The worst part of my job has become
About a week ago, a client of mine took a spin visiting some of the more mainstream stores. While it all wasn’t bad, the majority of it was just okay. Even at the rock bottom January sale prices, nothing seemed worth actually purchasing. The solution for fashion’s goal to turn a profit with their razor-thin margins on cheap clothing seems to be loading up the stores with safe, mediocre, pedestrian mass appeal just-okay clothing. Nothing is exciting. It’s just there.
And there’s just so much of it. SO much.
One could argue that quicker cycles for new merchandise and shorter calendars for deliveries would get a woman into the stores more often to spend money. But, does it? Or does it just confuse, overwhelm and paralyze the shopper? With studies showing that more choices don’t lead to better decision making but, instead, greater paralysis in making a choice, I’m inclined to believe the latter. Speaking for myself, if you give me too many options I’m less inclined to buy anything.
Next, quality. Quality is barely existent in mainstream fashion these days. It’s like, which level of crappy polyester would you like to buy today? So not only do you have to sift through racks and racks of just-okay looking clothing, you also have to sift through just-okay quality. Worse, nobody wants to spend money to tailor clothing that cost them next to nothing. Why would they spend more on tailoring than the actual clothes? In essence, clothing has become disposable and most people are walking around in disheveled ill-fitting cheapness.
My 2019 Slow Fashion Goals
This year, I have set some slow fashion goals that I want to share with you so that I can continue to build a loving and positive relationship with my wardrobe. Perhaps it will also inspire you to rethink how you shop and put practices into place that can get you excited about your wardrobe again.
I will shop consignment stores and sites for better
I don’t want a lot of clothing. Personally, I would rather own a highly curated grouping of pieces that I love and I will wear. I would rather wear a few things a lot over having piles and piles of cheapness that I have to sift through every morning. So this year I made a decision that when it comes to shopping for good items, I will look to consignment stores and sites, like The RealReal and resellers Poshmark to shop for them.
I will give you an example of how I am doing this. In preparing for a speaking event in Vegas next week, I bought a gorgeous Akris Punto jacket and pants for under $150, for both pieces. While both pieces were pre-worn, I could have easily spent the same amount on a jacket and pair of pants at a much cheaper store. At retail the jacket cost nearly $1,000 and the pants several hundred. In this day and age, you can easily spend what you would for something of inferior quality as you could on well made, long lasting clothing.
I want to be very clear, buying at consignors or resellers is not a license to buy more because you are getting it for less. If you don’t need what you buy it’s still wasted money, no matter how little you pay for it.
Goal suggestion: Before you assume you can’t afford better, shop your local consignor or consignment sites to see if you can’t get something of better quality and you’re more passionate about at around the same price.
I will watch for sales on better to designer
I am also willing to wait for things I really want and watch the sales. Last year, so many of my clients bought an Eileen Fisher summer jumpsuit that fit amazingly well. It retailed for nearly $300. Summer being my slowest time of the year and having experienced a dip in business in 2018, I had to watch my spending. I kept my eye on the jumpsuit until it went on sale and I got it for less than $100. Could I have bought a cheaper jumpsuit for the sale amount I spent on the Eileen Fisher one? I could have. But my preference was waiting for what I really wanted and was excited about. Walking out of the store with the jumpsuit that I really wanted after patiently waiting for the price to be affordable felt like an incredible victory.
Goal suggestion: Instead of buying cheaper, buy better at a sale price.
I will buy less and buy better
I have never been one to load up my closet. My brain gets overwhelmed way too easily. I don’t consider shopping to be a pastime and I prefer to check a box and move on so it can leave my brain. So my next goal is more of a general suggestion and a continued goal for me. I will buy less and I will buy better.
When people say they can’t afford better, my Spidey senses tingle because when I look at how large their wardrobes are I have to disagree. Typically these are the same women who have overloaded their closets with an excessive amount of cheaper items versus taking their time, curating and shopping mindfully. Imagine you took ten of those cheap tops and bought just one that you absolutely loved?
I have a client who owns one pair of Louboutin pumps that she pretty much wears exclusively. What you don’t know about most women who spend heartily on good clothes is they usually have way less in their closets than the women who have bloated closets full of buys. On the surface, you may think a woman such as this has so much money to spend on her clothes when she’s likely not spending much more than the person who has closets full of clothes.
Goal suggestion: Choose a reach wardrobe goal and gradually put the money you would have spent on something cheaper towards this purchase. Notice how much more excited you are about buying this reach item than you are about the several items you would have bought at a much cheaper price.
I will rent for special events
My next goal, I will rent the clothing I need for one-off events or special occasions.
I would rather wear something more interesting and of better quality than I could probably afford if every time I needed to buy for a specific event I spent a lot of money. Instead of spending less on something I’m just okay about, I am going to look into renting something of better quality instead.
I did this with a green L.K. Bennett dress that would have cost me almost $400 at retail ($295 on sale) and got it for $65 for a four-day rental through Rent the Runway. I knew I wouldn’t need a dress like this for a long time after this speaking event, making renting it the smarter way to go.
In addition to getting better for less, wardrobe rental allows me to keep my wardrobe tight and cohesive while still being able to pepper in something new when needed.
Goal suggestion: Consider wardrobe rental the next time you have something very specific that you won’t need to wear regularly.
I will think environmentally about my clothing
All of my goals listed have also allow me to minimize the impact that fashion has had on the environment and I think everyone should be more mindful of this. Nobody needs an over-worn acrylic blend top after you are done with it. The chances it will go to a recycler to be made into rags are quite good. Did you hear about all the flip flops that wash up on the Indian Ocean and are turned to art by the natives? The next time you toss a junky pair of Old Navy flip flops in the garbage after one summer of wear, I want you to remember this visual.
Buying better means better resale and the ability to consign back and lessen the environmental burden that fashion has become. In addition to that, when you buy better it can last longer and, typically, people take better care of things they invest in.
Goal suggestion: Think environmentally when you shop and all the ways that cheap, seemingly innocuous, garment can impact our planet.
What are your fashion goals for 2019?
These are my slow fashion goals for 2019 and may not be the right ones for you. However, I hope by sharing my list of goals you can also start thinking about how you can infuse more personality, passion, and style into your own wardrobe. Have you been inspired to take a fresh approach with your wardrobe in 2019? I’d love to hear