With fashion changing so frequently as new seasonal trends emerge and last season’s fashion is soon forgotten, it’s no wonder that many of us learn at a very young age to stretch the dollar and to get “More Bang for your Buck” by buying less inexpensive, cheap fashion, and more of it! In high school when I first started earning a few extra dollars, I shopped the clearance racks exclusively of the cheapest junior fashion stores I could find, often times picking up 4-5 articles of clothing for less than $50.
This is great when you’re trying to stay on top of trends on a budget, but it can be really annoying when you only get ONE wear out of an article of clothing – and this has happened to me more than once! ONE single wear before it literally fell apart on me!
As I started getting more into fashion in my later 20’s and watching some of my favorite style programs on TV, I kept hearing over and over from the experts that your money will actually go further when splurging on that $150 blazer when you will get wear after wear out of it for years to come (which equals out to about $2 per wear) then buying that cheap $20 one you may be lucky to get more than a handful of wears out of before the threads start coming undone, the material rips, or the color fades and is ruined the first time you wash it. Oh and that $20 blazer didn’t really save you money at all when you ended up getting about $7 per wear out of it before it completely fell apart.
Trends fade fast and even when buying from the cheapest stores you can find, you’re only going to get a few wears out of that cute tulle skirt before it’s out of style, even if the threads do happen to hold on a little tighter and better than most clothing you buy at that price.
As a stylist, my advice has become all about buying the classics, spending a little more money on them so you’ll certainly get your money’s worth, and forgetting about the short lived seasonal trends that you know you’ll never wear again once Spring is over. It’s a waste. And not only is it wasting the money in your wallet, it’s wasting our earth and the lives of others.
The cold hard truth is that, that dollar you just stretched to buy quantity over quality, is actually creating some really unfair working conditions and wages for the unfortunate people (mostly women in south-asian countries). Not that long ago I heard of a story on the news of a women buying an item “MADE IN CHINA” from the store, only to get home and find a hand written note in Chinese inside the package, most likely from a worker in the factory, asking for help, because the work conditions there were so poor.
It’s not just workers that are being effected buy the world’s desire to buy clothing cheap. Its wreaking havoc on our earth. Dyes from clothing are polluting water systems, making water completely undrinkable in some areas. We’re consuming more and more from the earth as more and more cheap clothing is quickly being made. Less than 25% of clothing is recycled. I’m guessing that a lot of that has to do with clothing being so poorly made that they can’t be recycled but inevitably end up in the garbage because the cheap fabric and sewing has ripped or torn.
There are things you can do to help the earth and the people who inhabitate it when it comes to shopping for the latest fashion.
Five Tips to help you spend your money more wisely when buying fashion:
- Buy secondhand. While there often seems to be a bad wrap from this and sometimes the clothing you’re buying on the rack of the Goodwill is still some of that “Cheap” inexpensive clothing still, there are lots of sites that offer higher end fashion that has been gently worn. A few years back when I became vegetarian, I stared buying leather goods this way, but now I often buy some more expensive classics this way too.
- Buy Less of it. Do you really need that third navy blue pencil skirt? Many of us are addicted to spending too. Period. Find another way to deal with the stress, that doesn’t involve retail therapy. Go out with the girls for some coffee instead of shopping.
- Do your research and read reviews before purchasing, so you won’t find yourself later on completely disappointed with the product, headed back to the store to buy something else to replace it.
- Try it on in the store then actually wear it when you get it home. I’ll admit I’m the worst shopper this way. I hate trying on things in the horrid small dressing rooms with awful lighting. My hair gets super staticky this time of year as I take off my million layers of clothing to try on that sweater, so I don’t. I get home, try it on, and often hate it, but I am too lazy to make the drive back to the store and return it. And then because I’ve often bought so much, I rarely wear what I’ve paid for anyway. I’m also guilty of buying something I ‘like.” But when it comes to fashion, buy only what you “Love.” You’ll get way more wears this way and those jeans will be less likely to end up in the landfill and more likely to be worn for many years to come.
- When you do buy, stay out of the cheap stores and buy products of good quality, and buy from fair-trade, artisan, eco-friendly brands when you can. While there are still not a whole ton of options out there, these kinds of boutiques and shopping sites are starting to pop up more and more frequently.
One of my favorite’s is Boutique Mexico which is now opening in Tulum. Designer and boutique owner, Jennifer Olson (a resident of Mexico herself) created this boutique in order to combine Mexican Artistry and Modern Design to Empower Women Artisan.
Making a livable income can be almost impossible for those living in rural Mexico. Jobs can be extremely difficult to come by. Jennifer was compelled to help artisans sell their beautiful handmade creations so they can prosper in their financial situation and show the world their cultural art.
What started as a modest Etsy shop quickly transformed into an upscale womenswear and accessory line devoted to delivering stylish apparel that is ethically made, eco-friendly and provides artisan women with a dignified job and income.
Every purchase from Boutique Mexico will help artisan women rise out of poverty as well as help other great causes such as funding for La Escuelita de Sonia School, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and the World Heritage site near Tulum. location of the new store in Tulum and how BM will be featuring a new Mexican Designer every month.
*All of Boutique Mexico’s apparel and accessories are 100% artisan-made and celebrate the native crafts of Mexico.
You can help make a difference in the world with buying these sustainable, eco-friendly fashionable and Boutique Mexico accessories. Here are some of my favorites, and the products are high quality, durable, and made to last, and yet still feel like you’re getting more bang from your buck thanks to the great pricing!
- Bimi Tassel Bracelet $35: Looking for some arm candy to light up your wrist? The Bimi Tassel Bracelet boasts beautiful tassels with eye-catching contemporary hues that will make a standout addition to your collection of accessories.
- Purchase with a Promise: Boutique Mexico pledges one dollar for every bracelet sold to amigos de Sian Ka’an, a non-profit organization which works to preserve the largest jungles in Mexico, the largest underground rivers in the world and the second largest coral reef in the planet. Restoring our natural resources, one bracelet at a time.
- Mini Stella Tote $65: Dare to dazzle with this eye-catching Mini Stella Tote. It’s the perfect accessory to compliment your contemporary look and add a pop of pretty color to any outfit. This tote is ideal for everyday use and is just the right size to fit all of your daily essentials. Made out of recycled plastic, the Mini Stella Tote is easy to maintain, just wipe it off with water to keep it looking as good as new.
Interested in picking up some of this lovely sustainable, artisan fashion for yourself? Be sure to shop BoutiqueMexico.com Online Today or visit them in Tulum at https://goo.gl/maps/GF4K3RTpr MK2 It is about a 5 minute walk North from Hartwood Restaurant and about a 2 minute walk South from Hotel Ahau Tulum. Right next to “Las Bolas” ice cream shop.
Where are some of your favorite fair-trade places to shop? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you!