How to… shop till you drop and still "be green":

Clearly I was ahead of the times…

Earlier this month Dame Vivienne Westwood urged BBC Radio London listeners to stop shopping for six months in order to avoid unnecessary waste.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has launched his climate change for London campaign with a number of stars, including Westwood, lending their voices and support to the cause.

Well, Dame Vivienne and Mr Johnson, I’m one step ahead of you – I already gave up shopping for six months! It was not easy. But it is certainly possible. You can read about how I got on here.

If you don’t think you can manage six months, or, like me, have done your six months of no shopping, what next? It’s all very well not buying anything for half a year but what about the other half of the year. Do you suddenly forget all of those noble ‘green’ reasons you gave up shopping in the first place? (NB – not sure my reasons were ever very noble or green but whatever – I did it!)

Well, you can still shop and “be green”. I think.

Dame Vivienne Westwood advises that people shouldn’t buy clothes unless they absolutely had to and that then that shoppers should only invest in quality pieces that would last.

That’s the first step. Only buy what you absolutely need. This might be a little restricting, particularly in the beginning. So why not allow yourself one frivolous piece a month whilst you wean yourself off the shopping bug. That way you have to really think about what you buy and will hopefully choose something you really want, as opposed to something you think you want or want for that moment!

You should also – obviously – be allowed to replace items. Say your favourite, much loved and, therefore, much worn pair of jeans develops a hole in crotch, say, you have my permission to buy a new pair! But if, say, I button falls off a shirt or a dress, sew it back on! I’ve even been known to sew up holes in the toes of tights, particularly the pretty patterned ones I own. (I just make sure not to wear them with peep toes!!)

I don’t know many women who feel that they have everything they “need” in their wardrobes. So, if this is you, make a list of the absolute essentials that you feel your wardrobe is lacking and when you go shopping, take this with you. This should then act as a guide.

Of course, charity shops and vintage shops are – technically – ethical. But that doesn’t mean you should go mad. If you don’t absolutely love the item, don’t buy it for the sake of it or just because it is “green” to do so. It won’t be if it just ends up sitting in your wardrobe until your next clear-out! Plus, there might be someone else looking for that exact piece who will love and wear it.

In summary (because I think I have waffled on a bit here!):

Ask yourself these questions when you’re considering buying a “new” item:

Do I need it?

Do I love it?

Will it go with the other items in my wardrobe? (If you have to buy new shoes etc to wear it, don’t buy it!)

Will it last? (I.e. is it well made and will it still work next season?)

If you answer yes to all of these – go on, treat yourself!!

For further reading, check out Style Eye’s post and Vogue’s article.

In other reading, for the weekend, why not check out twentyteneightyfour‘s post “It’s not about fashion, it’s about style.” Which might also help you to realise that it’s not all about the latest fashions.

About sugarandspicesg

fashion blogger
This entry was posted in editorial, how to, politics, shopping ban. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How to… shop till you drop and still "be green":

  1. Harriet says:

    I think it's kind of ironic that Vivienne Westwood is staying 'Don't buy lots of stuff… but oh when you do buy stuff, buy quality stuff, like maybe what I make…'Ok, I'm being a little harsh, she's as much right as anyone to express her opinions, but it feels to me that by saying 'oh don't buy stuff' it's a bit like biting off the hand that feeds her…I would find it so hard to do what you did and do a shopping ban for six months, and I admire you so much for that. I am currently attempting instead a 'can I possibly live without it?' approach to shopping. I.e. is it a. a necessity or b. so amazingly gorgeous and perfect that I can't live without it and will wear it every day!I totally agree about not buying things that don't match the rest of your wardrobe. I used to have a big problem with doing this, but once I simplified down what I owned and bought a few more basics I found my 'I have nothing to wear' days got a lot fewer.

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