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Breaking the Fast-Fashion Cycle: 5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Shopping

by Georgina Burt

Let's face it, we've all been there: desperately digging through a dense jungle of clothes - some with the unworn tags still mocking us - and flinging the discards over our shoulders into a growing pile of regrets.

Our wardrobes have become time-capsules harbouring the ghosts of micro-trends past, with the likes of patchwork trousers and knock-off Vivienne Westwood necklaces among some of those still haunting us till this day.

But the cycle of impulse buys and avoiding unworn garments stops here! We can break free from overconsumption with smarter shopping habits. 

Remember how we exposed the psychological tricks of fast fashion last time? We're already armed with the knowledge to dismantle the influence of fast-fashion. So, let’s put it into practice...

5 Questions To Ask Yourself To Prevent Impulse Buys:

1) HOW Much Will I Wear It?

Instead of getting swept away by the fantasy of that one "bomb-ass" outfit in your head, can you see this piece seamlessly integrating into multiple looks within your existing wardrobe? 

Challenge yourself to envision at least 3-5 different outfits you can build around it before buying. The more versatile the piece, the more wear you'll get out of it! (Girl Math: Think of how much money you’ll save.)

2) WHY Am I Buying This?

Time to get real and self-reflect! 

Are you buying this on a whim to satisfy a fleeting urge? Is boredom, stress, or even sadness driving this purchase? 

As we know, sometimes, emotional triggers can lead to impulse buys for instant gratification. Evaluate whether your hedonic treadmill is ablaze or if you’re purchasing with purpose.

3) CAN I Wait?

We call this ‘The Power of the Pause!’ 

I dare you to take a step back and give it 24-hours, a week, or even a month before buying this item. You’ll find that, often, the urge to buy fades with time, revealing whether the item is a true necessity or just a fleeting desire. 

Imagine your cart as a graveyard for forgotten impulse buys - would this item end up there?

4) WHAT Is It: A Trend or Timeless?

Capsule wardrobes have become synonymous with efficiency, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. But, with so much fashion inspiration out there, it's easy to get caught up in trends. 

The key to a truly functional capsule lies in timeless pieces. Look to fashion's hall of fame: the enduring trench coat, the iconic little black dress, the ever-flattering straight-leg jean. These classics have stood the test of time for a reason. 

Timeless doesn’t have to mean boring, either. Get to know which style to tend to opt for in the morning and stick to those cuts and patterns you know you’ll always love. 

By prioritising classic silhouettes and quality tailoring, you'll build a foundation of interchangeable pieces that create endless outfit possibilities.

5) WHO Made This?

Get your magnifying glass out and inspect that label! 

A quick glance can reveal a lot about the materials and labour practices at play. Consider the impact of your purchasing habits. Would you rather spend £35 on a 100% plastic garment that might fall apart quickly, potentially ending up in landfills? Or invest in an £80 piece made with 80% wool that’s likely more durable, comfortable, and better for the environment? 

The wool option might seem pricier upfront, but it could be a more sustainable and long-lasting investment.

Before succumbing to the siren song of the latest fad, ask yourself these five soul-searching questions and exorcise the ghosts of tomorrow’s micro-trends, today. They'll be your weapon to break free from the cycle and curate a wardrobe that reflects your unique style, leaving you feeling confident every single day.

This mindful approach isn't just about saving money and reducing your environmental impact (though those are great perks!). It's about cultivating a wardrobe filled with versatile pieces you truly love and wear for years to come.

Fashion is your personal canvas, not a runway for fleeting trends or falling victim to impulse buys. 

Edited by Emily Duff

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