My Shopping Strategy For An Ethical and Sustainable Wardrobe

Leather jacket, top, bag and shoes – all a number of years old, bought from conventional fashion retailers (not ethical or sustainable) and hoarded in my wardrobe!
Vintage lace skirt – Swap party at The Good Fashion Show
Necklace and ring – Made

Over the last few years, I have been gradually changing and developing the way that I shop for clothes with the aim of making it more sustainable and ethical. I have spent a considerable amount of time not buying anything new at all and about a year ago I made the commitment to switch to buying only ethical or sustainable clothing.

It’s not easy being green!

I can completely understand the difficulties that people face in making this switch. Not only may they have concerns over cost and lack of choice but also the whole question of exactly what is ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ clothing and which ‘type’ or ‘brand’ of clothing is it best to buy, a topic which I could write about all day.

My work as a writer with a focus on ethical fashion has given me a greater understanding of the issues surrounding ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry and the variety that is available. Whilst I can’t say I have all of the answers, I certainly feel that I can make a reasonably informed decision most of the time and have totally bought into the fact that there is a fantastic selection of high quality ethical clothing out there that offers much better value than fast fashion and could definitely satisfy me in terms of finding what I want to buy.

How much is too much?

The difficulty for me in dressing ethically and sustainably comes into play when I try and work out how much is too much in terms of volumes of clothes. Obviously buying cheap poorly made clothes to wear once and then throw away is not ethical or sustainable. But I have never really done this, even the ‘fast fashion’ clothes that I have bought in the past have usually lasted for years and many that have managed to stand the test of time still remain in my wardrobe now. I treasure my clothes, shoes and accessories and I don’t buy anything that I don’t think I am likely to want to wear 3, 4 or 5 seasons from now. I get some inspiration from current fashions but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a slave to it and would never discard a piece of clothing because it wasn’t fashionable anymore.

My wardrobe is stacked full of clothes, I am definitely a hoarder/ collector.

Do I really need to buy any more?

I love clothes and I live clothes in both my work and leisure time. For me there is nothing shallow about fashion. What I wear is so important to me on many levels – my self confidence,  identity, comfort, success in work, the way others interact with me and treat me and also my own creativity and self expression (another topic, I could write all day about). I don’t need to but I like to wear lots of different outfits and I am constantly looking for and experimenting with new looks. Partly this can be satisfied by remixing, upcycling and recycling.

But

I also do have a desire to buy new stuff that if I am honest, I don’t really need. Through my blogging I discover so many amazing ethical brands. Not only to I love their clothes and want them but I also want to support these brands to try and help ethical become more mainstream. Supporting ethical brands is great but it isn’t sustainable to keep buying stuff that you don’t need. In order to change the fashion industry and the way it works, I think we all need to move away from the culture of constantly buying new stuff for the sake of it.

My Ethical and Sustainable Shopping Strategy

So here is the strategy that I have come up with, partly in a conscious kind  of way but partly it just felt right. Since making changes to my shopping habits I have been really happy with my clothes and the high quality wardrobe that I am building. I never really struggle to find something lovely to wear and I always feel great in what I wear.

1. I consider second hand or vintage is the most sustainable way to shop so I try and satisfy my whimsical desire to shop and constantly refresh my wardrobe in this way most of the time (it is also kindest to my purse!). Even with second hand and vintage shopping and I tend to end up buying too much so try and have in mind the sorts of clothes I am likely to wear and the colours and styles that will suit me and avoid just buying more of what I already have. I also upcycle, swap and readily accept donations of old clothes from friends. If and when I get bored of these clothes I just donate them back to charity.

2. Occasionally for a special treat I like to buy myself a piece of clothing from an ethical/ sustainable brand. This is often when I have some birthday or Christmas money. I always look at these purchases as an investment. I try and buy something that will be a high quality, stylish and flattering staple of my wardrobe for many years to come (if not forever) and will really add to and build on what I already have.

