The Secret to Slow Shopping: 3 Essential Tests for Your Next Shopping Trip

Woman uses slow shopping tests to find a beautiful floral green camisole top

I love this top but it doesn’t go with anything in my closet and I don’t know where I should wear it.

Ugh, why did I buy this sweater? It’s sooo itchy and I feel so fidgety in it.

I can’t wear this. It was cute last year but now it feels like pulling something out of my middle school closet.

We’ve all been there, staring at a closet full of clothes, yet feeling like we have nothing to wear. Don’t worry- it’s a common dilemma that often stems from two different culprits: purchasing low-quality clothing that falls apart after one season or falling for those alluring fashion trends that don’t fit your style, whether it be the latest Cottage-, Cowboy-, Coastal- core.

Fast fashion has influenced our closets by promoting a culture of disposable and rapidly changing trends. Marketers often encourage consumers to buy inexpensive, mass-produced clothing that quickly goes out of style, leading to a constant cycle of consumption and disposal. This has resulted in a shift away from cultivating a timeless, individualized personal style to one that is dictated by the fast-paced turnover of fashion trends.

The Three L’s of Slow Shopping

It’s so easy to get swept up in the latest and greatest, especially in our social media impacted world. But if you’re tired of falling for the fast fashion trap and want to make smarter choices when it comes to building your wardrobe, let me introduce you to the Three L’s of Slow Shopping: The Life-Style Test, The Legitimacy Test, and The Longevity Test. We will explore how each of these tests can help you make more intentional and sustainable choices when it comes to shopping for new clothes. Let these tests be your guiding compass toward clothing that will not only stand the test of time but also reflect your unique style.

Quote that says, "your life and style play a significant role in slow shopping and determining what pieces will serve you best".

Slow Shopping: The Life-Style Test

The Life-Style Test plays a pivotal role in slow shopping and making conscious clothing choices. Every person has a unique style and instead of buying into fast fashion trends, you make purchases that consider your own distinct individuality. The first test makes sure that your clothing aligns with your personal style, life, and needs.

The Power of Personal Style

Before you start slow shopping, it’s important to find clothes that match your style and lifestyle. Your signature fashion style is a personal expression of who you are and to build a lifelong wardrobe, it’s necessary to discover clothes that speak to you. This is where Pinterest Boards become your shopping bestie to help you capture what clothing inspires you.

Finding your personal style also helps you filter through the constant churn of fast fashion trends. Instead of succumbing to fleeting styles, you can focus on finding timeless pieces that align with your personal look, promoting a more meaningful closet.

Investing time to understand your personal look is a key step towards developing a more authentic, personal wardrobe. By taking the time to reflect on your style preferences, you can identify clothing items that truly resonate with your individuality. This self-awareness enables you to curate a wardrobe filled with pieces that reflect your personality and make you feel confident.

Style to Fit Your Life

Similarly, your life and style plays a significant role in slow shopping and determining what pieces will serve you best. Whether you’re a full-time corporate girly, a wanderlust traveler, or a cozy homebody, your daily activities and environments dictate the practicality and functionality of your clothing choices.

For instance, if you work a full 9-5 job, whether or not you can wear this piece to the office is important to consider. On the other hand, if you’re a frequent flier, you may want to find clothes that are versatile and easy to pack. Or if you’re a homebody who values comfort, cozy loungewear and relaxed fit clothing will most likely be your go-to choices.

Questions for the Slow Shopping Life-Style Test:

  • Does this piece of clothing fit my personal style or is it a trend?
  • Does this piece of clothing pair well with other pieces that already exist in my closet? (Imagine creating different outfits with your existing closet; the more outfits you can create, the better!)
  • What does my environment and my lifestyle look like and does this piece help it or hinder it?

The LifeStyle test helps you strike a balance between your personal style and practicality. Understanding how to incorporate your style into your lifestyle can save you from making impulsive purchases. The key is to pick out clothing that seamlessly fits into your daily life, ensuring that you not only look good but also feel comfortable and confident throughout the day.

Quote that says, "Materials, construction, and fit, integral parts of slow shopping, will make or break your clothing choices".

Slow Shopping: The Legitimacy Test

When you find a piece that matches your personal style and life, the next test makes sure that it will stand the test of time. The materials, construction, and fit, integral aspects of slow shopping, will make or break your clothing choices. Incorporating this knowledge into your purchases will help you find pieces that are meant to last. And by investing in higher quality pieces, you won’t need to constantly replace them, reducing your fashion footprint.

Decode Fabric Materials

Start by examining the clothing tag inside the garment to see what the piece is made out of. Educating yourself on the most popular fabrics is a decisive part of determining the quality, as well as, the sustainability of the garment. Opting for natural and eco-friendly materials not only ensures quality but also helps minimize the environmental impact of your choice.

