Sometimes, ethical and sustainable fashion means NOT buying new clothes.
I haven’t shared many outfit posts on the blog lately because I haven’t been shopping much! I purchased quite a few cold weather tops and sweaters last year, so I honestly haven’t needed to do much shopping as the weather has changed this year. But I have to confess: I have felt anxious about not having any great new ethical fashion finds to post here on Fairly Southern.
Because I am passionate about ethically made clothing and frequently write on this topic, I find myself awkwardly thrust into the label of “fashion blogger.” However, I don’t see myself as being in the same league as the fashionista influencers I see on Instagram. I’m a normal person with a normal budget and normal clothes that don’t get discarded after one season. I’m not leading the pack on trends, and I don’t have a brand new outfit to post each day.
I decided to go ahead and post some photos of a not-so-new outfit today, because I love this outfit, regardless of whether it is new or old. And, shopping your own closet is one of the most ethical and sustainable moves you can make! I am glad I didn’t cave these past couple of months when I felt the pressure to go out and buy new clothes to post on my blog. That isn’t responsible consumerism.
Due to innovations in technology and the rise of less expensive fashion brands like H&M and Forever 21, people in the 21st century cycle through trends and clothing at a faster pace than ever before. Not that long ago, people had a few key pieces of clothing that they wore until the clothing was no longer functional or wearable. Nowadays, we can afford to buy more articles of clothing than we can even fit in our closets, and we discard perfectly good clothing on a whim. No longer like the cut? Decide you don’t love that color as much? Thinking that your sweater is SO last month’s trend ? No problem–just toss that never worn top in the Goodwill pile and click on over to Amazon Fashion!
The problem with this “fast fashion” model is that it puts a strain on our environment. Clothing production uses a tremendous amount of water (1.3 trillion gallons a year for fabric dyeing alone), emits harmful greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, and gobbles up natural resources. The fast fashion model also puts pressure on companies to cut corners in the manufacturing process in order to produce cheaper clothing at a faster rate. As a result, garment workers are required to work 14 hours each day and are paid as little as 25 cents per hour for their services. Yikes!
Saying no to a whole new fall wardrobe has been about more than doing environmental and humanitarian good–it has also been about working on myself. Continuously feeling the need to shop for more and more new clothes reveals a personal contentment problem. Like so many others, I have felt that pull to find the next best thing that will make me prettier, more stylish, happier. Every now and then I find myself comparing my wardrobe to that of Instagram influencers and feeling less than. But there’s nothing wrong with my clothes or looks–there’s a problem instead with my heart. True happiness cannot be found in constant shopping or the latest scrunchie trend. Being okay with last year’s clothes has taught me how to intentionally cultivate contentedness. And I’m not going to lie: it has also been good for my wallet!
I love this rust colored Grace & Lace sweater that I bought last year at The Flourish Market. Ethically made in the perfect fall color, I think it will be a wardrobe staple for many years to come. If you love it and want to score one for yourself, it is currently on clearance! Oh, the perks of your favorite blogger posting about last year’s clothes!
Full outfit details:
Sweater: Grace & Lace, purchased at The Flourish Market (use this link for 15% off your first purchase from The Flourish Market!).
Necklace: Brand unknown, purchased at Fifi’s.
Tank, leggings, boots: Shopped from my closet. Purchased prior to my personal ethical fashion revolution.
Bag: Angela Roi, purchased on Poshmark. (You can get a $10 credit for signing up for Poshmark using invite code CUPCAKE4815.
I’d love to hear y’all’s thoughts on fashion + shopping + contentedness. How often is too often to shop? How do you find a balance between your love for fashion and desire to live a more sustainable lifestyle? Share with me in the comments!
I love this!! The very best clothes are the ones you buy and then wear and love for years! I was so sad when one of my favorite shirts finally wore a hole in it after 10 years (now I re-purposed it as a pajama top 🙂 I replaced it with a new top from Elegantees and I’m hoping that one also lasts for 10 years!!! I think it is awesome you decided to “practice what you preach” with this post 🙂
I agree with you! Some of my very favorite clothing items are ones I have had for years and will never tire of!
You’re the cutest! And I love this – I haven’t bought anything new this year, either, and it honestly feels so refreshing just to be satisfied with what I have rather than feeding into the consumerist culture with my own greed for the newest thing.
That is awesome that you’ve been able to find a place of gratitude and satisfaction with the things you already have! It is hard in our culture, but it is so liberating!