3. I only ever buy a piece of clothing that I really really love and tend to look for unusual and unique pieces. Where possible I try to buy from companies and brands that have made a company wide commitment to ethical fashion and sustainability and practice these principles throughout everything they do as I want to support then and help to push these practices into the mainstream.

4. Before I shop, I try and think carefully about what I need, what I am likely to wear and what colours and styles suit me. In the past I have made lots of mistakes. As I don’t buy as many new clothes as I used to and spend a little more on sustainable/ ethical clothing, I want to be sure that I get it right every single time . I have an ongoing wishlist where each item that I see and want is added, considered for some time and sometimes removed. I only buy something when I am absolutely sure that it will work for me in every way from making me feel good, to going with the other clothes I  have to being practical and eco friendly to wash and care for.

5. I do most of my shopping online as it gives me greater access to a huge variety of ethical and sustainable brands and makes it easier to compare, consider, research and read up on ethics if needed. It also cuts down on impulse buys.

So there you have it, that is how I shop. Do you have a shopping strategy? how do you decide what is too much?

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Thrifty Ethical Fashion For Mother’s Day

This months challenge at Ethical Fashion Bloggers was to create a thrifty outfit which cost under £10 or as close as possible. At first this seemed like quite a difficult challenge but on looking in my wardrobe, I realised that I have quite a few clothes including this dress and belt which I have got from clothes swaps, so technically cost me nothing at all (except an old piece of clothing that I wouldn’t have worn anyway). The shoes were a little more tricky and ideally I should have worn a more glamorous pair of heels, but because of the distance I needed to walk and the fact that none of my ethical shoes are exactly thrifty, I decided to opt for this pair of ballet pumps, given to me by a friend (brand new,but she decided they didn’t fit her. The handbag was the most expensive at about £4 from a charity shop and the necklace which isn’t ethical or sustainable but I have had it ages and it only cost maybe £6 or £7.So I think in total my outfit cost about £10 or £11.

As it was Mother’s Day, I decided to take the opportunity to spend a little more time doing my hair and to attempt to set it in curlers for a retro hairstyle. This was a big fail, I got impatient and took the rollers out before my hair was properly dry hence the flat an uncharacteristically sleek look to it. In the end I couldn’t be bothered to faff with it any more and decided to get out and enjoy myself.

I took my oldest daughter to a cafe in Bath for lunch and then had a wander around Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fashion fair. The fair was disappointingly quiet with only about 10 stalls, but I did manage to get myself a lemon yellow sixties jacket and checked skirt for £2 each though and some vintage fabrics, so not a complete loss. Here are a few instagrams of my day.

I hope you had a lovely weekend!

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Swap In The City

When I went to the Good Fashion Show on Saturday, I also participated in the Swap in the City clothes swap. Anyone that knows me will know how much I love a good clothes swap, I even have my own clothes swap website!

A clothes swap, or swishing party as they are also known, gives me even more of a feeling of excited anticipation than I used to get when I went on an occasional clothing shopping spree with the added bonus that it is completely guilt free. I am sure I don’t need to tell you, swapping is the new shopping!

I carefully lugged my heavy bag of clothes all the way to London on the train, the tube, the fifteen minute walk to London house and around the Good Fashion Show until it was time to hand my clothes in. I took along what I considered some really lovely pieces of clothing that I really loved but just didn’t suit my shape or colouring, a Burberry Prorsum safari jacket, a 1950’s heavily beaded floral pink knitted top, a 70’s midi dress with a pleated skirt, a printed chiffon By Malene Birger maxi dress, a People Tree jacket and a nearly new pair of Gap Jeans.

The clothes were hung on rails of either vintage and designer or high street clothes and we were given tickets with the number of vintage/ designer and high street pieces that we could pick. There were probably no more than 10 or 12 people swapping but a nice selection of clothes which suited me fine, as sometimes as too many clothes can make choosing something so much more difficult and too many people (as I have experienced at swaps in the past) a bit of a scrum . The swap commenced with the ring of a bell and it was no more than a minute or two before just about everything was gone.

