How To Embrace Sustainable Fashion Without Depriving Yourself Of Trends (#ForTheWin)

June 13, 2017
A version of this article previously appeared on StyleWise.

I hadn’t realized this until recently, but over the last few years, I’ve become very methodical in the way I follow trends.

Ethical and sustainable fashion bloggers will tell you to think of your purchases in terms of timelessness–and this is great advice–but most of us are still impacted by what’s in now and purchase accordingly, even if we lean more minimalist than conventional bloggers.

And of course, minimalism as an aesthetic is a trend, which means there’s no telling when this fashion movement that thinks of itself as existing outside of time will fizzle out. In fact, there are ripples of movement toward its polar opposite, maximalism, already apparent on the runways and in stores.

So I think it’s worthwhile to admit that we are going to want to dress like others, whether we’re influenced by runway shows, regional scenes, or global trends, and that the best way to do this responsibly is to set some ground rules.

How To Embrace Sustainable Fashion Without Depriving Yourself Of Trends (#ForTheWin)

3 Questions I Ask Myself Before Buying into Trends

Do I like the style well enough to wear it even when it inevitably goes out of fashion?

This is the most important question to ask, because there are plenty of of-the-moment items that I might enjoy for the season when other people are wearing the same thing, but as soon as they all move on, will I still feel comfortable wearing them?

Case in point: Mules. The mules comeback is undeniably cool and surprisingly fashion forward, but realistically, I can’t see myself wearing them years from now. They’ll feel dated quickly, at least in the context of my wardrobe and personal preferences, so they’re not a good buy.

Is it constructed well and made with high-quality materials?

There’s no sense asking the first question if the item I end up buying will fall apart after a couple seasons. If I’m going to make a purchase of any kind, I need to check fabric quality, breathability, care instructions, and seam construction. This is the key to making a responsible purchase, whether the item is trendy or timeless, because poor quality excuses us from having to really live with our purchases.

Can I justify the price point within my current budget?

When it comes to fashion, there are everyday things and then there are things that just speak to us. In my book, it’s ok to occasionally buy something that isn’t inherently practical as long as it meets the first two qualifications and it fits within my budget. If I really needed a sturdy pair of jeans but I splurge on something whimsical, I haven’t really made a responsible choice.

I’ve found that making these questions a habitual part of my shopping process helps me avoid impulse buys and keeps me far far away from the temptations of fast fashion stores. And, it helps me solidify my personal style while staying committed to sustainable fashion, which is much more gratifying than mindlessly following trends.

Do you have any advice on trend buying? Is there a current trend you love but know you shouldn’t embrace?

Also by Leah: These 5 Resources Make Ethical Shopping Way More Fun (& Less Stressful)

Related: These Vegan Workout Clothes Were Made For Summer Fun (They’re *That* Good)

Why I Switched To Vegan Fashion From Fast Fashion & How It Changed My Life

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Leah is the founder of Style Wise, a space to celebrate, discuss, and discover fair trade and sustainable fashion. She lives in Central Virginia with her grad student husband and their super cute pet rats, Mercury and Pilumnus. Follow Leah on Instagram @stylewiseblog.


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