Thursday, 16 May 2013

Is It Time To Change Your Shopping Habits?

Lately I’ve been thinking more about how we shop for our clothes. 

I can’t deny that the recent events in Bangladesh have been the catalyst for this…how about you?  Did it make you stop and think?  Did you make a connection between what happened and the clothes you have in your wardrobe?  Maybe it was a combination of living in India and my profession that created the link for me?

I like to think that I’m a careful shopper who makes considered purchases, and in my role as a personal stylist I encourage my client’s to think about their purchases too.  Not only do I build my clients confidence but I also make it my mission to change their shopping habits as it saves them money in the long run and enables them to pull together a strong collection of clothes that lasts.

I have always championed a smaller, more concise (and no, that doesn’t mean boring) wardrobe, that’s a healthy mix of long lasting investment pieces and cheaper high street pieces (as well as second hand and vintage pieces - after all, these are the perfect way to showcase your individuality!).  I have never been and never will be someone who’s into fast, disposable fashion – it’s a false economy.  People end up with far more clothes than they know what to do with and to top it off, the clothes that do get worn barely last one wash.  I’m not against purchasing cheap clothing; I actually think we’re lucky to be able to have so much choice with such limited budgets, but what I am against is buying SO much of it, wearing it once and binning it.  This disposable luxury is coming at such a high cost.  People are working in indescribably awful conditions, many recently lost their lives, all so we can afford to have wardrobes bursting with clothes, half of which we don’t need and probably won’t wear.

Hip Shapes and Bristol Fashion has been running for a few years now, and I have always wanted it to be a source of inspiration to encourage you to make the most of the clothes you already have and to make informed decisions when making new purchases…and I hope that’s what I’m managing to do. While I insist on educating my clients about changing their shopping habits, I wonder whether I do enough on here to encourage my readers to follow suit?

Over the next few weeks I’m going to do a series on the blog that I hope will inspire you to think differently about your wardrobe and the way you shop.  I want to prove to you that a hard working capsule wardrobe, built on a foundation of great fitting staple pieces doesn’t automatically mean it’ll be boring or expensive.  I want to encourage you to pull out an item from your wardrobe that you’re not wearing and challenge you to make it work.  I’m also going to illustrate how spending more money on fewer items won’t leave you with less outfits to wear, and will potentially cost you less in the long run?!

We need to see an end to this culture of disposable fashion but to do this; our shopping habits have to change.   So, what do you think?  Are you with me?? 


Lisa Twyman said...


SJP said...

I'm in! I try to regularly thin down my wardrobe (which is bursting at the seams) and find alternatives to buying new, such as clothes swaps and buying vintage, but fast fashion still appeals. Having said that, I wear things for years until they're falling apart at the seams, so I find it baffling that someone would by a Primark t-shirt (or similar) and only wear it once.

The issue I have is that my style is so eclectic and I like so many different looks that a capsule wardrobe feels out of reach. I own more clothes than most but, aside from my habit of hoarding things for years, I dress as a different person every other day.

Sarah said...

Totally agree with you Niki. I'm as guilty as anyone of impulse buying low quality, cheap clothing, wearing it once and then bunging it in the wardrobe, never to be seen again. I'd love to hear your advice on how to get a more capsule-type wardrobe together - looking forward to your next few posts! I don't think I'm alone in being wary of spending top dollar on
an item of clothing in case I get it wrong and don't wear it again!

I like how the guys at Howies operate, striving to make clothes in an ethical and sustainable way. But their clothing has a very 'outdoors-y' look that's not what I'm after all the time.

yourfireflies said...

great article! yeah i think so too but sometimes it is hard to resist the fast fashion stores. although ive been buying clothes that i will absolutely wear in the future, im more into classic pieces! :) xx

To Juliet

Niki Whittle said...

Hey Lisa, thanks for commenting! x

Niki Whittle said...

Hi Sarah! Yeah, I think we’re all guilty of those impulse
buys- they can be really hard to resist, especially if we’re short of time and
need to make a decision…it almost matters less that it’s not quite right, if we’ve
not spent much on it. While it makes sense to invest in better quality pieces that more than likely cost more, if you’re not too sure that they’re right then I totally understand that you’d be reluctant to part with your cash. Thanks for
commenting and I’ll definitely try and pull together some information about other
ethical brands for you x

Niki Whittle said...

Brilliant! You’re wardrobe sounds fantastic, a proper ‘dressing up’ cupboard! You’re right, it is hard to avoid the fast fashion, especially if you love clothes and styling. The key is to get the balance right and it sounds like you have. For every fast fashion piece you have, I bet you have two or three other pieces that you
sourced at clothes swaps and vintage shops.

I think of a capsule wardrobe of being a collection of clothes that mix and match brilliantly and enable you to pull together countless outfits; if you want to dress like a different person each day then the perfect capsule wardrobe for you would be one that enables you to do that. I sometimes think there are too many perceived ‘rules’ surrounding a capsule wardrobe, but at the end of the day it needs to work for you. We’re all individual, so it makes total sense that our wardrobes will be too!

Niki Whittle said...

It seems like the turnaround for fashion these days is so fast and we’re bombarded with so much choice that succumbing to fast fashion is inevitable. I have to admit to having it my wardrobe too, but I try to only purchase items that I know I will wear. I have this thing where I treat a cheap item of clothing as if I’d spent a ton of money on it…I kinda give it value if that makes sense. Doing this means it lasts longer and I will be able to wear it in the future.

You have a great sense of style and your blog illustrates that being into classic pieces doesn’t automatically mean that your style is classic or boring!

fbcreations said...

can't wait! the relationship with my wardrobe is like a yo-yo effect when on a diet: I start the new season with a cleaned-up to the bones closet (thin) and end up with too many spur-of-the-moment disposable pieces (overweight). I see I am not alone. please help me train my brain not to indulge in those "fattening sundaes" ...

Jennifer Lachman said...

I'm looking forward to it. I was just asked a few days ago to describe my signature style, and I couldn't because it was all over the place. I own so many cheap clothes that I buy on impulse, but I never really love what I wear.

Carly Tati said...

Hi Niki! What a great post! I love that your also sharing your experiences in India on Hip Shapes and Bristol Fashion, Bangalore which I visited today. I had a chance to spend time in India working on textile design and I loved it. Seeing labor in 3rd world countries working in the fashion industry really makes you think before you buy.

Thanks to IFB links a la mode so we could connect! Love your blog and followed you on bloglovin.


Niki Whittle said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for popping over and commenting! I dont't think it's important to have a signature's kinda cool to just dess depending on your mood each day! Its a shame that you never really love what you wear though, maybe it's time to try some new styles?

Niki Whittle said... I fancy an icecream! Love the idea of helping your wardrobe to loose weight :)

Street Fashion PARIS said...

You are fun!!! congrats for the IFB!!!

Niki Whittle said...

Thanks :)