Here is what I got:

 A Cacherel Top (I think from the Uniqlo collaboration), worn with necklace and ring by Made UK, old denim skirt and shoes by Irregular Choice.

If you look carefully, it has a tiny bird and flower print on it.

A knitted animal print tunic (labelled Lusa), worn here with a refashioned bleached jacket. I have been looking for the perfect top to wear with this jacket for ages.  I think I have now found it!The necklace is also by Made UK.

A fifties floral dress and red belt worn here with Irregular Choice shoes and a bag from Oxfam.

I also got an amazing double layered vintage white lace skirt. I haven’t quite worked out how I am going to wear it yet. I would either like a delicate and lacey sort of white camisole top which I don’t have at the moment, so will be keeping my eye out for in the charity shops or perhaps I should go for a complete contrast?

All in all I was really pleased with what I got. It all fitted me which is amazing. Despite it being a little questionable as to whether all of the pieces could be classified as vintage or designer and probably being worth less (in money) than the pieces I took along, I was completely happy to come home with something I would wear. The clothes that I  exchanged had been sat in my wardrobe unworn for ages and I probably would never have got around to listing on ebay.

There were a few people who seemed intent on grabbing everything in sight but I think everyone seemed to get a least a few things they wanted. Had I been a little more grabby I could possibly have got more but it is not really the way I am. I would definitely recommend a clothes swap or swish to anyone and Nicole of Total Renewal who organised the swap has lots of experience in organising such events. My advice would be to take lovely pieces of clothing that you are proud to enter in the swap but that you are completely happy to part with and to try and grab a few items that you like the look of quite quickly to ensure that you come home with at least a few items you love. The great thing about a clothes swap is that you quite often end up trying something new that you would not have neccaserily picked up in a shop.

I hope you are having a fantastic week and for those at London Fashion Week, I hope you aren’t too exhausted.

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

Pin It

And then it was gone

and then it was gone from Claire Pepper on Vimeo.

Just wanted to share with you a new fashion film by photographer Claire Pepper.
The film looks at ideas about how we use natural resources, and their consumption and destruction. Featuring designers including People Tree, Made, Hattie Rickards and Henrietta Ludgate, all the clothes used in the film are ethically sourced or vintage finds, modelled by new face Hana Hucinova at Elite London, and shot in an old victorian school building in East London.

Full credits:
Directed and produced by Claire Pepper
Photography by Claire Pepper and Natasha Alipour-Faridani
Styling by Katie Rose
Stylist’s assistant Sara Galvaz
Hair and Make up Joella Butler
Model Hana at Elite London
Music Moby Gratis

An Upcycled Heart Top For Valentine’s Day

This month’s DIY / upcycling round up on Ethical Fashion Bloggers has a Valentines Day theme. I decided to make a simple top using an old Fruits of the Loom sweatshirt that has been nestled in my airing cupboard for over 10 years (I am such a hoarder). The fitted cuffs, high neck and  band around the bottom of the sweatshirt look a little dated so I just cut them off and made the sleeves even shorter, cutting them at a slight angle. I used a small piece of heart patterned fabric which I had leftover from upcycling an old maternity top. All I did was cut out a heart shape from the fabric and sew onto the sweatshirt (over the Fruits of the Loom) emblem, with really tiny and close together handstitches. That is it.

Top- upcycled
Vest top underneath and skirt – really old (from high street retailers)
Shoes – Melissa

I doubt whether myself and Mr Style Eyes will be doing anything this Valentines Day. In fact I am sure we won’t as we have no babysitter and I have a School Governors meeting to go to. I am not too bothered as I dislike the whole overpriced, cheesy entertainment, set menu thing that many restaurants do. After 12 years of marriage, with 2 children and me working most evenings, we are just happy to have a rare hour or two together and a few glasses of wine at home. I can’t really complain as I get a bunch of flowers from Mr Style Eyes every week.

Will you be doing anything fun for Valentines Day this year? If you would like to join in with Ethical Fashion Bloggers DIY/ Upcycling round ups or outfit challenges, you can join here.

