchase more often then not, consider this. Go through your wardrobe or linen closet and pick out the things that you definitely want to pass on or donate. Go through what you have left and take mental note of what’s there. If you have a pair of jeans that you like (aren’t in love with) and you’ve never worn them because you don’t have a matching top, ask yourself, will I even get something to wear with it or am I better passing it on? Here it’s also important to take a mental note not to buy clothes in the future that will have missing parts of the outfit. This will prevent you from wearing it and will just collect dust in your closet.
Instead of spending money on new clothes, donate the money instead so that the people you normally donate clothing to can actually buy themselves what they need, not what has been given to them. As mentioned in the previous point, when shopping, go for timeless fashion so that your set of outfits last you 5, 10, 20 years rather than 1 season. If you’re reasoning is that you can’t afford it that’s why you buy cheaper things, think about the quality not the quantity. I’d take one good quality top over 10 cheap tops any day of the week! Start changing your habits by asking the right questions and be a conscientious consumer. That is what will make you feel good about yourself above all else when it comes to consumerism. Give it a go!
What choices do you make that make you feel like a guilt free consumer?