Sustainability on a Budget

So, how do you shop sustainably when fast fashion fits better in your budget and has the items you are interested in?

Well, let’s start with part one of that question- budget. Keep in mind that sustainable brands typically cost more than your average H&M or *gasp* Target because they guarantee fair wages for their employees, use responsibly sourced materials, and often support additional opportunities to do good in their communities. But hey, if it’s not in your budget, it’s not in your budget. So what can you do? Here are a few options for freshening up your wardrobe in an ethical and budget-friendly way.

  1. Buy Second Hand.
  2. Limit your new purchases.
  3. Upcycle old pieces to make something new.

Buy second hand. This one is probably my favorite option. The perception of buying second hand is really starting to shift. And with that, there has been a major increase in the options available. There are online apps that you can use to browse thousands of second hand pieces, different brick and mortar shops, vintage pop up booths, friends selling items online, and more!

These different sources for second hand apparel are making it easier for you to find the items you are interested in, too. You’ll see a lot of brick and mortar stores singling out popular brands in different areas of their store, and a lot of them also share photos of their apparel online which you can comment on and claim items to pick up later.

Apps help you narrow down your options as well by filtering by a particular size, product group, style, or even brand. If you know you are looking for that stripped madewell jumpsuit- you can filter for a stripped madewell jumpsuit. That’s another thing- second hand shops/sites/apps also sell items from sustainable brands-whooo!

Limit your number of new purchases. Booo I know. If you love shopping like I do then this one is definitely not as appealing, but here’s the thing… reducing your overall waste is the best way you can help out mother earth (and your wallet). And there are ways you can make this fun! I love the tip that I learned years ago to turn your hangers backwards and once you are done wearing something put it back the right way. After a certain amount of time, you will have a collection of clothes that you haven’t worn in forever!

Once you have this group of clothes (and shoes, jewelry, etc.), take a week incorporating one of these pieces into your outfit each day. You’ll really push your fashion creativity to the max and maybe bring some new life to these old and forgotten pieces. If you feel good at the end of the week, try doing this for another week! Your options are limitless now.

Upcycle old pieces to make something new. If you’re a project person, you’ll probably like this one. Upcycling an old piece can really mean anything and there are a lot of DIY tutorials out there that can help you out. Some of my favorites that are popular right now, is adding a strip of fun fabric (and if you want to get really crazy, some tassel fringe) to the bottom of a pair of jeans. Changing up the length and angle of a dress, and adding some patches or paint. Also, you don’t have to just stick to upcycling. Be sure to mend, repair, and clean up any tired looks to give them a second chance at life. Below are some of my favorite second-hand and upcycled/mended #OOTD looks for inspiration!

So just remember that you have more options than just a fast fashion or just a slow fashion retailer. Revitalizing pre-loved pieces not only saves you money, but helps this little planet that we live on. For tips on sustainability and #OOTD inspiration follow @lahti.cbou on instagram. Do you have any other tips? Please share them in the comments below!