With warmest wishes

Ceri X  

Pin It

Updating an Old Dress with a Peter Pan Collar

I had a really relaxing weekend and for the first time in ages I didn’t do any work, not even the ironing! Problem was I really wasn’t ready to go back to it all this morning. On saturday I went for a birthday lunch with family. I decided to wear a dress that I have had for ages uodated with the leather Peter pan collar (by Rokit Recycled) that I got for Christmas from my mum. 

On Sunday, we went to a fantastic new restaurant called Za Za Bazaar in Bristol. It is a massive place on the waterfront that seat hundreds of people and has the theme of a street market with lots of different food kiosks. For just £10 per head you could eat as much as you liked including Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, English, French, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Caribean and Portuguese. I really thought they had managed to capture the atmosphere of a market (or as much as you can with an indoor restaurant). I would usually avoid this sort of eat as much as you like restaurant on the basis that the food will be rubbish but I had read a good review which turned out to be incredibly accurate. The food was delicious and you could even have some dishes freshly prepared in front of you. I has sushi, Vietnamese soup and a variety of meat and vegetarian curries and was slightly disappointed when I was too full to eat any more as there was so much I hadn’t tried, I will definitely be going back. For desert there were mini patisseries, an icecream machine, a chocolate fountain, lots of jellies and a giant cake stand filled with cupcakes. The children loved it! Sorry no food pictures as I was far too busy eating it.

So that was it, my weekend basically consisted of little else except stuffing my face. Well I did go for a run on Saturday so hopefully that might help in balancing out the calorie overload.

I hope you had a good weekend.

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

Ethical Fashion Essentials – Tights

OK todays post is not exactly the most exciting of subjects but I guess at this time of year we all wear tights, I would certainly consider them a wardrobe essential. Since I started wearing only ethical and sustainable clothing, tights is one of the areas, that I am afraid, I haven’t made any effort with at all. I already have a drawer full of tights and so there is little point in replacing them until they are no longer any good, but I suppose I have also just assumed that there isn’t a wearable and affordable ethical/ sustainable alternative. I have decided to make it the first post in my Ethical Fashion Essentials series in which I try and find some workable ethical and sustainable alternatives to some wardrobe essentials. I can’t promise to find all of the answers but I am going to try my best!

Sternlein Organic Opaque Tights – £24 at Fashion Conscience

These tights are available in black, burgundy, grey blue and navy (although black is currently out of stock). They are made in Germany from 93% organic cotton. Features include fitted feet, flat seams, square back panel and knitted waistband for comfort.

Monsoon Tights – from £5

Monsoon have a fantastic selection of very afforable tights including these 80 denier magenta ones and some thicker options too. Whilst they are not actually made from  a sustainable fabric, Monsoon does have some good ethics and was actually flagged as one of the most ethical retailers on the high street.

 Natural Collection Organic Cotton Tights from Ethical Superstore

I was quite excited by the option of striped tights in this range but if that is not your thing, they also have plain tights in 10 different colours. These tights are again made from 93% organic cotton in Germany. Each seam at the end of the toes is hand stitched to create as flat a seam as possible. Also they are currently reduced to £14.95 in the sale!

Oxfam – BNWT Tights

I have always considered wearing tights from a charity shop a definite no no. But I was amazed to discover that Oxfam has a great selection of new in their packet tights. I assume that these tights have been donated and so buying something that otherwise might be thrown away is a sustainable choice.Buying them will also help to support some of the very worthwhile work of Oxfam. Cancer Research also have a selection of BNWT tights in their online shop with prices starting a just over a pound!

Bamboozle Tights by Braintree Hemp at Amnesty International – £12.50

Bamboo is not only considered a sustainable fabric but it is also supersoft, warm but breathable and comfortable, the perfect choice for tights. These tights are made from bamboo, organic cotton and spandex and are available in purple and black. Again they have the added benefit that you are supporting a charity.

