A few weeks ago, I wrote a post with some of my tips for shopping ethically on a small budget. Because I had so many tips, I decided to make my ethical shopping tips posts a multi-part series on my blog. That way, I wouldn’t dump a ton of information on you all at once, and also so that I could create an ongoing list of socially-conscious shopping tips that I can add to as I discover new ones. Last week, I went on vacation to Nashville, Tennessee and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some shots for Part 2 of the series. So without further ado, here are some more ways I afford to shop ethical clothing on a student budget.
- Be an outfit repeater. Remember that scene in The Lizzie McGuire Movie where Kate calls Lizzie out for being an outfit repeater? I remember watching that scene when I was 9 years old, seeing Lizzie’s utter humiliation, and not understanding why repeating outfits was so bad. It seems like such a silly thing to never or rarely repeat outfits, especially when considering the amount of water, energy, and manpower it takes to make our clothes. Did you know it takes nearly 3000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans? And it takes about 400 gallons of water to grow the cotton for one t-shirt. That means that one outfit consisting of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt takes at least 3400 gallons of water to produce. Now, if you wear that outfit only once, you’re not only wasting your money but valuable natural resources. Clothes are meant to be worn more than once, and I don’t know about you, but if I have an amazing outfit, I want people to see it, even if that means I wear it multiple times.
- Swap with friends. An alternative to buying a new outfit for every exciting occasion in your life is to raid your friends’ closets. If you need a blazer for an interview or a sundress for a wedding, I’m willing to bet you know someone who’s happy to let you borrow theirs. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about having a roommate: 2 closets to choose from! My roommate has this one white tank top that she can never seem to pry away from me. Another fun alternative to shopping is having a clothing swap party with your friends. All you have to do is have your friends bring to the party all the clothes they don’t wear anymore, and you can trade with each other. You can even order a pizza, watch Pride and Prejudice, and make a whole girls’ night out of it.
- Ethical brands. Though they’re not as visible as many fast fashion brands, there are so many really incredible ethical clothing companies that respect their workers and the planet. When you do decide to buy a new item, make sure it’s an investment piece. Because these companies responsibly source their materials and pay their workers a living wage, their prices are higher, and it may not be possible for you to buy 12 outfits worth of clothes in 1 go. Pick pieces that you know you’ll wear over and over again and can be styled in a variety of ways. That way, even though you’re repeating items of your wardrobe often, you don’t have to wear the exact same shirt + jeans combo every day of your life. Stay tuned for Tuesday’s post, which will be a list of socially- and environmentally-conscious clothing companies.
For this outfit, I’m wearing a romper from the 80s that I picked up at a vintage shop. Although I bought mine in Atlanta, I highly recommend checking out the vintage shops in Nashville if you’re ever in town. My favorite one I visited was Local Honey.
How do you shop ethically on a budget?
Check out Part 1!
*Photos by JFG Photography