The clothes that we wear are a representation of our choices. So it's important for our sense of self, to truly love the clothes that we wear and to feel proud about the choices we've made with them.
Questions to ask yourself before you purchase something
1. How much do I really love it?
This is the most important question to ask yourself. How much you truly love a garment will ensure that it is worn regularly. If you love something, you will take good care of it, you will love wearing it, so you will wear it often and you will make sure that it lasts; washing it carefully and mending it when it becomes worn.
A good tip is to add the item to your basket or wish list and leave it there for at least 24 hours. It will take the impulse out of the purchase and ensure that it is a considered and thought-through purchase. For items that are more of an investment for you, add more thinking time to consider the purchase before you commit, try thinking it over for a week or a month.
2. How much wear will I get out of it?
The more that you wear something, the better for the environment. Quite simply it reduces the demand in the industry for constant newness and slows the process down.
How many different ways can you wear it? Is it a wardrobe staple that you'll wear over and over again?
What is the impact per wear?
If the garment is something that you are likely to wear only once, the impact of that one wear is felt with the entirety of the production process that has gone into the making of that garment. This includes the resources taken to make the fabric, the production of the garment itself, the packaging as well as the shipping.
The more that you wear a garment, the smaller the impact of production becomes, as it is spread out across the lifespan of the product.
What is the Cost Per Wear?
Instead of asking "What is the cost?" try asking, "What is the cost per wear?". By wearing a garment often, you can reduce cost of it. The cost per wear reduces every time that you wear a garment. If you buy a dress for £50 and only wear it once, the cost of wearing the garment is £50. But if you purchase a dress for £50 but wear it 10 times, the cost per wear is just £5.
3. Will it last?
Whether a garment will last comes down to the quality of production and the quality of the fabric.
Quality plays a huge role in how long garments will last. The better the garment's quality the more you'll reach for it to wear. It also allows you to wear it over and over again as the quality will hold. Quality garments are also easier to repair. The quality allows for you to wear it over and over again. It also makes you feel good about wearing it. Having high quality fabric and production ensures the garment can be fixed and repaired when it's been worn.
Style is also important to consider here. Will you want to wear this garment in 3 years time? Is it part of a fashion fad that won't be trendy by next summer? If it's a trend led product, can you style it in more timeless ways?
You can also extend the life of garments through careful care. Read our guide here.
Investment pieces that you will cherish and care for.
If you purchase something that is £20.00 and it costs £5.00 to repair it, will you feel that it is worth repairing? Or will you end up simply throwing it away?
4. What is the ethical impact of this purchase?
Do you know who made it? Can you trust that it was made ethically?
Garments aren't always made in the same place that they are designed, make sure you take a look at where the garments are being made. Brands often highlight where the garment is designed, which might be in fancy offices or studios with good working conditions. This part of the business only contributes to a small part of the product's supply. The real impact is where the garment is physically produced. Find out where it's made and how the workers are treated there. Are they paid fairly? Do they work in healthy and safe environments? Do they get breaks? Do they have clean water?
All wash care labels should state the country of origin (it's a legal requirement in some countries). This means that they should state where the garment was made. So the garment wash care label is a good place to check. Often online, brands don't list the country of origin for garments, but we recommend that you contact the company and find out.
You can often tell a lot from the price of a garment. If the garment is less than an hourly living wage (especially if it looks complicated to make, with lots of detailing or stitching) then it's more than likely the person who has made the garment is not being paid a living wage.
Ideally, when answering these questions; you'll love the garments 10/10. You'll wear the garment regularly. The cost per wear will be significantly lower than the original garment price. It will be ethically made.
Purchase items that tick as many boxes as possible. Most importantly, buy things that you'll love and cherish. Wear them often and look after them so that they last even longer.