Mindful Fashion: A Journey in Self Expression

How many times have you changed up your wardrobe? 

If you're anything like me, it's happened too many times to count. It's normal I think, given the trajectory of life. We are constantly in motion, constantly changing and transforming, growing. But it's hard not to notice when the closet gets too full, or the donation bag becomes plural. This constant consumerism is unhealthy for all involved in the process.

For the past few years, I've been on a journey to consume more consciously--less clothing, higher quality. It's been a journey rife with trial and error, but this year, I seem to have finally found what works for me. 

I've noticed that spending an upwards of a hundred dollars on a shirt won't make me happier; that it doesn't always reflect quality; and that it won't prevent my desire for more clothing. On the flip-side, buying a shirt for pennies will lessen the value I place on it, and consequently the longevity of both the wear and its rotation in my closet. Ah, the funny way we assign value to objects!

Like everything in life, it seems there's a balance for me. I want a piece of clothing that will last in terms of quality and style, but I neither want to feel guilty when it must retire nor tempted to retire it early. This year, my wardrobe has slowly developed into an equal mix of secondhand, thrifted pieces and clothing from ethical, reasonably priced companies. Here's a more in depth breakdown.

ThredUp: I discovered ThredUp over a year ago and have been a devoted fan ever since. It took me awhile to get in the groove (my first couple orders were a bit impulsive due to the amazing prices!) but now I make sure to search for quality items in good condition, rather than a quick fix, so to speak. I love ThredUp's return policy, ease of browsing, wonderful price point, and sustainable business model. Shopping secondhand is great because you aren't contributing to any additional textile production and the terrible repercussions associated with it (as we know, everything from human exploitation to environmental degradation). 

Tradlands: Although I only own one shirt (so far!) from the company, I would definitely fill my closet up with their gorgeous shirts if my budget allowed it! The quality and construction is just amazing, the styles are classic and effortless--for someone like me whose basic wardrobe is jeans, blouse, cardigan, having a variety of beautiful button-ups would make life so, so easy.

Pact Apparel: Such a great go-to for quality basics! Their prices are actually unbelievable, and I've honestly never felt or worn softer cotton. They are growing quickly and I can't wait to see what they come up with next. Their leggings, underwear, dresses, t-shirts--nothing I don't like here!

Synergy: The story behind this shop is what caught my attention. They employ Nepalese women for fair wages using organic materials. I love Synergy's effortless chic style; everything feels comfortable but is still classy enough for work. Plus, the variety of offerings makes it a one-stop-shop; you can find activewear and everyday wear in one location. Pricing is on point considering the quality!

Threads for Thought: A little more modern than the others, this company started as an essential wears brand but now offers everything from yoga pants and graphic tees to blouses and skirts. I love shopping here for dressier items. The prices are very fair, too.

Alternative Apparel: While I'm not a fan of all their stuff and I don't shop here quite as often, it's easy to find great loungewear. The quality is wonderful, the ethics are pretty sound, and like the others, the price is right. 

Some other notable clothing companies include Be Good Clothes, Nau Clothing, Motumo LinenXianna Shop, Thimble and Acorn, Patagonia, Bamboo Body, and Conscious Clothing, although there are many more that I know I've missed. It's incredible how many wonderful, ethical, sustainable makers there are!

Part of this journey has been getting to know myself better, too. Whereas, a year or two ago, I would have spent a fortune on a baggy shift dress, now I know better. I know the silhouettes, fabrics, and colors that best suit me and have stopped trying to be "on trend." I know that having more than 50 pieces of clothing means I won't wear them all, and I know that I like sticking with a few favorites most days. 

Shopping mindfully benefits our wellbeing just as much as others'--we learn to express ourselves outwardly in a way that reflects our inner convictions. We learn to listen to and stay true to ourselves. 

Goofing around with E before a recent dinner date, wearing my new Motumo linen wrap blouse, thrifted white jeans and cork wedges.

Goofing around with E before a recent dinner date, wearing my new Motumo linen wrap blouse, thrifted white jeans and cork wedges.

Are you on a mindful fashion journey?