Learning To Shop Consciously

Hi, loves! I’ve wrote several posts about wanting to reduce my carbon footprint, learning to be more sustainable and all of the reasons why we shouldn’t shop fast fashion trends, but is it wrong to still enjoy shopping for new items and even having the ocassional splurge? In October 2018 I wrote about why I was changing the way I shopped, and it caused me to re-evaluate what I’m buying; from food to fashion and everything else. In this post I focused more on the fashion aspect of sustainability; talking about all of the ways to minimize buying, give your old clothes a new lease of life, and to encourage donating things that didn’t serve you a purpose anymore, but how do we go about shopping for new pieces?

I personally think that sustainability within fashion is a complete grey area; many people have said they’ll never ever buy new pieces of clothing again and will only up-cycle current clothes, borrow/rent or shop second hand. Others, like me, do our bit where we can with donating, buying second hand and trying to shop more consciously when buying new. For me personally, I think the key is balance; just like recycling and cutting down on single use plastic, everyone doing their bit makes such a huge difference. In the months since I wrote the above post on fast fashion, I’ve seen SO much more attention brought to it, and I feel like lots of us are a little overwhelmed. I love a bit of retail therapy, and in recent months I’ve began to find my personal style and learn to love my body (I’m working on it, anyway) so I’m all for buying new pieces here and there. I also really want to share more fashion related content on my blog; it’s something I’ve always shied away from because there is so much hype around it, but I hope the Autumn months are going to see an influx of fashion related content around here. Here’s how I’m shopping more consciously, and I hope it helps you too!

Do not purchase on a whim. I’d say that at least 90% of items I’ve purchased on a whim because I ‘needed’ to buy something, bought a whacky print that isn’t me or liked how it looked on the model without giving consideration to how it would fit me are items I regret buying. I try to buy seasonally now; items that will see me through a whole season (or multiple seasons) and can be worn in many different ways are ones that stay in my wardrobe for years, and I truly get the value from. Buying with the purpose of that clothing item lasting you through all different seasons and occasions is something that has changed the way I shop in such a huge way; I’m way less likely to be drawn to things I won’t wear over and over again. I really try not to impulse buy, and generally prefer to shop in store rather than online because it’s best to feel fabrics and try things on.

Buy quality over quantity. I’m not saying you have to spend hundreds of pounds on an outfit or piece of clothing to justify it being ‘good’ quality, but it really can pay to shop arounds sometimes. For example, buying cheap t-shirts from Primark might seem like fun in the heat of the moment, but realistically you’re not going to get much wear out of it and it’ll end up in a charity bag within a matter of weeks. Factor in that someone had to make that t-shirt; if they’re marking up their price to be still be £5 or less, it cost pennies to make, and in reflection the person who made that was likely not being paid a fair wage. The fabrics and dyes used in ‘cheap’ clothing are terrible for the environment, and you just don’t get value for money. Aim to shop in stores that offer more premium priced items that are made with better materials, as they will last you way longer and you’ll get your value for money. I’ve said this a few times, but Matt is so good for shopping with the quality over quantity in mind, and I’m slowly but surely learning from him!

Know your price point and stick to your budget. Hand in hand with looking at quality over quantity, it’s so important to know what you can afford, and where you can compromise on spending a little more for a better piece, or go for a less expensive option that suits your needs but still fits with your ethical opinion. It’s hard to judge this as everyone is so different, and our allocated money to spend on clothing each month can vary so much. I personally will never feel guilty for buying at *a certain store* because the reality is I can’t afford to shop exclusively at ethical, sustainable stores or brands. The prices are much higher – although I agree with the reasoning for this, for paying fair wages and using harder to source fabrics – but I’m unable to consistently purchase that way at this time in my life.

Buy with intention. Does the item of clothing go with at least X amount of things you own? Can you wear it through multiple seasons/years? Or is it a ‘trendy’ piece that you’ll not reach for in a month? Or are you only buying it because everyone else is wearing it? Yes, I’m talking about *that* Zara dress. If the answers to these questions err on the side of ~I am not shopping for the right reason~ then chances are, it’s a purchase you’ll regret making. As I said in this post, I read somewhere that you should get at least thirty wears out of each piece of clothing you own, although I think personally that number should be even higher. Buying items of clothing that are not made to fit a certain trend makes this much more likely; stick to shapes and fits that flatter your body, buy solid coloured basics, opt for pieces that can be dressed up or down and only buy patterns when it’s one you know you’ll wear long term (like leopard print, always buy leopard print).