Evaluate Garment Craftsmanship

Next, inspect the seams and stitching of the garment. The garment construction is a testament to its craftsmanship and durability. Clothes are more likely to last longer than a season when they are manufactured with intention and detail in mind.

Dressing Room Decisions

Finally, try it on! If it brings you the same energy as Carrie Bradshaw strutting in her Manolo Blahniks then you are more likely to wear it. On the other hand, an ill-fitting piece is going to cause discomfort every time you put it on and will only collect dust in the back of your closet.

Questions for the Slow Shopping Legitimacy Test:

  • What is it made out of? And what are the wearability and longevity of the materials it is made from?
  • Is it designed and constructed with intention? Look for even stitching, clean seams, and other signs of a higher-quality garment. 
  • Does this piece fit and do I feel good in it? If the piece doesn’t fit for some reason like the hem is too long or the bodice is too big, will I realistically tailor it?

Guided by the principles of slow shopping, the Legitimacy Test makes sure you’re making an investment in pieces that are built to last. By prioritizing thoughtfully crafted clothing, you’re not only elevating your wardrobe but also embracing a more sustainable and responsible approach to fashion. So before you swipe that credit card, make sure you’re examining materials, construction, and fit to find pieces that measure to a high standard of quality and longevity.

Quote that says, "slow shopping means every item you purchase comes with a level of responsibility".

Slow Shopping: The Longevity Test

So you found a piece that resonates with your style and has passed both the LifeStyle and Legitimacy Test. The Longevity Test explores how it will fit into your life in the future. Slow shopping means every item you purchase comes with a certain level of responsibility and this final test ensures that you are building a collection of clothing that you will cherish for the rest of your life.

Check the Care Instructions

Along with composition, the clothing tab also indicates cleaning and care instructions. Assess the proper steps of maintenance and determine how realistically you are going to follow them. There is nothing worse than ruining a beloved garment by putting it through the wrong washing cycle or ironing it on the incorrect setting. Ensuring careful care not only extends its lifespan but also reduces tossing damaged clothing into the trash bin.

Build a Closet Time Capsule

Through slow shopping, you’re purchasing timeless classics over fleeting fashion trends is crucial when building a meaningful closet. Envision yourself wearing this piece of clothing in 5, 10, 50 years: Will you still feel confident in it when you’re older? Or is it giving 13 Going On 30? (We’re looking at you, Jenna Rink) Investing in pieces that stand the test of time both in durability and style helps you build a collection you will love forever.

Incorporate Sentimental Style

Finally, find pieces that feature a beautiful, unique detail. It’s that unexpected touch, whether it’s a handcrafted embellishment, distinctive design structure, or a funky pattern, that sets the garment apart and makes it truly one-of-a-kind. Treasured elements bring sentimental character to your wardrobe, ensuring that you will cherish it forever.

Slow Shopping Means Taking Responsibility

Taking responsibility for the end-of-life options for your clothing is a crucial aspect of ethical and sustainable fashion. When the time comes to part ways with a garment, conscientious choices can mitigate the environmental impact. Slow shopping considers end-of-life responsibility before making a purchase and is essential in fostering a sustainable approach to fashion. Educating yourself on the materials and composability of a garment allows for informed decisions, ensuring you choose items with minimal environmental impact. Recognizing your responsibility to discard clothing sustainably completes the lifecycle loop, emphasizing the importance of contributing to a circular economy and promoting mindful consumption.

Questions for the Slow Shopping Longevity Test:

  • What does the maintenance require and will I realistically care for it properly?
  • Can I envision myself still loving this piece in 20 years? Or will I feel silly?
  • Does it have a treasured detail that I love and will be hard to find again?
  • If the time comes, what is the best way to discard this garment with minimal environmental impact?

The Longevity Test is the final piece of the puzzle of slow shopping and determining whether it will be worth your investment. This test serves as the bridge between mindful consumption and building a sustainable wardrobe that is built to last. It’s about fostering a relationship with your clothing that goes beyond the initial purchase. When you assess the longevity of a garment, you’re not only thinking about how it fits into your life today. Instead, you’re also considering the impact of your choices on both yourself and the environment. If it passes the Longevity Test, you ensure that your clothing will remain a valuable part of your life.

Building a lifelong wardrobe begins with incorporating thoughtful choices into your shopping experiences. By following the Life-Style, Legitimacy, and Longevity tests of slow shopping, you will curate a wardrobe of pieces that are not only unique to you but a sustainable and responsible collection you will love for the rest of your life. These tests empower us to take control of our wardrobes and help us make smarter choices. They are a roadmap to a future where our clothing choices not only reflect our personalities but also embody our commitment to stopping fast fashion for a more mindful world.

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