I have to be honest, I’ve felt a little conflicted recently as a result of my desire to feature more earth-friendly fashion items; shouldn’t we all be trying to consume a little less, instead of more? Especially today, Earth Day, I posted so many coupon codes for eco-friendly online retailers encouraging us to buy more and spend more $$ on things we may or may not need. I am a consumer at heart, and I know you are too, but I personally, am going to try and make an effort to step back and really analyze what I’m buying and why.
I have said before, that I don’t do a lot of buying on sale because I’m more often blinded by the low price, even if it’s something I don’t need. But even I have a hard time resisting sometimes, and I succumbed recently to a pair of Repetto ballet flats from Neiman Marcus Last Call that ARE A SIZE TOO SMALL because they were on sale for $50. I’ve worn them a couple of times because I feel guilty and I can’t return them, but I would have gotten a better value for my money if I’d paid FULL PRICE for them and bought the right size. I would wear them forever, and my cost per wear would eventually get down to just dollars and less. As it stands now, my cost per wear may end up being as high as $10. NOT WORTH IT.
Anyway, my point is, although I was looking for this exact pair of shoes in black and wanted to buy them anyway, I focused on the super-discounted price and went with the smaller size because they were so cheap. That, in the end of the day, will cost me more, and is a waste…totally un-necessary consumption. This is what I think we should all avoid, and so many sales and coupon codes encourage us to buy frivolously, focusing on the discount, rather than the REAL price of the item.
Before I start losing advertisers and visitors, let me clarify. Grechen’s Closet is about providing ALL the available information for online shoppers, if you’re looking for a specific designer or item, we make it easier to find, and then provide you a list of retailers who offer exclusive discount codes for purchase. And I have always encouraged visitors to focus more on cost-per-wear when making any size purchase AND how the piece will look on their body and in their wardrobe; not only on price and/or bargains.
So, what does this have to do with Earth Day? Only that even though we are bombarded with sales and discounts for earth-friendly products and retailers, it’s important only to buy what we need, not what we don’t need just because it’s on sale. I keep a list of things in my head that I want to buy, and wait for a coupon code or sale to buy…or if it’s something I know I will wear all the time, and will last me two years or more, I will just pay full price for it (like this James Perse Maxi Dress I just purchased – my second one). I actually surprised myself during the latest Shopbop code and only bought the one thing I was waiting for the code to buy. I was tempted to buy a lot more, and I spent hours every day trying to convince myself to buy SOMETHING because I could get a discount on it…but in the end I resisted, and both my wallet and the planet are better for it.
Obviously, I still need to work on this, but my personal fashion mission is to buy only what I need, and focus on quality & longevity rather than price. I have been trying to follow this for the last several years, and been fairly successful, other than the recent Repetto ballet flats incident. I’m tired of getting rid of clothes/shoes/bags I don’t wear; clearly these were things I shouldn’t have purchased to begin with. I have dozens of items in my closet that have been there for years and still look new, and still get lots of wear; most of these items were initially very expensive, but have proven their worth many times over. The last several times I’ve done major closet reorganizations, items that end up in bags to give away are items that were hardly worn. Again, what a waste.
It’s all about stuff. And we as Americans have more stuff than we know what to do with; myself included. Stuff requires energy and resources to produce, and if each of us slowly try to reduce the amount of stuff we buy, demand will decline and supply will follow. But if we keep going the way we are headed now, nothing will change. We’ll all keep buying more and more stuff, demand will increase and so will supply; more pollution will follow, natural resources will get used up faster, and before we know it, we will be FORCED to stop consuming because there won’t be any more new stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT discouraging all consumption…just encouraging smarter consumption. And when you do need to buy a fashion item, think about buying something made from organic cotton, using natural dyes, and most importantly, research manufacturing and business practices of the companies you buy from to make sure they are ethical and use earth-friendly processes and facilities. We make it easy, just check out our list of Ethical and Eco-Friendly Shopping Sites, but be sure to do your own homework as well. Read-up on Bamboo…it’s not as earth-friendly as you might think it is, and learn how to recycle your old t-shirts and clothing. There’s a lot everyone can do, it just requires a little more thought and the right resources. We will all be better for it.