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Style Advice

A guide to more considered clothes shopping

A guide to more considered clothes shopping

When we talk about shopping for investment pieces, the focus can easily swing to money. But investing in your clothing is about much more than what you spend. It means approaching shopping with a more considered mindset: thinking about whether you truly need those new trainers, how much you really want that sale item, or whether the tartan trench coat you’ve been eyeing actually goes with anything else you own. And it’s not just your pocket that will benefit – it’s more sustainable for the planet too. 

To help you approach clothes shopping in a more considered way, we've put together a list of questions you should ask yourself before you click ‘purchase’.

Will it work with the rest of my wardrobe?

When it comes to buying new clothes, it’s often the pieces we didn’t buy immediately, but found ourselves thinking about that we end up wearing the most. In other words, the items that were the opposite of an impulse buy. Learn to gravitate towards the pieces that already work with everything you own, that don’t require more shopping for other items to make it an outfit, and that you know you can wear in different ways for longer than one season. 

Building this kind of connection with clothing, however frivolous it may seem, is the best way for new pieces to secure their place in your day-to-day wardrobe. So while we believe that shopping today should be focused on high-quality pieces that will last us for years to come, it doesn’t have to mean dropping hundreds on one item. Instead, it should help us to build a year-round collection of clothes we love and won’t get bored of.

Will it be on-trend for more than one season?

“My system is to make a note of the things I find myself returning to and noticing again and again, and then I’ll wait a month,” says stylist Toby Standing. “If I still want it after that, I’ll go for it. By then, I know it’s more than a flash in the pan thing that I thought was cool in the spur of the moment.

“This way of shopping means I buy less impulsively, and the things I do buy, I know I will wear – and wear often. Forcing myself to be more considered and not seeking instant gratification from fast fashion is better for the planet, and means I’m more likely to buy from brands and designers with longevity.”

Is it sustainably made?

With fast fashion on the rise, it can be easy to find yourself bulk-buying clothing that you don’t really need because it seems like you’re bagging a bargain. But don’t be distracted by the price tag – cheaply made clothes are more likely to break, so you’ll be back spending more money on replacements in no time. Instead, look to brands that prioritise sustainability without roaming into unaffordable territory. Patagonia, Colorful Standard, and Basic Rights all design a mix of trend-led and timeless clothing that’s produced ethically and sustainably, so you know they’ll last.

Does it fit my budget?

While it’s always worth investing in good quality clothing that is designed to last, dropping £600 on a pair of trainers isn’t feasible for most people. When it comes to good shoes and outerwear, you know you’re going to be spending more than you would on a t-shirt or pair of sweatpants even though you’re likely to get less wear out of them. That’s because they’re long-lasting pieces that you’ll own fewer of, but get more wear out of in the long run.

When it comes to true investments in clothing, your favourite pieces don’t have to cost a week’s salary. Consider your budget, and whether you can really afford to invest in that particular piece – especially if it’s a short-term trend.

Does it reflect your style?

“Sometimes you should just buy clothes for the joy of it,” says stylist Freddie Kemp. “Quite often purchases can be wrapped up in too much thought and outfit planning, and there’s nothing wrong with buying something that makes you feel good.” After all, the key ingredient to dressing with confidence is putting on things you love, and that truly represent you. 

So rather than investing in staples this season (they’ll always be there) try something new that pushes your style a little more, and expresses your personality. “Investing doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. You can invest in something that commits you to a new way of dressing and shopping,” Freddie says. “I recently got round to watching the ‘Dogtown & Z-Boys’ documentary again and inspired me to try a pair of the navy Vans Vault sneakers that the skate team wears. It’s not my usual style – and probably not something I needed – but it made me feel good.”

Words: Ella White