Regular readers will know that the His & Hers team are certainly not strangers to the high street, and we love the sense of grabbing ourselves a bargain. This can be such a satisfying feeling, especially when they are real bargains.
Sadly, in a world flooded with fast-fashion, that bargain you bought might not really represent a saving. Instead, it’s just, well, a cheap item. It’s not like you saved a lot of money on what would otherwise be an expensive garment, or got a high-quality piece of clothing for a great price. With fast-fashion, you’re usually paying less for less quality. This has terrible consequences for the environment, with one survey showing that nearly a fifth of 2,000 British shoppers surveyed admitting to binning clothes. These head to the landfill and contribute to polluting the world around us.
Are you shocked to hear that you’re not even making a saving financially either? Although the His & Hers team knows every justification in the book for grabbing a bargain, we know in our heart of hearts that the figures just don’t tend to stack up when buying fast fashion. Admittedly, for the short term, a £20 pair of shoes might look nice and last a year if you’re lucky, before wearing out. But if you have to spend £20 every year on a replacement pair, then over three years that’s £60 spent. It makes more sense to spend that £60 at the start on a pair of shoes that will last three years or more, especially if they are more comfortable and a higher quality.
His & Hers asks: What are your fast fashion habits really costing?
As trends change faster than ever, consumers are turning to cheaper garments to make their budget stretch to more products. Cut-cost fashion must also find somewhere to make savings along the production line. You can’t sell a £5 dress without using cheaper materials and such. This often leads to garments made quickly with non-organic fabrics. Plus, as the Independent reported, the process of dying these clothes is the second largest contributor to water pollution.
All of this can have negative effects on your wallet too. While the short-term purchase may be cheaper, the cost to keep replacing the item over the years will add up. If a more expensive version will last a number of years, it could end up being comparatively cheaper.
The longevity of fast-fashion is also an issue. By its very nature, it is expected that the garment you have purchased will not be kept long, nor will it be expected to last for years. On the flip side, fashion with an emphasis on quality and durability will see you through. This manifests particularly in the threads lost during washing. Cheap clothes tend to shed tiny microfibres when washed, which end up polluting our oceans.
It’s important to bear in mind that quality clothing does not necessarily mean overly expensive clothing. As Life Hacker rightly states, a high price doesn’t always mean high quality.
Follow these top tips for finding high-quality garments:
- Ignore the price tag initially — as mentioned before, this isn’t always an indicator or quality. People can, and will, charge good money for a poor product. Take a look at the item itself.
- Give it a scrunching — take some of the material in your hand and ball it up for a few seconds, then let go. A good quality material will survive, and the wrinkles will fall out. Cheap material will stay wrinkled and creased.
- See if the pattern lines up at the seams — it’s the little things that are the biggest giveaway!
- Check for gaps in the stitching — an item that will last will have no gaps between stitches on the seam, and also have more stitches per inch. Take a good look at those stitches!
- Are there any spare buttons supplied? — This is like a calling card from the designer. If the item comes with spare buttons, then the item is expected to last enough for it to require a button mend at some point!
Change your perception of a bargain, it’s all about how many times you’ll wear it. It’s always recommended to invest a little in timeless staples that can be mixed and matched for a variety of outfits. For example, for many women, the typical leather ankle boot can be a versatile staple that can be used for range of occasions, so make sure to buy a quality pair to withstand all those wears! Divide its cost by the amount of times you think you’ll wear it and that will give you the cost per wear. If it’s something you’ll wear every day, definitely check the quality of the item!
We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with Lotus Shoes. Images from: Confessions of a Shopaholic. You may also enjoy: Investing and editing: The perfect fashion mix.