How to transition to slow fashion?

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    I used to post a lot on this sub but haven’t been here for a while. So hello again!

    I was wondering if other people could give me advice on how to transition to slow fashion, or if such a thing is realistic. I see so many mid-level designers who I like: Caron Callahan, Ilana Kohn, Blue Blue Japan, etc. But their clothes, which also seem to be good quality from in-person inspections, often hover around the $300 mark. I make a decent salary but not so decent that buying $300 clothing is nothing to me. At the same time, I am tired of buying approximations of higher-end clothing that I like, only to search for the next approximation because the first was disappointing, and so on and so forth. I currently buy a lot of my clothing at Madewell, Aritizia, etc. I wonder if buying fewer but better items is a good idea. Have other people made this switch and been happier with it? I’m worried I’ll be plagued by FOMO if I’m limited to, say, one item a month, but it would also perhaps free up a closet full of things I don’t wear too often. Some of my favorite pieces are sale items from expensive places like Eileen Fisher. Any advice or perspectives?



    It depends what your motivations are. Do you need more space? Do you want to stop supporting brands that you think are unethical? Do you feel bad about the environmental waste of throwing away clothes you haven’t worn much? Do you want to look/feel better in higher quality clothing? Because they lead to different answers and they tend to all get a bit muddled when people start talking about slow fashion.



    Building a wardrobe doesn’t happen all at once, so I would slowly acquire higher-end, timeless pieces such as a LBD, fabulous jeans, a cashmere sweater, a tailored blazer, etc.

    I buy casual and trendy items at places like Madewell, Nordstrom BP, and Zara, but I spend more on my wardrobe staples. That said, I almost never pay full price for any clothing. I get my designer apparel at a discount from places like The Outnet and Barney’s Warehouse, and I regularly check the sales at department stores, ShopBop, FarFetch, etc.



    start with one piece. it’s honestly that simple. Buy one perfect jacket that you’ll wear 2 to 4 times a week. then maybe a little later buy another perfect jacket. or a perfect shirt. Buying slow fashion is never about buying a TON OF STUFF it’s always about buying one perfect piece here and one perfect piece there. also buying second hand saves you a lot of money

    (also fwiw I relate so hard to the buying approximations that are never good enough, that’s me 2-3 years ago and I have been SO HAPPY to switch to the perfect pieces)



    I have also started transitioning into wearing more ethical, higher quality clothing. Start by mapping out the barebones of your wardrobe tailored to your liking (essential t-shirts, a few pairs of jeans, a pencil skirt, etc.), then slowly buy pricier items secondhand or asked as a gift on a special occasion. I find that this is the best way to go for both your wardrobe and your budget, especially when starting off. In the words of Viviane Westwood, “buy less, choose well, make it last.”



    It takes far fewer items to make a good wardrobe than people think.

    I’ve been traveling with just a carry-on for much of this year. Living for months with ten tops, three bottoms, one jacket, and three pairs of shoes has shown me that I really, really don’t need all the stuff. Do I miss things that I didn’t bring? Not really. Have I gotten bored of what I have? Not really. All the tops go with all the bottoms, so that’s a whole month of outfits without repeating any combination … and that’s without using any accessories or layers. I’ve only brought things that I really like, and honestly, they are the things that I end up wearing 95% of the time at home anyway.

    At one item a month, you would have as many things as I’ve been using in around a year and a half. But, that seems like awfully quickly to acquire a wardrobe. If you get everything in a short time, it will all look dated at the same time. Better to gradually add things to the mix, so everything isn’t from just one or two trend cycles. And, I would caution against replacing things just to get a supposedly more ethical version. The most ethically and environmentally responsible clothes are those you already have.



    I think it’s really depends on your style and if you have an idea of which items are essential to you.

    I opt to thrift! Its quiet fun to find treasure and I find that there are quality trendy items after a couple of weeks/months since people dispose it (so not really a FOMO feeling for someone who is a former fash fashion addict). I do buy one or two trendy pieces new if I really love it. I splurge on quality items such as coats, jackets, jeans and handbags since I get my value from my money. Though, I have a specific style in mind so I know which pieces I should spend more on vice versa.

    I guess I am happy as I don’t spend so much and have less of a carbon footprint by recycling. And I feel good knowing I have nice pieces that will last long and are durable.

    If you want to experiment whether you would be happy with buying fewer items, maybe you can try creating a capsule wardrobe with your items now and seeing how you feel.



    $300 is a lot, but have you totalled up the cost of what your fast fashion buys add up to? Say, if you’re buying a white t shirt for $20 and you have to replace it every couple of months, it adds up. If the higher priced item is also higher quality, the cost per wear might even out. Regarding FOMO, what I’ve learned from r/makeuprehab is to unsubscribe from brand and store emails, and not follow trends. If I don’t know of the new products in stores, I won’t know what I’m missing out on. Obviously, clothing trends are gonna be harder to avoid IRL than makeup trends, but honestly, seeing people wear something cool IRL rarely makes me wanna buy it, compared to the perfectly styled instagram photos and prpduct shots.



    Have you tried thrifting? I go thrifting in wealthy suburbs and you can pick up some really good pieces for a fraction of what they’re worth. I’ve gotten designer clothes, cashmere coats, cashmere cardigans/jumpers, leather skirts and jackets, etc from between $5-$20 per item. If you keep an eye out for high quality pieces and materials, you can get some really great pieces. The only thing is you do have to go regularly, because you won’t be guaranteed to find something every time.



    Start with basic pieces that you wear all the time.



    I’ve actually been making the same transition myself, now that I’ve gotten my first “real” job. I agree with what the other comments are saying: build up your wardrobe slowly, and go for wardrobe staples you can mix & match easily. Personally, the transition became much easier when I finally figured out what style works best for me, and started buying every item very deliberately – now I only seek out new items when I think something is lacking from my current wardrobe, or would complement my existing clothes/accessories (eg. “I need to buy a light colored blazer to add some structure to my favorite jeans & black tee combo”). I’ve also learned to turn away from sales sections.

    Now if only I could do the same with makeup…



    I think there are some mid-range slow fashion brands that might not be as well known. I started making the transition to more slow fashion and ethical shopping around 2 years ago. I still buy my jeans from Madewell, purchase items via ThredUp, and occasionally still buy the trendy fast fashion piece or two. What really helped me make the transition was finding a brand that I connected with that had a style that felt like me. For me, that brand was Brass Clothing. Once I found them and started purchasing their items I was able to make the transition because the clothes felt authentic to me and were great quality so I didn’t feel the need to keep buying more items. I’m not sure what your fashion style is, but maybe check them out? I have a $30 off your first purchase referral code and they’re doing free shipping all weekend – if you’re interested PM me and I’ll send it your way.



    I’ve been trying a lot of the slow fashion styles through secondhand markets (Instagram, poshmark) and reselling what doesn’t really work for me. It’s been really good so far and I haven’t spent too much considering how much I’ve been able to try and replace my former palette with warmer tones that are more flattering to me. I like the quality and styles I see in the slow fashion world though I’m still supplementing with uniqlo tees etc for now.

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