A few years back I decided to put my money where my mouth is and get my clothes & accessories from independent designers, cutting back almost entirely on goods from ‘big box’ stores. In most cases buying from small retailers or directly from the designer themselves offers the same benefits as buying from your locally owned grocer or farmer’s market: good quality products, produced fairly, with your dollars reinvested in communities in the form of spending, jobs & taxes.
Admittedly since this approach takes discipline & practice my personal experiments have been of the ‘lessmeatarian‘ rather than the hard core vegan variety (to use another food analogy). But surprisingly, by choosing my purchases thoughtfully, sticking to styles & colors that won’t date as easily, filling in with the occasional thrift store trip, and shopping off-season I’ve been able to stockpile a small, flexible wardrobe without spending any more money than I had in the past (and believe me, my clothing budget is pretty small!).
Inspired by the response to some of the videos I posted about indie fashion designers, an ongoing conversation with a friend about the ‘quality over quantity’ approach to shopping, and by my recent weekend trip to NYC (totally inspiring to see ladies rocking some fierce & unique looks) I decided to put together some virtual outfits which exemplify this approach.
I gave myself an imaginary annual budget of $500 for each look*. I looked for mostly classic, timeless pieces which could be worn as an ensemble, but also might combine easily with what is already in one’s wardrobe & layered for spring or fall, extending their usefulness. Some of the designers I wear regularly myself, like modaspia, Curator and Mociun:
Clockwise from left:
Even on a lower budget it’s possible to put together an outfit, by throwing in a lower priced tank the one below comes to just under $125:
It’s true that I can buy fewer garments, but since they are mostly better quality they last for years rather than months, and they have definitely ended up being the pieces I cherish most.
* A note about the budget: $500 is my guesstimate on how much one might be spending annually if you added up all those big box shopping trips. Obviously it’s more than some folks spend (I think my hubby is in the $20-$50 range for example) but probably not too far off for your average working gal.