All in all I have been really pleasantly surprised by the choice and affordability of the tights that I found. Some where a little more expensive than I might usually buy but as they are really high quality, I wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for the luxury of comfort. I think with tights one of the best and easiest ways that you can be sustainable is by looking after them and making them last. All tights seem to contain a percentage of synthetic fibre so will not easily break down after use. For delicate tights I usually stuff mine inside a sock to wash them so that they don’t get pulls. Buying higher quality may also help them to last longer although this doesn’t always equate.

The one area that I couldn’t find a good ethical/ sustainable alternative was with pattened tights. I love wearing patterned tights and think they are a great way to make lots of different outfits with one dress or skirt. But Pretty Polly are an iconic British brand and still manufacture their tights in Britains largest textile manufacturing plant in the UK. For some supporting the UK economy and being sure of where they are made (in a factory governed my UK employment laws) kind of makes them ethical. Any how in the absence of an alternative, I would go with these for when I occasionally want to treat myself to a patterned pair of tights. They have an amazing selection which is available at My Tights including the very popular Henry Holland collection.

So what do you think? would you buy ethical tights?

With warmest wishes

Ceri x

ps this post does contain some affiliate links

8 Ways to Ensure That You Stick to Your New Year Shopping Ban

January 1st

Ok so I have caved in. I promised myself I wasn’t going to post one of those New Year resolution kind of posts, partly because I couldn’t be bothered to make any. Now as I start to read everyone else’s new year resolutions, I keep think ‘I want to do that one too’ or ‘perhaps I ought to…’. I now seem to have a steadily growing list but instead of rehashing everyone elses ideas again in a ‘My New Years Resolutions’ kind of post, I thought I would share with you some ideas which I came up with and that worked for me during last years shopping ban.

Feel Positive About It

For those who have imposed a shopping ban for the new year for either financial or environmental reasons, there is no need to feel down in the mouth about it. I actually found my shopping ban last year incredibly enlightening and surprisingly enjoyable. As a result, I have really changed my shopping habits (and set up this blog!) because I realised just how pointless it was buying lots of badly made clothes that didn’t seem to enrich my wardrobe at all or make choosing a stylish outfit in the morning any easier. If you have imposed the ban for financial reasons, just think about the positive impact of all that money you will save.

Evaluate Your Wardrobe

A shopping ban is the perfect time to evaluate your wardrobe. Try wearing every single item of clothing in your  wardrobe at least once over the next month or two (depending on how many clothes you have). If you can’t wear anything, it is time to think about why and if it really deserves that precious space in the wardrobe. This is also a great way to work out where the gaps are in your wardrobe so when you begin shopping again, you buy what you are most likely to wear.

During my shopping ban, I realised how many of my clothes were impractical for day to day wear (whilst looking after 2 children), I actually don’t wear a lot of it most of the time yet when I used to go shopping would buy more of the same. Now the majority of clothes that I buy (and I don’t buy many) have to be practical and wearable. 

Think About Why You Shop

If you go shopping because you are bored, stressed or fed up, surely it doesn’t really help. You may get an initial buzz when you make a purchase but how long does the buzz last? I am guessing it is not very long and in cases has ended by the time you get home and decide your buy was not such a great choice. Is that short term shopping buzz really worth it, surely there must be a better way to deal with your emotions? Once you recognise what it is that makes you want to shop, it is much easier to combat it.

Avoid Browsing

Avoid wandering around the shops or browse online stores. You are only putting temptation in your way and making life more difficult for yourself. If you feel like you might be missing out on something amazing that you just have to have, remind yourself that there is nothing that you desperately need and the shops will always have a ready supply of amazing stuff to buy. Reading fashion magazines and blogs is also a form of browsing, you will be bombarded with advertising and persuaded that you need all sorts of new stuff. I rarely buy fashion magazines anymore, instead I concentrate on reading blogs by those who inspire me by making amazing outfits with what they already have or vintage or charity shop pieces.

 Do Something Different With Your Time

If you are a serious shopaholic you can take your mind off shopping by trying something different with your time instead. Check out a museum, go for a walk or invite a friend round  for coffee or lunch or take up a hobby. None of these activities cost much money, but are probably much more enjoyable than shopping. I rarely had time for going to the shops but online browsing was my danger zone, my ‘me’ time is now spent going for a run, baking cakes or listening to music rather than spending hours trawling the internet.