Get over the fear of outfit repeating. I’m sure most of us are immediately re-playing that scene from Lizzie McGuire in our heads right now, which taught us that re-wearing clothes you love was so not cool. Well, you know what really isn’t cool? Killing our planet by throwing away billions of clothing each year. This article shocked me so much, I can’t believe there is still such a stigma against wearing clothes you love, and it bugs me that we’re taught to think this way. I regularly see Daily Mail articles with headlines like “Princess Kate recycles dress for another event” …what? She is not ‘recycling’ anything. She’s literally wearing her clothes. Why don’t we all take a leaf out of Kate’s book and wear what we bloody own?! I also sometimes justify higher priced products by looking at the cost per wear; for example if a jumper was £60.00 but you wore it thirty times, you’re down to £2 per wear; making the investment worth it, and the jumper is better quality therefore will last longer with the correct care.

Read the labels. I really am that person who reads the labels on pretty much every clothing item I purchase. I’m not an angel and I definitely could be better with this, but I try to stay away from purchasing man-made fabrics, such as polyester, and opt for more natural fabrics that are sustainable to our planet. There is a term called greenwashing that is being thrown around a lot recently, and it basically means brands are being accused of advertising products/fabrics are ‘better for the environment’ without being able to back it up. So many cotton clothing items say they are made with ‘recycled’ cotton, but many retailers are not being truthful with this statement; if it doesn’t say “certified recycled/sustainable cotton” it’s more than likely NOT. Do your research, check the labels thoroughly and be prepared to shop around.

Buy with comfort in mind. This one is maybe something that lots of you won’t agree with, but I am tired of buying clothing items that LOOK good, but don’t feel good. Super tight skinny jeans, I’m looking at you. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of skinnies as much as the next person, but if Matt and I are heading out for dinner and drinks (hello, bloating!) I’m no longer forcing myself to wear them when it’s just not necessary. Over the past few months I’ve totally fallen in love with Mom jeans, and I couldn’t care less if they make me look ‘big’ which was what I always thought when I tried a pair on. Matt compliments me every single time I wear them, and they’re so much comfier. If you’re still not on the Mom jean hype, please go try them out! I am equally as obsessed with midi skirts, comfy trousers and if I’m having a chilled day you can bet I’m wearing leggings for that athleisure vibe. Comfort is key, and honestly when you’re comfortable in your clothing (and your own skin, but that’s for another post) you look so much better anyway!

I’m so excited to shop for my Autumn wardrobe, and I’m hoping to implement a better one in/one out system when the time comes. I began decluttering my wardrobe last weekend, and over the next few weeks of culling more and more, I’m determined to only own things I love, feel good in and will get wear out of. I can’t wait to begin buying a few Autumn pieces, I’m really so excited to create a wardrobe I love for years to come! My shopping list for Autumn includes chunky cable knit sweaters, a new midi skirt or two in darker tones, black (vegan) leather ankle boots, a good pair of dark wash mom jeans and some comfy long sleeved tees. I’ll definitely be sharing a little Autumn haul on my blog in September or October, and I’d love to share more outfit related posts with you next season if you wouldn’t be fussed that most of my clothes aren’t able to be linked? I adore Autumn fashion, and I’m excited to focus on fashion a little more on my blog.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe a little interesting; I love to talk about this topic and I’d love to know your thoughts below. How are you shopping more consciously? Have you seen brands greenwashing potential customers for their own gain? What’s your favourite tip to shop more consciously?

