As lovers of fashion, it can seem impossible to reconcile a love of beautiful clothes with a desire for sustainability. But, what if these two things weren’t as contradictory as we once thought? Is developing your personal style, with an emphasis on high quality items that will stand the test of time – the ultimate expression of sustainability?
Below, we dive into these questions.
A Parisian Style Story
10 years ago, I was living in Paris and decided to spend $200 (an amount that seemed astronomical at the time) on a gorgeous wool peacoat. Fast forward 10 years and it’s still my favorite coat -I absolutely adore wearing it because it reminds me of my time in Paris. I also continue to receive compliments on said coat and feel tres chic and tres ‘me’ every time I wear it.
Moral of the story? Buying that coat was an investment in my personal style and has taught me a lot about the power of high quality pieces. That coat makes me feel like the best version of myself every time I wear it and has set the tone for all the other pieces in my closet.
Developing Iconic Personal Style
That single Peacoat has given me an entire decade of style points. Whereas the more trendy pieces of clothing in my closet don’t often see the light of day – due to the trend or event specific nature of their design and quality. When I look back on the context of my more trendy purchases– the reality is that I’d often buy this type of cheap/spur of the moment clothing for all the wrong reasons.
Looking back, I also noticed that I would tend to buy these pieces during periods of my life when I was trying to be someone that I wasn’t (and didn’t really want to be).
It wasn’t until I took the time to reflect on my personal style (or lack thereof) that I realized that in order to be iconic – you have to be you – and because you don’t change with every season – you have to be repetitive. Yet, for some reason, we are being sold on an idea that you have to be new and different every four months.
This is the ultimate issue with fast fashion: it tells us the current us is not good enough, and that a cool new us is waiting behind the purchase of a $46 puff-sleeve top.
The Industry of Fast Fashion
As an industry, fast-fashion depends on an ever-changing tide of trends to keep consumers interested and always wanting more. This is how they sell endless amounts of clothing each season. Even though, once we reach the young age of 20-25 we don’t actually grow out of our clothes…we just grow tired of them.
Why it that?
Is it because we never really liked or treasured them in the first place?
WOW Approach to Personal Style
If fashion is an expression of our personalities, do we really change that much every three months? Or is someone just trying to convince us that we need to change in order to be happy? Don’t get us wrong, we love dad sneakers and one shoulder crop tops just as much as the next girl, but you won’t find us maxing out our credit cards trying to keep up with every trend thrown at us.
We prefer a steadier approach to dressing that is more nurturing, not only to your individual wellbeing, but to the environment: Developing Personal Style.
How To Develop Your Personal Style
The primary tenant of this approach is investing in quality, essential pieces that will last more than a season; elevating your style to the next level and keeping items in use longer.
For example, we’d rather save up our pennies for an exclusive hand made scarf that we will treasure for the next generation, than spend the same amount on an entire new fast fashion wardrobe that is going to fall apart over the next three months.
At the heart of our theory of thoughtful consumption is nurturing the inclination to invest in quality items that stand the test of time. Yes, you may have to wait until next season to get that trench. And, yes, you may have to take it to the drycleaners every once in a while thereafter.
So, the question is, is worth it?
We think so. Definitely.
Style Over Trends
By putting the development of your personal style above the need to chase trends, you not only elevate your look above the typical spectrum; at the end of the day, you end up with quality items you can mix and match seamlessly over time. You may even end up with a beautiful wardrobe you can pass on to the next generation.
We love the idea of buying heirloom pieces that our daughters are going to treasure after us.
But besides the personal fulfillment of possessing luxurious pieces that make you smile, buying high quality items from thoughtful labels and designers means you’re (generally) supporting responsible small batch production and responsible businesses. You’re generally also keeping and using the item in use longer, reducing waste and saving environmental resources.
At WOW, we are here for all of those things:
- Building a high-quality wardrobe of well made items, check
- Receiving the joy of artfully made pieces in your closet, check.
- Supporting responsible businesses, check
- Reducing waste and saving environmental resources, check.
As one of our favorite brands says: being naked it the most sustainable option.
And, we believe, that buying high quality items from thoughtful brands, that you’ll continue to wear and treasure, is number two.