Ethical fashion isn’t cheap, and shopping ethically without breaking the bank can be a challenge. We’ve talked about the human cost of fast fashion, which may motivate you to WANT to purchase ethically, but it’s hard to make the switch from a lifetime of deal hunting, bargains and sales. Shifting an entire ideology (cheaper is better) is jarring. We don’t deny that it is more work to shop ethically on a budget, but it’s not impossible. Sharing ethical options and brands was one of our goals when we started #DressWellDoGood.
1 – Clothing Swaps
Clothing swaps are a lot of fun and relatively easy to organize with a potentially big pay off. We hosted our first one recently; you can check it out here. This kind of event can be free, costing only your time to organize or to find a swap that is already in motion. Either way you have a chance to give away the clothes that you are no longer wearing regularly so they can have a new life with someone else and you can add pieces to your wardrobe that you may have been searching for!
2 – Thrifting
Beth and I are big fans of thrifting. This is the easiest way to make an ethical change on a budget. Of course the downside to this is that it takes time and can be tough to do with kids. Depending on where you live you probably know of some local thrift stores that you could visit. In Austin, one of my favorite places to go is the Savers off Burnet Road. It takes a while to go through racks but their stuff is pretty well organized and I have found some of my favorite pieces there (and almost all of my kids’ shoes). If you can’t get to a thrift store without your kids, another great option is using an online thrift shop! Our favorite is Thred Up* because everything you get from them is in great condition, it’s easy to search with their app, and returns are free if the piece doesn’t work out for you.
3 – Buy Basics Ethically
We all have our basic items that we need to replace somewhat regularly. These items tend to be cheaper than other ethical pieces and are a great way to add ethical pieces to your wardrobe that you will wear all the time. Here are some of our favorites places to buy basics:
- Zady .02 Cotton Tee & .03 Linen Jersey Tee
- Krochet Kids Standard Tees
- Alternative Apparel
- BeGood Clothes
- Fair Indigo
- Pact (for underwear basics)
4 – Shop Ethical Sales
Find brands you like (can we recommend starting with our ‘brands we love‘ list?), sign up for their newsletters and/or follow them on social media to shops their sales. Most of these brands have amazing end of the season sales or do fun flash sales – that is how I got my Ssekos* at half off! It takes patience to wait for a sale, but it’s a great way to continue to shop ethically and stay closer to your budget.
5 – Less is More (Ethical)
A big part of the shift to ethical fashion is not just switching to buying lots of ethically made clothes but to be more thoughtful about how much we are consuming. Consider stopping the consumption of fast fashion and putting the money you would have used to buy 5 items to buy one ethically made item. This cuts down on the amount of clothing you are consuming and makes you more thoughtful about what pieces you really need or want.
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