Look After Your Clothes

Pretty obvious I know but worth a mention. If you look after your clothes, you will have less need to buy new ones. Stick to the old saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ and you can’t go far wrong. As soon as the soles of your shoes start to look worn out get them resoled. If a button falls off sew it on straight away before you loose it.

Get Creative

Some times limiting your choice can be a good way to be much more creative with your outfits. I put together some of my favourite outfits whilst on my shopping ban because I was forced to think creatively and look into the depths of my wardrobe rather than buying another new piece of clothing. If you are bored of a piece of clothing in your wardrobe, you could also try turning it into something new or ‘upcycling it’. If you are stuck for inspiration, there are loads of blogs with ideas and tutorials. Also check out Ethical Fashion Bloggers.

Swap, beg or borrow

If you really need a piece of clothing that you don’t have, try swapping or borrowing from someone else. Clothes swap parties are great fun or you can try a clothes swapping website to find what you want. www.closetswap.co.uk is a useful tool for swapping, lending and borrowing clothes with your friends.

If all else fails try shopping in your local charity shop, it will have much less impact on the environment than buying new stuff but be warned, whilst it may feel more virtuous, it is also highly addictive!

 Are you on a shopping ban, how are you finding it so far? do you have any more tips?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

Closet Swap – Don’t Shop, Swap

I have been swapping and borrowing clothes with my friends informally for quite a while now and also swapping with complete strangers on my website Posh-Swaps. Swapping and borrowing is a great way to refresh your wardrobe without buying something new and without spending any money. It is the perfect way to satisfy your desire for new looks without damaging the environment.

Now there is an exciting new way to discover clothes with your friends for free – Closet Swap. The website has been commissioned by Channel 4 with the aim of getting people to buy less.  You can upload and organise your clothes in your closet, see your friends’ closets and swap clothes. The process of borrowing clothes from friends is now completely digitalised and there is even a Facebook and Iphone app.  You can snap a photo with the Closet Cam and send a Fashion SOS to your friends to see if they have something similar you can borrow helping you to buy less.

The Fashion Finder feature of the website and iphone app also looks really interesting. You can put in a postcode and it will tell you all of the vintage stores nearby or places that sell sustainable wears.

What do you think? are you ready to open up your wardrobe to your friends?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

A Frugal Girl’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion

Image credit

Since deciding to try and be more sustainable with my fashion and style choices, surprisingly I have managed to save loads of money. This has the added bonus of meaning that I can afford to work less and spend more time with family and friends, making my life much happier for me. I used to avoid ethical fashion on the basis that it was going to cost me more but ethical and sustainable clothing has come on in leaps and bounds over the last year and I now firmly believe that it is possible to look stylish whilst wearing sustainable fashion and sticking to a budget. Here are my tips on how (some maybe a bit obvious, but sometimes a little reminder/ refresher is a good thing):

Buy Less

Very obvious really, if you buy less, you will spend less and you will be having less of an impact on the environment. But buying less doesn’t mean that you have to miss out. You can still look on trend, stylish, elegant, whatever you like. Just consider your purchases carefully.

If you develop your own style (rather than being a slave to fashion), there will be no need to keep replacing your wardrobe as your clothes won’t ever go out of fashion. By buying less you can afford to invest in something high quality perhaps from an ethical brand. In the long run this will pay off as the clothes will last better and many ethical brands design timeless styles. If you are unsure of where to look check out my post on 50 places to buy affordable ethical fashion online.

Image credit

Also think about how you store your clothes. The easier it is for you to see what you already have, the more likely you will be to wear it and the less likely to buy more of the same. I like to hang my necklaces on hooks on the wall, keep rings and brooches in a teacup on my dressing table and hand scarves on a scarf hanger.

