With a bit of hard work and perseverance, I’ve managed to lose a little weight. I don’t do scales, so I’ve used my clothes as a guide, and I’m happy to report I’ve lost two dress sizes. I’m thrilled to bits, but the downside is I can no longer wear the wardrobe I’ve spent the last five years curating.
I’m not a fan of fast fashion, and I do my best to buy my clothing from ethical retailers. I look for good-quality pieces that I know will last years and will also work with the clothes I currently own. Sadly, the clothes I currently own are no longer owned by me – they’re off at the charity shop! So I’m starting from scratch and trying to build a small capsule wardrobe that will take me through the next phase of my weight loss. My goal is to get to Spring without buying anything else.
I thought I’d share what I’ve been able to put together on what I consider to be a reasonable budget for an entire wardrobe, but please bear in mind that ethical clothing isn’t cheap. In order to source sustainable materials and ensure the dressmakers earn a fair wage, the shops selling ethical fashion are typically more expensive than fast-fashion outlets. That said, ethical clothes aren’t crazy money, either. I’ve been able to assemble a small wardrobe having spent no more than I would have at a shop like Boden or Zara. Also, I was lucky enough to catch the mid-season sales, so most everything I bought has been discounted in some way.
The links to the shop names below all go to that shop’s ethical policy. I’ll provide other links to the actual pieces I’ve bought.
It’s probably no surprise that the first stop on my clothing adventure was Gudrun Sjoden. It’s been my favourite shop for years. I love their fabrics, patterns, and cuts – nothing is clingy or unflattering. I bought two long-sleeve tops and two pairs of tights. All of these were purchased in a recent sale, so I paid quite a bit less than the list prices.
From Seasalt Cornwall, I bought three pinafore dresses. Pinafores are my ‘uniform’ and give an almost infinite variety of outfits. All I need to do is change the shirt and tights underneath for a completely different look. I also bought three dresses, all of which are more fitted than I’m used to wearing, but the cuts are super-flattering. These can be paired with different tights and shoes to switch up the look. Again, I was able to get all of this at a discounted price during a discount promotion.
My next stop was Mistral. I’d not shopped with them before, so I decided to start with a few basic pieces to try. I bought two shirts with two matching pairs of tights. I purchased these with my new pinafores in mind, and should be able to get six new outfits from this order. Mistral offers new customers a discount when they sign up for the newsletter, so I didn’t pay full retail for this order.
The last online shop I visited on my small buying spree was a lovely shop called Lily & Me. If I’m honest, I could have gone a bit crazy here, but I managed to restrain myself. I did pick up a – you guessed it – pinafore dress in a unique style, colour, and shape. I couldn’t find a discount code, but there was a clearance section for Spring and Summer clothes. I signed up for their newsletter in case there were any future discounts to be had.
Every one of these shops sells clothing for everyone. There are styles that would look lovely one anyone between the ages of sixteen and seventy. The cuts are (mostly) flattering for all body types, and the fabrics are natural and sustainable. I did all of my shopping on line and everything was shipped quickly and I received notifications each step of the way.
If I’ve calculated correctly, I’ve bought four pinafores, three dresses, four tops, and five pairs of tights. If I plan well and mix and match every piece to its fullest extent, this will give me thirty-six outfits I can happily wear for the next six months. And if I continue to lose weight and find myself needing new things next Spring, I can pass everything along to someone else who’ll get a lot of good wear from these quality pieces.