6 Hacks For Building An Ethical Wardrobe Without Breaking The Bank

March 2, 2017

6 Hacks For Building An Ethical Wardrobe Without Breaking The Bank

More than ever before, consumers are aware of and emboldened by their purchasing power. With films like The True Cost exposing the so-called “fast fashion” industry, you might be increasingly concerned about how and where your clothes were made, if workers were treated fairly and paid a living wage, and what kind of impact apparel production has on the environment. And this is to say nothing of the extreme and unconscionable cruelty inflicted upon animals in the fur, leather, and wool industries.

At Peaceful Dumpling, we like to show readers that it’s possible to dress ethically while still looking confident and fashionable. At the same time, however, we also want to be transparent about the fact that compassionate brands are typically more expensive than, say, H&M, because they use quality, eco-friendly textiles and pay their workers fairly. This poses a moral dilemma for those of use who simply cannot afford a $200 dress, but also don’t want to contribute to fast fashion and everything for which it stands.

So, to all the ladies and gentlemen out there who don’t have the means to build a conscious closet: I feel you. I am you. Over the past couple years, I’ve become rather adept at curating an ethical wardrobe at a fraction of the price. Here are a few of my secrets.


1. Sign up for the newsletter.

When I discover a new company, the very first thing I do is visit their website and sign up for their newsletter. More often than not, start-up fashion brands will offer some sort of discount or promotion in return for your email address. I’ve received discount codes for free shipping, 20% off my first purchase, etc. Don’t underestimate the power of an email subscription!

2. Follow on social media.

Likewise, make sure to follow your favorite brands on social media. For instance, they might offer a special sale for Instagram followers before it even hits the website. Last week, a new vegan apparel company I follow announced that the first 10 people to reply would receive $40 off any online purchase!

3. Purchase during the off-season.

Many indie fashion brands will make deep discounts–often on already reduced items–during the off-season. If you’re looking for a wool-free winter coat, think about investing in one this summer, not next fall when they’ll be in high demand. One of my favorite vegan retailers, Vaute, has a 50% off sale on all winter coats each spring. Think ahead, and your wallet will thank you.

4. Buy second-hand.

There’s nothing wrong with giving clothes a second lease on life! Not only is this a cost-effective way to shop, but it’s also environmentally friendly. The average American discards 82 pounds of textile waste each year, which ends up in landfills across the country. You can reduce this statistic by shopping for second-hand versions of your cruelty-free favorites.

5. Bid on it.

Although this won’t directly support an independently-owned business, using online purchasing sites like Ebay and Poshmark is a good way to find that pair of faux leather heels you’ve been swooning over. I use this tactic when I’m feeling extra broke but still want to support the general cause.

6. Sell your clothes.

When all else fails, spend an afternoon listing items in your closet you no longer wear. Ebay, Poshmark, ThredUp, and even your local Buffalo Exchange are easy to use and let you keep some if not all of the profit. And with the money you earn, you can use it to invest in timeless, chic pieces that happen to be good to people, the environment, and animals. Happy shopping!

How do you maximize your discount when shopping? What’s your favorite cruelty-free brand?

Also by Molly: How to Stop Over Analyzing and Feel Happier

Related: These 5 Resources Make Ethical Shopping Way More Fun (& Less Stressful)

Conscious Wardrobe: On Making The Most Of What I Have

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