-G x

Feelin’ It Friday

Hi, loves! I’m back with another #feelinitfriday and it feels so good to just sit down and write about my week. I didn’t post last week because Matt’s parents came home from their holiday last Thursday and we spent our whole evening catching up with them, we missed them so much and are so happy they’re back! After missing out on a week’s worth of chatting with you all, I have SO MUCH to say hahaha. I’m so thankful it’s Friday and I’m very excited for this weekend, Matt is finally off work (YAY!) and we have a great weekend planned. Today’s post is a long one, so grab your morning cuppa and settle in…

What I’m happy about:
Well we’ve had a great week so I’m generally happy, but I’m so very happy to have pretty gels again! I treated myself to a little trip to the salon after work last night and I’m so happy to have my gels back. I know it probably sounds a little crazy to some but it just makes me feel good about myself, it’s such a fun self care treat now and then. I chose lilac with silver glitter, because isn’t that just the prettiest combo for Summer?

What I’m proud of:
I’m so freaking proud of my boyfriend! I know I talk about him A LOT on the blog – he’s my better half, sorry not sorry – but I just really need to sing his praises right now. Last week he was given the opportunity to manage two stores (he already managed one) and he is so deserving of success! He works so dang hard every single day and doesn’t even realise how amazing he is. I’m so excited to treat him and celebrate in a few weeks; we’re trying to get a date in the diary to go up to Edinburgh for the day and I can’t wait! He deserves the world, I just love him so much 🙂

What I’m watching:
Matt and I are now on season five of Brooklyn 99 (which we’re SO sad about, we never want it to end!) so we’re trying to watch it a little more sparingly at the moment. We watched Katherine Ryan’s new Netflix show this week and we about died laughing, she is just so hilarious! We enjoyed her original Netflix stand up so much and thought it would be hard to beat but she did it. Last night we snuggled in to watch Stacey Dooley’s new documentary (any regular readers will know how much I love her) which was amazing, I’m so excited she’s back with new episodes!

What I’m excited about:
Speaking of watching TV… we now have a TV to watch our shows again! Our old TV stopped working so we’ve been watching Netflix, Sky etc on my MacBook for the longest time, which worked fine and we had honestly got used to it. Then yesterday my mum and dad bought us a TV! We’re so grateful to them, they’re seriously so good to us. Doesn’t it look so cute with the little Diptyque candle? I never burn my fancy candles because they are the prettiest decor pieces! It’s only a small TV because it has to fit in the teeny space in the built-in wardrobes (that I designed when I was 14 and didn’t really know what I would want in the future haha) but it’s such good quality and it was SO nice to snuggle up in bed watching TV, instead of the laptop last night. We also will be able to take this TV when buy our house to use in our kitchen/spare room or something, so it’s super exciting to think about that for next year.

What I’m buying:
Autumn candles!!! I placed an order for my FAVOURITE Autumn candle (Leaves by Bath & Body Works) on Wednesday and I literally can’t wait for it to get here, I hope it arrives today! I probably buy at least five every year because Matt and I love the scent so much, it’s literally Autumn in a jar and it just makes me happy. I’ll be burning it the second it arrives in the post, and probably ordering a ton more. I’m really waiting for TK Maxx and Yankee Candle to launch their Autumn ranges for this year to pick up some more because the rainy, cold weather has truly got me in the Autumn spirit.

What I’m celebrating:
My (not so) little brother turned 21 this week! He may now legally be able to drink in the US but he’s always going to seem 12 to me, hahaha. We celebrated on his birthday, and we’re all going for a family meal this weekend in Morpeth; we had to fix a date that worked with Matt’s shifts and because he’s off all weekend it worked out perfectly. I can’t wait to eat Italian food and drink lots of gin with my favourite people!

What I’m eating:
This is super random but I’m kinda obsessed with these hummus chips, they’re so yummy!! They’re filling and tasty, and I’ve eaten SO many packets in the past few weeks without getting bored. I’ve only seen the smaller bags in the Co-Op (my favourite shop) but you can also buy huge bags at any supermarket. Of course Matt and I have been making delicious dinners each evening as always. We always sit down to eat dinner together no matter what time it is; Matt works until 9pm at least twice per week and I make dinner for him coming through the door. We really loved the steak stir fry I made on Sunday, it’s so freaking easy and I whipped it up in less than ten minutes whilst Matt was finishing up a little work. I picked up this stir fry pack and it was so good, we’ll definitely buy it again! Also, a little trick to make your stir fry taste better; use sesame oil. We get this one but I’m sure they all taste the same!

