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10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying New Clothes

woman with shopping bags

Many of us are guilty of impulse buying and filling our wardrobes with items we never or seldom wear. We waste money, create unnecessary waste and contribute to unethical fast-fashion market growth. How do we turn this cycle around and become more conscious and sustainable? Read on as I will share the top ten questions I ask myself every time buying new clothes. 

Do I need it?

This is a no-brainer. Before making a purchase, we often overlook this simple question of whether we need the item. We tend to buy new clothes because we like them, they are trendy, the colour is gorgeous, they are on sale, etc. Therefore, if you already have ten or more jeans in your wardrobe, chances are you do not need another pair. 

Do I love it?

We like many things, but we cannot own them all. What helps to sift through piles of clothing is this simple question. Do I love it? Can I see myself wearing it on different occasions? Does it excite me? Does it reflect or even elevate my style? I would never buy something just because someone else says that piece looks great on me. 

What fabric it’s made of?

Is it made from synthetic or natural fibres? I would advocate going for natural and sustainable options, prioritising organic. I would avoid synthetic fabrics altogether, even recycled ones. And that is mainly because of the microplastics they release into the environment. 

Another issue is with mixed fibres. Those should be avoided as they cannot be efficiently divided and, as a result, recycled.

There is another thing to consider – dyes. These might be toxic and, therefore, become a health concern. 

fancy balck and white packaging

Is it well made and seems durable?

Any piece of clothing that we love and buy should stand the test of time. Therefore, before making the purchase, it is best to check that it’s sewn well, isn’t flimsy, doesn’t present defects, discolourations, etc. 

What are its maintenance requirements?

It’s strongly recommended to check the label every time before buying a new item. Can it be put in a washing machine, or is it dry-clean only? Can it be ironed? The garment might need special care that you might not be ready or willing to give. In that case, even if it’s love at first sight, it is better to let it go. 

Who made it? Where was it produced?

Before buying new clothes, we should ask whether they are ethically made. Does a person crafting it get a decent wage and is not forced to work in a dangerous environment? I certainly don’t want to contribute to unfair labour conditions. And a first tell-tell sign is cheap mass-production clothing. That’s one of the reasons I do my best to steer clear of all short-lived fast-fashion trends. 

It is best to prioritise locally-made items to lower our carbon footprint

Ask Yourself Before Buying New Clothes: can I afford it right now?

Every responsible purchase should be within budget. Sometimes, we must wait a month or two to buy something we love. On the other hand, having a delay can help us decide whether we truly want that particular item. 

paper shopping bags on a chair

Can I incorporate it easily into my existing wardrobe?

The piece should seamlessly blend in with other favourite items in the wardrobe. Consider the colour, fabric, and style. My rule is to imagine five different outfits and five occasions. If I cannot, I will not buy it. Also, if the piece requires splashing on additional items to be able to blend in, it probably belongs to somebody else’s wardrobe. 

Does it suit me well?

When buying a new clothing item, it is best to try it on to determine if it fits well. There are a few things to observe. To begin with, the shape should complement the figure. Then, the colour should suit the skin tone. The item should be comfortable to wear. And also, it should align with the overall style and personal aesthetic.

How will I dispose of it when I no longer need it?

We should ask ourselves this question every time buying something new. Donating to charities cannot always be a solution. That is true for low-quality single-use purchases. Some worn-out clothing could be recycled through textile recycling programs. Or you could use those items for DIY projects. Otherwise, you might repurpose them into cleaning rags. 

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