Whether you’re shopping online or browsing for clothes in person, picking out new pieces for your closet can feel seriously overwhelming, and building a sustainable wardrobe has never been more of a challenge. After all, in a world where you can find pretty much any item of clothing in every cut, shape, and color imaginable, how are you possibly supposed to choose between them? More importantly, how do you work out which items you genuinely love and will want to wear not only now, but in years to come? Well, while we can’t curate your wardrobe for you, we can share all of our top shopping tips and tricks for investing in pieces you truly love and will want to wear proudly on repeat…
GET BACK TO BASICS
One of the simplest ways to make sure you’ll actually wear the clothes you’re purchasing is to opt for timeless basics that form the foundation of every outfit. For example, we all need closet staples like plain white t-shirts, black or blue jeans, and simple black or white dresses. These items are eternally versatile and will never go out of style. That means you can be confident you’ll find yourself reaching for them time and again.
So now we know we’ll wear them, but how do we know we’ll also love them? If you ask us, that’s all down to your personal preferences on the cut, the fabric, and the fit. For example, if you’re all about V-shaped necklines over rounded ones, make sure any t-shirts you buy have your preferred neckline. Purchasing staple clothing in a style you wouldn’t normally go for just because it’s cheaper or because it’s right in front of you may seem more convenient, but you’ll soon discover that these pieces spend way more time in the back of a drawer than they do on your body. Save yourself the space, the time, and the money, and only part with your hard-earned cash when you truly feel good in the piece you’ve picked out.
DON’T TALK YOURSELF INTO A PURCHASE
Here’s a shopping rule to live by. If you ever pick up an item of clothing and think, ‘this would be perfect if only it was a slightly different shade, or had a different neckline, or was a little long/shorter’ - put it down and walk away. If there’s something about it you don’t like or aren’t sure about, if you think it's almost perfect but it isn't quite there, it’s not worth your time or your money. When you’re having to convince yourself that just because it’s cheap or trending you’ll get over those things which, given the chance, you would change, we’re here to tell you, that just won’t happen. What’s more likely is you’ll get it home and never wear it, or you’ll wear it once and never again. Save yourself the effort and disappointment and wait until you come across something you really adore!
TAKE YOUR TIME
We all know how exciting it can be to find an item of clothing that we love and to purchase it right there on the spot. Treating ourselves to new clothes on a whim feels extravagant and exciting and, sometimes, you’re absolutely right to go with your gut. Other times, however, we can get swept up in the moment because we’re so pleasantly surprised by an item that we think we won’t find anything like it again. In times like these, we rarely think about how many times we’ll actually wear it. Our advice? Give yourself time to consider what you’re buying before you buy it. If you’re shopping online, add it to your favorites then give yourself a day to mull it over. Think about where and when you’ll wear it and whether it goes with anything else you own. Can you genuinely see yourself reaching for it day to day, or are you simply in love with how pretty or unique it is? If it’s in person and you need to decide on the day, ask the store to hold it for you. Even if you only leave it behind for ten minutes, you’ll give yourself enough space to know whether you really can’t live without it and want to make the effort to go back for it!
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
Another pro tip for adding thoughtfully to your existing wardrobe? Make sure any new purchases slot in seamlessly. By that, we mean they should go with plenty of items you already own. That way you won’t need to go looking for even more clothes to wear them with. This is also where our tip about investing in high-quality staples like jeans, plain tees, and neutral knitwear comes into play. It’ll be much easier to introduce a few more unique, colorful, and printed pieces when you already have these effortlessly chic essentials to balance them with.
BID FAST FASHION FAREWELL
We all know how tempting it can be to dive in with a fast fashion haul and secure those trending items in a large volume for less. But there’s a problem. Firstly, trends come and go so you’ll probably only want to wear those pieces for a season or two at best. Secondly, whilst it might seem like a good deal at first, getting a large number of items for the cost of one or two higher-quality pieces, the likelihood is, these cheaper clothes just won't last as long. A lower price tag usually means lower quality after all and it’s not uncommon for them to fall apart after a few washes. Team this with the fact that how these clothes are produced is disastrous for the environment and it’s official. Fast-fashion pieces are a bad investment all around.
RE-LOVE THE PRE-LOVED
Want to go a step further in helping the environment and curating a closet you’ll love? Pre-loved clothing could be the answer. With designer re-sell platforms such as Vestiaire Collective, By Rotation, and The Real Real, you can find some truly fantastic deals on premium clothing and accessories. It also means those clothes get a second life so they don’t end up in landfill - it’s a win-win! What’s more, when we know that, not only are our clothes great quality but that our owning them also helps the planet, we’re sure to love them even more and for longer.
PLAN TO GO PREMIUM
There’s no denying that premium clothing can be considerably more expensive than the majority of fast-fashion items. However, you don’t need to go all in and replace your entire closet right away. Instead, we suggest starting with just one premium item, one you're likely to wear all the time. Pick out a spectacular winter coat, a great pair of everyday shoes, or a go-to pair of weekend jeans for example. Invest and see how it makes you feel. See how it elevates the other items you pair it with. Notice the quality, how well it lasts, and how good it makes you feel to own sustainable clothing that won’t harm the environment. From there, you can slowly make steps to start adding only sustainable, premium clothing to your closet if and when you can. And always remember, even the smallest step towards a fully sustainable wardrobe is still a move in the right direction.
Written by Sophie Mara - Fashion & Lifestyle Writer for Koraru
Sophie is a fashion and lifestyle writer based in the eco-friendly city of Brighton, England. She has years of experience writing for a number of online fashion and lifestyle publications about personal styling, fashion & lifestyle, Fashion Week coverage, beauty and more. On rare occasions when she's not writing, Sophie can be found with her head in a good book or catching up on her favourite interior design series
Header image- Dover Street Market, Ginza by Korie Cull