What I’ve been up to this week:
Matt and I have both been working every day as per usual, and we’ve been super busy during our evenings too. On Tuesday we celebrated Robert’s birthday so we relaxed and enjoyed being with family, but we’ve just been 100 miles per hour every other day, as always. I’ve also been spending a lot of time doing things for my blog, decluttering the heck out of the wardrobes (a LONG post will be coming on that soon!) and running errands, it’s just felt so busy. Matt and I have savoured every second of quiet time together, and we can’t wait to relax a little this weekend.

What I’m up to this weekend:
Speaking of which… we have such a fun weekend planned I can barely stand it! Tonight we’re finally going to watch The Lion King (and, you know, get popcorn and Tango ice blasts because that’s what date nights at the movies are all about. It’s tradition guys!) Tomorrow we’re sleeping in then going fruit picking at a local farm and exploring the nearby town, then we’ll be heading back to freshen up because we’re going out for my brother’s birthday meal. Sunday is a little up in the air right now but we know we’re going for breakfast at the beach – our favourite Sunday morning tradition – and then Matt may be playing golf in the afternoon. If he is I’ll work on my blog, we’re going for a run, then we so badly want a cosy evening in the house eating Indian food and watching Netflix! I’m thinking about recording another Weekend In My Life for this weekend because it’s been a while since my last one, please let me know what you think?!

What I’m reading:
Okay I just started a new book, but this week I finished reading After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid and oh my gosh I was a MESS through the whole thing! I literally cried through the first thirty pages, then throughout the book I kept tearing up (and sometimes full on sobbing) because the story was written so amazingly well. I said back in May that Forever, Interrupted was the best book I’ve ever read, and this one is up there too! I highly recommend picking this up – it was so raw and honest and heartbreaking, but also filled with hope and love and joy. I said the same after reading Forever, Interrupted but it totally made me appreciate what Matt and I have even more, we’re so lucky to have found each other and I never want to take that for granted, even for a second!

What I’m listening to:
Of course I’m listening to Shagged, Married, Annoyed because I’m forever obsessed with Rosie and Chris Ramsey. No joke. I have also been listening to another podcast that I’ve just discovered (I feel like I’m cheating on SMA…) called Outspoken Beauty. If you’re into beauty blogs and vlogs this is the podcast for you; it’s like having a conversation with a friend and I’ve already laughed and learned so much! I’m just waiting for the day Shay makes a podcast because I just aspire to be her… pretty please?

What else is new:
I very briefly mentioned this in Wednesday’s post and a little bit in this one, but I’ve started doing the Couch To 5k! I was NOT planning to start, and it was so random – Matt thought I’d had an out of body experience I’m sure, hahaha. I was super inspired after watching Jade’s vlog, downloaded the app and just went out running! I’ve done two runs now, so I’ve almost completed my first week and I’m actually excited about starting the new week. I really found my first two runs challenging because I am not a runner, but I’m so excited to see how I get on with it. I don’t talk about this often on my blog but I have arthritis which affects my knees and hips the most, so I’m not sure how this will work out. I’m not putting any pressure on myself, I just want to enjoy it for as long as I can and see what happens!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you all have the most wonderful weekends and please let me know if you’d like me to record a Weekend In My Life? Now Matt’s still snoozing in bed (he’s off work today) and I’m heading to work, but there’s eight little hours between me and the weekend… let’s do this! Also, I decided to end today’s post with three of my favourite posts of the week, please go check them out and leave the girls lovely comments 🙂
What Up Wednesday-ish – Savannah is back!! She took a few days off for holiday (and was unfortunately poorly) but she is BACK. She’s my all time favourite blogger and I genuinely feel like I know her, her posts are always my go-to… please go send her all of the love and good wishes to be better!
July’s Feelings & Favourites – Chloe writes so beautifully, all of her posts are from the heart and I’m so excited she’s writing more about her personal life, those kind of posts always grab my attention more!
Summer Glow Getters – Gemma takes THE most beautiful photos in every post and this is no exception, all of these products are dreamy and I’ve added a few to my shopping list, she’s so informative about the products in this post.

-G x