If I were writing this a few years back, when I wasn’t fully aware of how our relationship with fashion also defines our relationship with the planet, I’d most definitely be writing this piece to help you save money. But that’s not going to be the case with this blog. Yes, a part of it will definitely give you those financial tips but for the most part, I am going to tell you how you can become a smart shopper for the sake of your forever home—Mother Earth.

When it comes to clothes and accessories, hoarding is often looked at as something to be proud of. (Guilty as charged!) But it’s time we step out of that bubble because hoarding actually points towards our ignorance especially in a world that is gripped with the fear of climate change. But if you’re not sure of fashion’s connection with the environment, here are a few examples that’ll give you a good idea about it. The making of certain fabrics such as cotton or linen starts with the growing of cotton and flax seeds, which require enormous amounts of water to be grown, cause soil degradation and release poisonous greenhouse gases. Other synthetic fabrics such as viscose, nylon or polyester are made using non-renewable sources such as crude oil and natural gases making them non-biodegradable materials. Now, this is just the manufacturing of fabrics. Post that, there’s the whole process of treating the fabrics that involve techniques like dyeing, which leaves behind toxic wastewater, that is directly dumped into water bodies causing water pollution. If we dive deeper into this, you’ll never want to associate yourself with fast fashion ever again.

All of us must become mindful of our ways of consumption of fast fashion. Ahead, we show you how you can become a smart shopper and a mindful consumer with 6 easy and useful shopping tips.

1. Start by making a list

If you want to go shopping (online or offline), always make a list of things you need and then a column of the things you desire. Once that list is ready, it’ll give you a good perspective on whether it is needlessly long or perfect. Because after you’re done making the list, you will browse through it once more and ask yourself whether you really need that particular product and if you can do without it. This way, you’ll strike off a few things, condense that list and end up buying only what is really required instead of mindlessly purchasing everything. Bottom line—lists always make anything complex seem simple and come in handy each time.

2. Set your budget (and strictly stick to it)

The next step after making a list is figuring out whether you can actually spend on getting everything on the entire list or if you need to filter it out further, obviously because you can’t cash out blindly unless you actually can! Once your budget is fixed, make sure you stick to it and not end up spending more than decided. If you’re going out to shop, try sticking to cash over cards because giving out cash actually physically shows you the amount you’re spending as opposed to credit/debit cards. Trust me, spending cash has an intensified effect on your mind!

3. Always prioritise quality over quantity

The reason is simple—prioritising quality over quantity means you’re picking clothes that will last longer. You might say, better quality equals a higher price tag, but you’ll be paying that amount once instead of buying cheaper quality clothes and spending that little amount all too often. And this way, you will also limit buying more clothes which, in the bigger picture, will result in less demand leading to less production leading to less environmental damage.

As the term suggests, Classics never go out of style as opposed to short-lived fads so that precisely why stocking up on them is the best decision you’ll make.

5. Invest in a good variety of wardrobe basics

They’re called wardrobe basics for a reason—clothes that pair well with a variety of things in your closet. Clothes that you can fall back on for any kind of time, occasion or season. Clothes that will have your back when your styling skills have taken a backseat and all you need is to look presentable without putting in the effort. Not sure what falls under classics? Read all about it here.

6. Ensure the fit is perfect

I mean if you get something that doesn’t fit well or whose fit you don’t like, you’re either going to have to go through the hassle of online returns or take a trip to the store and exchange it. If you think about it, even returning a clothing item for store credit has a negative impact on the environment because then either the executive will have to take a trip to your house (which will use up fuel that could’ve been avoided) or you’ll be the one wasting it because you will go to the store yourself. This may sound like a super farfetched problem but remember, you’re not the only one shopping, not the only one who has things to return so imagine how many unnecessary trips are being made.

The point is that the smallest of our habits have an unseen but direct impact on the planet and to be a part of the solution, we must recognise our habits from the roots.

So the next time you set out to shop, keep these 6 points in mind! And don’t forget to drop in your thoughts about the same in the comments below.

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