Header image courtesy of James Hollingworth (via Unsplash)
The modern woman faces a frustrating dilemma—curating an enviable wardrobe with limited funds and space. Some days you might feel like Ariana Grande (“I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it”), other days you might want to channel Marie Kondo (to whittle down your wardrobe to just the essentials). Fashion waste is also something to be mindful of, so throwing all your old clothes away might not be the best course of action for the planet. Luckily, there are actually a number of ways to have your cake and eat it, too. Here are four ways to live fashionably without committing a financial or environmental faux pas.
Instead of buying new items every season and having them pile up in your closet, why not shift towards a non-ownership model? That brand-new cocktail dress might only see the light of day once or twice, and those velvet sweatpants that seemed like a great idea at the time might turn out to be too adventurous to wear to the gym, or even too hot to wear out in Hong Kong’s humid climes. Fashion rental platforms such as Style Carousel offer designer clothing and accessories for you to wear for a week or so, before returning them and moving on to your next outfit. This way, you can enjoy a variety of styles without sacrificing your paycheck or permanent wardrobe space (and we all know wardrobe space comes at a premium in Hong Kong).
Well-loved pieces might suffer from wear and tear of varying degrees, and while it seems easier to throw it out, finding a good tailor might be the smarter and more sustainable option. Holes can easily be mended so your sweater is as good as new, and materials such as denim can actually take on more character with every fray and fade. If an item is really beyond saving, you can still repurpose the fabric into new pieces, or make the patches part of the new design for a unique grunge look.
Another great way to incorporate new styles into your wardrobe without feeling too guilty is to scour vintage stores and thrift shops for unique styles from different eras. Fashion trends are cyclical, so chances are you will find some great Y2K low-slung jeans from the actual 2000s for a steal, rather than buying new from fast fashion brands. The added bonus of shopping vintage is that the items might be of better quality, as back then, clothing was made to last. People did not have as much disposable income to constantly buy new clothes, and retail manufacturers focused more on durability than style. Second-hand clothing is also an excellent way to close the loop on fashion consumption and find designer gems at a steal.
Capsule wardrobes featuring well-made staples can go a long way, so don’t be afraid to invest in good quality pieces, especially if you’re going to be wearing them regularly! An LBD, a nice blazer, silk shirts, and sneakers you can dress up and down for different occasions should be must-haves. The idea is to have timeless, durable, and functional pieces that exude style and class. Sustainable brands that use natural materials are a huge plus, so micro-plastics are not released into the ocean every time you wash your clothes. Taking care of your quality pieces and keeping them in good condition ensures that they will last for years to come.