A New Method for Exploring Personal Style Without Breaking the Bank (or the planet)
It's been so fascinating to go through the responses from the survey that I published last month. Over 70% of you feel like you're still discovering your personal style. You indicated that half the time you feel put together, but the other half of the time you have no clue what you're doing. (Spoiler alert, there's a promo code at the end of this post with a unique offer that I think will help you out!)
Why does that matter?
Well, apart from identify and self-confidence (which are huge reasons themselves), I think that getting a good grasp on our personal style is one of the biggest steps we can take towards being more conscious consumers.
The less sure we are of our style, the more likely we are to make impulsive purchases that get thrown out quickly.
The less sure we are of our style, the more likely we are to look to fleeting trends for confidence boosts.
The less sure we are of our style, the more likely we are to purchase from fast fashion companies instead of being ready to make the investment in a well made garment.
When we take the time to uncover our personal style and develop a healthy relationship with our clothes, we end up being better positioned to make responsible purchasing decisions.
Ok, so we've established that there's value in determinig personal style...
BUT HOW DO WE DO IT?
Exploration and observation.
I keep coming back to those two simple concepts for helping others (and myself) understand what we should really be wearing to feel our best.
We can pin all the pins on Pinterest, but we have to explore items on ourselves and observe how we feel in them to truly understand what types of clothing best express our style. Sure, we can read style blogs and follow the helpful formulas that stylists have created, but at the end of the day, we've got to get the garments off the screen and onto our own bodies.
Does that mean we shouldn't shop online? Not at all! I'm not talking about trying on every single item before you purchase it. What I'm talking about is trying on enough items in person to really identify which colors, silhouettes, fabrics, etc you like best so that you can then confidently make future purchases.
In full transparency, my process of exploration and observation has been pretty different since I'm a blogger. I started to understand my style because ethical brands have been sending me clothes to review over the past couple years. Trying new styles of clothing that were sent to me for free has been a huge privilege. It's helped me uncover what I actually like and should purchase, it's simultaneously broadened and fine-tuned my taste.
HOW DO WE DO THIS WHEN WE AREN'T BEING SENT FREE CLOTHES TO TRY?
I've done a lot of thinking about what a sustainable process of exploration and observation looks like. When we're on a budget and trying to shop sustainably, it can feel nearly impossible.
I've suggested this method: Go to a fast fashion store and simply try on clothes in the fitting room to analyze new styles before finding a well-made version elsewhere to purchase. However, sometimes we need more than 15 minutes in a fitting room to decide how we really feel in a garment, especially when it's a style outside of our normal comfort zone.
After much research and thought, I now have a new recommendation for those who are on a quest for personal (sustainable) style:
RENTING. Yep, Renting.
In the past, I've recommended Rent the Runway for special occasions, but with the way they've expanded their selection, they're now a great option for everyday items as well. (Before I go any further, I want you to know that this post was not sponsored by Rent the Runway and I am not getting any sort of kickback if you use my promo code.)
Here's the deal you can get $60 off their premier membership, RTR Unlimited, with the promo code NEWCLOSET until 5/31/18. This means you'll pay just $99 your first month of a membership which allows you to try literally unlimited items of clothing. This means you can try on, wear around, dance, walk, live life in garments without the commitment of purchasing them.
It's the most fun educational / self-discovery process ever! And, according to my survey, this is right in line with what the majority of you listed as your monthly clothing budget.
I was chatting with the team at Rent the Runway, and I love their heart behind the subscriptions they've introduced and the steps they're taking to really reduce waste:
"Renting is a more sustainable way to get dressed. It’s basically recycling for your clothes. And when you rent every day through our subscription options, you're powering a movement: the sharing economy of fashion. On top of that, we ship in reusable garment bags (never boxes), recycle our plastic waste, use the cleanest dry cleaning possible (only steam when we can) and upcycle/donate our garments at the end of their lifecycle. We're doing everything we can to make renting better for women and better for the environment."
You can learn more about Rent the Runway's sustainability mission here: renttherunway.com/sustainable-fashion.
Longterm, I wholeheartedly believe in purchasing pieces to add to your closet forever. You'll feel more confident investing in a purchase from an ethical/sustainable brand once you've got an understanding of your personal style. In the meantime, rent to your heart's content and rest assured that you aren't supporting fast fashion in the process!
Have you ever rented clothes? I would love you hear your thoughts!