What I Learned About My Style When I Stopped Shopping Fast Fashion
Nearly five years ago, I made the conscious decision to buy less . . . but better. Paramount in that decision was my choice to stop shopping for fast fashion of any kind. At the time, I had a handful of investment pieces (many of which were happy hand-me-downs from my grandmother) but also mixed with too many items to count from the likes of Zara, H&M, and more. Initially, the decision stemmed from my realization that I was racking up the cost of a Chanel bag with every disposable stack of cheap skirts and dresses, paired with an awakened notion of the horrors of the fast-fashion industry after watching a screening of Andrew Morgan's The True Cost. That said, realistically, I wasn't sure the choice would stick. It was just so easy to indulge in a little retail therapy with a trendy new silk shirt or tweed blazer for under $100 — no matter the silk was really some poly blend and the tweed would likely ignite if held too close to an open flame.
As it turns out, not only was I able to stay true to my new shopping mantra, but I also learned more than I thought I would about my own personal style along the way. And, even for a girl who was raised on the deep knowledge of fashion history, I gleaned more of an appreciation for and encyclopedia of individual niche runway collections, vintage show locations, and one-of-a-kind pieces.
When one shops for fast fashion, it's primarily about getting your hands on that momentary trend — immediately — with little regard to how much it actually represents you. Had you spent more than five minutes considering your purchase, or more than a few $20s on the item, you'd likely reconsider your supposed need. At least I did. I learned patience. And with that patience came a more curated wardrobe of pieces that truly felt like me.
While I would like to say that kicking my fast-fashion habit resulted in a standstill of shopping (well, at least, my wallet would love it if that statement were true), I cannot say that exactly happened. I was definitely more aware of my habits but certainly still shopped for those must-have pieces each season. The difference I saw, however, was where I chose to shop. More specifically, I quickly became an avid peruser of resale sites like Vestiaire Collective, The RealReal, ReSee, and more. Sure, the designer items are selling for a fraction of their original boutique-marked price, but what I love most about it is the history. Whether it's the ability to find that one-of-a-kind bag you've never seen before or get your hands on the dress from your favorite Miu Miu collection from 10 years ago, it's a shopping habit I've found to be much more gratifying than many others in my life.
I still pay retail on that brand-new, decidedly splurge-worthy item I fall head-over-heels for from time to time, but I'm now much more likely to choose something that will last me a lifetime, instead of a season.