In January 2019, I set a slow fashion goal. In my blog post, I declared that I would make some changes in how I consumed fashion. These changes would include buying luxury and better second hand on consignment, renting instead of buying for special occasions.
The reasons behind this slow fashion goal were to be more environmentally conscious about clothing and to wear better. Once you start wearing better clothes it is pretty impossible to go back to anything cheap and flimsy. And as someone who has champagne tastes on a beer budget, I can’t always afford these luxury brands at retail. I would rather spend the same amount of money on something better and gently worn than on something fleeting and of lesser quality from a brand like Banana Republic or Ann Taylor.
With the new year here, I am sharing my thoughts on this slow fashion challenge along with a recap of my purchases.
2019 Slow Fashion Goal Recap
Akris Punto jacket, pants and top
I bought all these pieces for two speaking events I had in early 2019, all by Akris Punto and bought at The RealReal. The pants are Akris Punto’s renowned Franca style, the jacket is a navy and grey printed cotton, unlined style and for underneath it, I purchased their sleeveless square neck cotton t-shirt. All three pieces were a huge success plus Akris Punto is one of my all-time favorite clothing lines.
In addition to being an environmentally sound purchase, when I calculated the retail prices of each of these pieces and compared them to what I actually paid, I saved $1,595.
Akris Punto Dress
Adding to my Akris Punto collection, I also purchased this dress for a few at The RealReal. I loved that it was a summer dress printed in neutral colors. I wore this dress to an event at my church, to a wedding shower and to speak for work in Las Vegas. I also grabbed one of Michael Kors’ famous shrug cardigans that all my clients purchase and really come in handy.
Retail for both the dress and the cardigan is around $1,800 and I paid $175 total for both pieces!!
Weekend Max Mara Parka
Of all my purchases made, this one is my favorite by a landslide. Max Mara makes what is called Cube Coats. They are these intelligently designed coats that are usually reversible and have features like detachable hoods or collars that change up the look of the coats. Additionally, all cube coats have these expertly hidden universal buttons where you can add on accessories like novelty collars and cuffs, and more.
I wear this coat constantly. Anything by Max Mara is pretty indestructible and the quality of this coat is phenomenal. At retail, this coat costs around $1,300. At The RealReal, I got it for…wait for it, FREE! The coat was listed for $195 but due to a surprise credit, I wound up paying nothing for it.
Being in need of some sweaters, I went over to The RealReal and picked up this green cable sweater from Veda which drew me in, because you know how much I love cable knits, and this grey cashmere cardigan from Equipment. I don’t have any photos of myself wearing these but they have proven useful. The Veda sweater retailed for around $400 and the cardigan for $350. I paid $150 for both.
Moving onto Poshmark, another great resource for buying on consignment, I wrote a whole post about my success with buying boots from Aquatalia on Poshmark and how you can do it too. In addition to my Weekend Max Mara parka, my Aquatalia boot purchases have been my best slow fashion purchases. I now exclusively wear Aquatalia boots.
Aquatalia Cognac flat booties
If someone was to say, describe yourself as a shoe, it would be this pair. They hit all the marks I need in a pair of boots. First, they have a low heel which is perfect for walking. Second, they’re comfortable and stylish so when I work in them I don’t feel like I am compromising style for comfort. Third, they are cognac, which is my #1 favorite boot color. Lastly, they’re simple, sleek and uncomplicated, exactly how I like my clothes. Oh, and like all Aquatalia shoes and boots, they are weatherproof. I have lived in these since buying them.
Aquatalia booties retail around $450. I paid $75.
Grey Aquatalia booties
Surprisingly, these booties have rivaled the above cognac pair in wear. Even though my wardrobe often looks like the trees during autumn, there are many instances where cognac footwear doesn’t work and due to my refusal to wear black shoes, grey is my alternative. These booties have a rounder toe and look much more casual. Quite often, these are the booties I throw on when I need to run a quick last-minute errand in addition to being just a perfect style for casual days.
Retail price $450. I paid $50.
Aquatalia heeled booties
This last pair from Aquatalia has gotten the least amount of wear for no other reason than I wear heels less often than I wear flats. That said, the heel height is perfect for walking and they are amazingly comfortable. Given the amount I wear cognac booties, I like having a flat and a heeled pair.
Retail price: $450. I paid $60.
Rent the Runway
Next comes all the items I rented for situations where I needed a dress for an event. I went to Rent the Runway for all of it.
LM Collection burgundy lace dress
For my cousin’s wedding, I rented this burgundy lace dress. It was fantastic and what I loved most renting it was I avoided buying something only to have it sit in my closet waiting to be worn again. Because I rented, I felt I could take more chances with the style vs. buying something practical.
I rented it for $30 for three days. It arrived a few days before my event and I also got a backup size for free.
Slate & Willow navy fit-and-flare dress
This is another Rent the Runway dress I rented for a different wedding I had a month after the other one, proving another benefit of renting. Not that my family would have cared or probably would have noticed, but renting allowed me to wear two different dresses to two different weddings with the same people. I never would have done that if I didn’t rent.
The rental price was $30…and it has POCKETS!!
L.K. Bennett Green sheath dress
I am going to touch on this dress quickly because when I look at a photo of it I have bad memories of it. This is the dress I wore to speak where I got called out for wearing a dress that was too sexy and too tight. I wrote a whole post on body shape discrimination about the experience. But bright kelly green L.K. Bennett style was really fabulous and renting in this situation allowed me to choose something bright and different that I probably wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Despite getting the feedback I did, people stopped me to tell me how fabulous the dress was.
I rented it for $65.
Knitting slow fashion
One thing I hadn’t considered when setting this goal is how my knitting really benefits my flow fashion goal. Instead of buying a hat, scarf or sweater, I knit them. Here were some of my projects from this year.
I knit the sweater on the right and this scarf. Both took several months to accomplish so I didn’t get that many projects completed. However, I have worn both pieces quite a bit since completing them.
I also knit this cable hat which I wear all the time. Because of knitting, I can’t remember the last time I actually purchased a hat or scarf at a store.
The slow fashion rippling effect
The best part of taking on this challenge has been witnessing the rippling effect shopping this way has had on my clients. This year, I converted nearly half a dozen clients towards making luxury purchases on consignment and some of these clients have the money to pay full retail for these brands. Shopping this way has also been a real benefit for my petite clients who need to buy from brands who cut small (most often the case with luxury brands) but don’t have the budget to spend over $1,000 on a dress or jacket.
Will I continue with my slow fashion goal?
So will I continue with this slow fashion goal for 2020? Absofreakinglutely!!! Not only did I purchase some incredible pieces for my wardrobe while saving money, $5,789 total to be exact (!!!), but I also kept clothing from wasting away in landfills and I avoided the purchase of cheap, shoddy clothes. On every level, this challenge has been a win. I totally recommend it.