Quality or Quantity? Why I'm buying less and spending more
I have to admit, when I was younger I never really thought much about where my clothes from. I never considered how they are made, who makes them or where they go after the three times I've worn them on nights out. Working in fashion has given me a new perspective on the industry. Slowly I've come to understand what makes different garments expensive - it might be the yarn, the type of fibre, the labour involved, the country of origin or the even the transportation cost. Sometimes it's just the brand. It can take several months, hundreds of jobs and thousands of pounds from one initial idea to actually seeing that item on the shop floor - with more work going on in the background than you can ever imagine. All for one, singular item that ends up being thrown away after a couple of washes anyway. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE trends. I love observing people, watching where they eat, what they're doing, where they go on holiday, all to understand what they might want to buy next year. However I've noticed a shift in myself and my personal style where I've really started to shop less and invest more, and I honestly think that others are doing the same.
Why then, can choosing quality over quantity change your life?
You'll save money
You might not believe me - how can you save money when you're buying an £80 leather rucksack vs. a £25 PU bag? Well a beautiful leather rucksack is going to last you years if you look after it well. If you condition the leather, don't overfill it, pull or hard on the zip or bash it into things then you've got a bag that will last you time and time again. A PU bag, although it may look the same, just won't have the longevity of something a bit more sturdy. It will scratch easily or the lining will tear. You'll probably have to buy three bags in the space of time you have the leather one so there isn't even difference in cost. You'll probably even save money by not rushing out and buying the latest trend piece all the time!
You can save the planet
Ever wondered where your clothes go after you've worn them? Unless you sell them on eBay or take them into the charity shop then they're probably going into a hole in the ground. Buying fewer items means you're contributing less waste into the world around you and helping to create a more sustainable future!
You can save space
Unless you're lucky enough have a walk-in wardrobe, space probably isn't going to be on your side. This has never been truer for me. Living in a teeny London flat I've realised I can't buy everything because I just can't fit it in! Gone are the days I come home from work with armfuls of clothes from the sample sale because I have to be more wise with the space I have. I try not to buy things with duplicate end uses - for example I've got one cross body bag, one main clutch bag and one rucksack. Although I would love hundreds of bags I only really ever need three. I sometimes also have a fashion bag depending on the season - a straw bag for summer or an IT bag for Winter but I try to limit myself as much as I can.
You find out your own personal style
I've been there before - buying every trend going, regardless of whether it suits my body shape, my personality, or even fits in with anything else in my wardrobe. An eclectic style is cool, but one thing I've learnt since pairing back my wardrobe is what actually, truly works for me, then spending my money on more expensive, quality pieces that I will cherish and wear over and over again. The more you build up a capsule wardrobe, the more interchangeable all your items will be, and you'll soon be able to see gaps where you need to invest more money. I noticed I had a lot of casual/ activewear in my wardrobe but not a nice pair of trainers that went with them all. I chucked my old grubby ones away and bought myself a £98 pair of pristine, bright white Jigsaw trainers, which leads onto my next point...
You'll learn to take good care of your clothes
My Jigsaw trainers are my babies. They aren't designer or overly extravagant but on a fashion wage, living and working in London, they were an investment purchase. I bought some Liquiproof and doused them in the leather protector spray. I wipe them with baby wipes, and even occasionally bleach the laces. It may sound obsessive but buying higher quality or more expensive pieces teaches you the respect it's value. I really do care for my clothes. Folding knitwear so it doesn't drop, never tumble drying and trying not to wash them after every wear. Caring for your wardrobe stops you seeing fashion as disposable and throw-away and makes you appreciate the design and functionality of the pieces you own.
I don't walk around wearing top-to-toe designer (or really any designer clothes for that matter!) and sometimes I do just want a bargain in H&M like everyone else - but where I can I try and invest in quality, well made pieces with a story that I can have for years to come - and it makes me feel good.