Easy ways to stop buying so many new clothes

If you’ve resolved to be more sustainable in 2023, you may be hoping to finally break the fast fashion habit this year. How’s that going so far? Most of us are prone to the last minute panic buy on the way home from work, and perhaps you’re already looking at yours and feeling guilty. Happily, it’s now easier than ever to minimise the impact of your looks, you just need to change how you think about what you wear. We take a look at some ideas that may even save you money in the process.

Dare to re-wear

If you’re planning your outfit for an event, bear in mind that it’s no longer taboo to wear a stunning piece that everyone there will recognise. The whole idea of splashing out on a once-in-a-lifetime outfit has already begun to feel very last-decade. Choose a piece that will remind them of a joyful past event or celebration, while making a green statement that may or may not spark discussion. Most people should instantly understand what you’re doing, but if you make a new convert, where’s the harm? Freshen your look by combining pieces in a new way or with different accessories or hairstyle.

Choose pre-loved

We all love a new look, but new-to-you garments are really all that takes. It’s amazing what you can find in charity or second-hand shops if you trawl thoroughly. If you’re not convinced, just take a look at the Oxfam site. Sign up for local re-use communities on Freegle or Facebook, and check personal seller’s outlets like eBay. If you don’t have the time and patience, or the eye, to sort through, fashion-oriented sites like CSD, Depop or Vinted let you search by designer or offer edits for fast inspiration. Choose pieces to see you through years of day-to-day looks, or indulge in that eye-popping dress, wear it once and put it back in the pool.

Hire it

Clothing rental is no longer just about that one bank-breaking event. From red-carpet reception to afternoon in the park, Balenciaga to H&M, you can now rent your look online. New fashion rental sites have been popping up like mushrooms recently. Often you can choose next-day delivery, sometimes even borrow something on the day you need it. Especially in London there may be a real-life place to try-on before you book. With prices usually around 10-20% of retail price, you can rock a fun piece for less than a tenner or save thousands on couture. We particularly like Rotaro, for both their range of cult designers and their commitment to maximum sustainability.

Invest in a little black dress

Every wardrobe needs that one classic piece that’s up to any fashion challenge. If you don’t have an LBD you love (or that still fits!), think about investing before the next panic-buy strikes. If you’re buying new, you’ll want to support an ethical designer like Stella McCartney or label like People Tree. But there’s no reason at all why your latest shouldn’t be pre-loved. Take the time to choose something you’ll want to wear at every opportunity, and you’ll never be stuck for an outfit again.

All of the above

Spice up the re-wear or LBD with hired high-fashion accessories. Or, if it doesn’t look quite right when you try it on, offer it for sale or rent it out on a peer-to-peer site like By Rotation or Loanhood. You may find your love of fashion is suddenly paying for itself! Rental is also a great way to try before you buy. Sites like Rites do both curated rental and second-hand resale. Borrow a piece you’d like to own and wear it a few times before you commit. Embrace this new approach and not only will you break the habit painlessly, you’ll quickly realise fashion has become infinitely more fun!

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