Go to your wardrobe. Open it. Move some clothes around, stretch your arm in and pull those clothes out, yep the ones right at the back. Lay them on the bed. Open your drawers and pull out your clothes. Yep the scrunched up ones too. Okay, so the contents of your wardrobe are in front of you in some overwhelmingly big pile, and you feel kind of sick to your stomach that you purchased these items with the mindset that you 'really needed it'. How many items in said pile do you like? How many ignite feelings of love, you know you look at it and think I'm going to have this forever? What do they have in common? Were these garments pre-loved or purchased on the high street? Were they full price or on sale? Had you wanted them for a long time or were they a spontaneous purchase? Basically what we're looking for here is any common thread (pardon the pun) in the garments you love and the garments you wish you'd never bought. Take a mental note, or jot it down and store it away for the next time you go shopping.
Asking these questions is, for me, is the first step in being a conscious consumer. Simply taking note, ownership if you will, of our consumerist behaviours. It is a bigger accomplishment than you think and should be applauded, because we all start out journey somewhere. In front of a big pile of loved and loathed clothing is just about as good a place as any. So well done.
For clothes to make it into my well loved, pass on to the children collection, they have to ignite some sort of emotional attachment. They need to be memorable; the texture, the way they make me feel when I wear them. I have to be able to imagine myself wearing them and they must 'work' with what I already have in my wardrobe (no joke, I do a mental scan of the clothes I know they will pair well with). All of the dots need to join together in order for me to make the purchase. Now I didn't always shop this way, and I must admit I'm a little more lenient when browsing the op shops, but this is my idea of being a conscious consumer. Mentally ticking off the requirements on my 'must adhere to' list before I buy. Treating each purchase as an investment, regardless of price and thanking the hands that made it. The more I do this, the more I become aware that each purchase I make has a much bigger impact on the world around me, and ultimately the less impulse purchases I make. I met a beautiful woman during my recent trip to Adelaide who is in the middle of her 'don't buy anything for a year' project. She says that it's already been life changing. I'm not there yet, and may never be. But you never know, legend says practice makes perfect.
You might have a completely different set of rules that you 'take with you' when shopping for a new piece of your wardrobe puzzle. Whatever it is, own it, and know that if you're simply checking that list before you make a purchase and you buy something with the intention of wearing it not only this season but into the next and beyond, then you are making a difference. Small changes can have an impact. You can close your wardrobe now.