Post-Christmas everyone goes a little nuts for the sales. I’m not sure who these people are who start lining up at 2am for the Next sale, but I don’t think I could ever be one of them. I am by no means knocking the urge to get a bargain, but I do think that people often forget how to shop smart at these times. All too often, any thoughts of quality, fit and things that actually suit you go out the window in favour of bagging the most amount of stuff for the least amount of wonga. In these times of instant gratification, I vote we slow down a bit, put some pride and time back into our shopping experience and do it right.
I’m not a fan of fast fashion. My mother had her own clothing line in my younger years. She was a weaver so made her own fabrics, then made entire collections out of them. Growing up around that, the importance of quality in clothing was constantly stressed to me. I went through a phase where I was all about quantity – I just wanted a wardrobe bursting with clothes. I wanted to be able to wear something different every day. So I bought clothes, lots of them. They were cheap, poor quality clothes. There was no rhyme or reason to my purchases, nothing really worked together, but there they were, ready for me to wear as a different variation of nonsensical outfits. It didn’t take long for the pieces to look tattered, worn or lose shape. After a while I realised it’s more important to me to have fewer clothes that are better quality. And so, a massive clear out commenced.
I decided I wanted more of a timeless wardrobe. If I liked a trend, I would pick ones that would last a few seasons. I got to know my body, what colours and shapes work on me best. Following these simple guidelines, I went about building my collection of clothes more carefully.
I don’t have a big budget for clothes, far from it, but I do want to dress in good quality, nice things. I’m sure I’ve spouted about the virtues of dress exchanges on here before. Dress exchanges allow people to sell on their designer pieces for a much lower price. I’ve picked up some great pieces including a Mulberry handbag, Pringle rain coat and Hobbs suit – I’d never have been able to afford these at full price, but I got them nearly new at a far reduced rate. I love this as a way to shop and have sourced out a few favourite dress exchanges, mainly up in Yorkshire, that I know always have the type of goods I like.
Sites like Vestiaire Collective bring the dress exchange vibe online. Many people sell their clothes the more standard ebay way, but when you’re dealing with nice pieces, you want to ensure it’s done right. Vestiaire Collective are strict on quality control (each piece submitted is individually vetted), refuses to sell counterfeits and you can list your items free of charge. It’s a peer-to-peer selling platform where you know the sellers have loved and cared for their clothes. You can comment, review and discuss the items, factoring in a nice social media element to the process. Many of the items for sale are designer goods going for between 30 – 70% less than retail price. Another nice factor about being able to do this all online is it takes that awful pressure of sale time out of the shopping process – you don’t have to battle through hoards of people and trawl through messy rails, just a few clicks and it’s all paid for.
Scrolling through different items online allows you the time to put together little visual pin boards of what works together and what doesn’t. While with dress exchanges, sure, you’re still paying more than bargain basement fast fashion shops, at least you’re getting good quality clothes that will last a few years. There’s nothing wrong with rushing out to the sales to pick up some bargains, as long as you know what you’re looking for and aren’t just buying for buying’s sake. I say it’s worth it to slow down, take a little time and perhaps spend a little more to get it right. Quality over quantity my friends, it’d be great if fashion could get back to that.
Check out some of the sleek fashions of Vestiaire Collective and become a seller yourself here.