If you want to support ethical fashion but don’t have $200 to spend on a new outfit, here are a eight ways that you can shop ethically on the cheap:
1. Use what you already own
Avoid the temptation to get rid of everything in your closet that’s not ethically sourced. Instead, commit to making only ethical fashion purchases in the future and taking good care of what you currently have so that you won’t need to make purchases often.
2. Buy less and better
Be okay with buying and having less, and saving for the things that you want.
To make your purchases count, only buy items that are made from quality materials that will last—and in styles that you’ll want to wear—for years.
3. Ignore trends
If you’re tempted to buy something, ask yourself if you need it… or if you just want it because it’s popular.
Look for and, when possible, remove sources of temptation; unsubscribe from fashion brands’ email lists and Instagram feeds, block ads, don’t go window shopping, stop watching E! and Bravo.
4. Borrow, trade, and rent clothing
Instead of buying everything that you need, consider borrowing or trading clothing items with your friends, or renting from sites like Rent the Runway or Le Tote. (This is especially helpful for those items that you rarely need, like travel or special occasion attire.)
5. Embrace thrift shops
Items at thrift shops are often heavily discounted, even when they’re new or in perfect condition. And they can be washed.
6. Make purchases from the less expensive ethical fashion brands
Different ethical fashion brands have different prices. Some, like Everlane, have prices similar to (and sometimes better than) mainstream, unethical fashion brands.
7. Wait for sales
Most ethical fashion brands offer sales once or twice a year, often around holidays or the start of a new season. Plan ahead and wait to make your purchases during these times.
8. Ask your family and friends for gift cards on holidays
When all else fails, in lieu of gifts, ask your family and friends for gift cards to, or your favorite items from, ethical fashion brands.