Sometime buying less can force you to be more creative with your wardrobe with the end result being a unique and very stylish you. If you don’t believe me, check out The Uniform Project for proof of how many ways (365 to be precise) you can wear a black dress. There are countless other challenges where fashion bloggers have created a variety of different outfits from a limited wardrobe. Trust me, this really works, why not start with a 2 month shopping ban – just seeing how much money you save!

It is worth thinking about why you shop. If you are just looking for the feel good factor of buying something new, find another way to get this feeling perhaps coffee with friends, a DIY pamper session or baking cakes.

Look after your clothes well

If you are investing in  high quality well made clothes, it is worth looking after them as they will last you for years. Valuing what you have is the easiest way to buy less and the best way to save money and be more sustainable. Always read the labels before you wash your clothes. Handwash delicate items and store them carefully. My biggest problem is tights getting laddered. I tuck them inside a sock to wash so that they don’t get damaged. You can also wash delicate clothing inside an old pillow case. Polish and reheel your shoes regularly and store in boxes to keep them in good as new condition. I also like to keep my handbags in dust bags which you can run up from old clothes and pieces of fabric.

Watch out for moths especially with cashmere. I once had a £200 cashmere jumper ruined when one ate a great big hole right in the middle. I now scatter lots of cedar wood balls in my knitwear drawer. There are countless articles on the internet on how to care for your clothes, if you have any great tips, please share them in the comments below.

Choose carefully

How many times have you made a mistake buy buying something that you never wear or only wear once? These mistakes are costly to you and  the environment so choose carefully to avoid them. Some say that most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe for 80% of the time, you should try and make sure that any new purchases increase that 20% not the 80%, this will mean you will need to buy less clothes in the future.  Common mistakes are buying clothes that don’t fit properly, don’t suit you body shape or colouring or which are another version of something you already have lots of or are just not right for your life style. Do a wardrobe check before you go shopping and think about what clothes suit you and your lifestyle. No good buying yet more party dresses, if you never go to any parties!

Recycle

Image credit

There are lots of ways that recycling can  save you money. Firstly, you can upcycle clothes to give them a new lease of life. So you are really bored with that maxi dress,  why not shorten it and make a mini dress? Plain tops can be customised in countless ways including by bleaching, dying, shredding, cropping, applique and embroidery. Upcycling is a huge trend at the moment and there is certainly no shortage of places to go for inspiration. Try Threadbanger, Ethical Fashion Bloggers and Outsapop.com.

Sell or swap your clothes

Even with the best will in the world, you will sometimes have clothes that you no longer want or need. A frugal girl will make the most of these clothes by selling or swapping them. Ebay is the usual port of call for those wanting to sell something but you can also list and swap or sell them for free on Posh-swaps.com. If you have clothing of a high value, you could try selling through a local dress agency. Check our www.swishing.com for swap parties in your area. I also have a sort of informal arrangement with my friends that we let each other have a look through any unwanted clothes before they go in the charity bag.

Cash your clothes in

Some brands and retailers now collect old clothes and give you a voucher to spend in exchange. With M & S, you can recycle your old clothes at Oxfam in exchange for a voucher. Monsoon have a similar scheme clothes for life where you get £10 off a new item.   

Buy second hand

Buying second hand is a great way to get more for your money. Charity shops, ebay and carboot sales are packed with bargains often that have hardly or never been worn. I actually tend to wear my second hand charity shop clothes more often than some of the new clothes that I have bought, perhaps because when you take away the marketing, trends etc that persuade you to buy new clothes, it is much easier to focus on what you want and what will look good on you. if you don’t have time to trawl charity shops Oxfam have a great selection including vintage and Cancer Research have some great designer finds.

Look out for ethical bargains

Even with all of the affordable ethical brands out there, you may still find ethical fashion a bit more expensive than the really low priced fast fashion retailers. If you wait until the sales though you can get yourself something amazing for a great price. Many ethical brands and retailers run year round promotions and sales, you can follow me on Twitter to keep up with them. People Tree and Fashion Conscience always have great offers and sales.

What do you think? is it easy to be frugal and sustainable with your style?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X