When I was pondering the question, “what is slow fashion?”, I first considered the history of my fashion and wardrobe philosophy.
Quick-stop shopping has always been a part of my wardrobe and style selections. It’s been many years since I spent a long afternoon perusing clothes and accessories at the mall. Like, a really long time. We’re talking teenager excursions to the Northland Mall.
For many years, my fashion and wardrobe decisions have been determined using simple criteria that has given me satisfaction for the moment, the short term, or the occasion:
- Is it readily available?
- How much does it cost?
- Does it come in my size?
The availability of online shopping became a go-to for me because I could answer those questions quite quickly, and I didn’t have to get in my car and drive to a store.
So, when I began to ponder what exactly was in my closet, the cold, hard truth was, there were quite a few…no…a lot of pieces that were purchased without much thought, and because the price was right.
Is that a bad thing? Not always. But as I felt the pull to take a serious look at everything in my wardrobe, in my closet, in the drawers…everything, I knew that there were many items that didn’t belong there any more.
Some of those garments, mainly the bottoms, were not flattering to my midlife body shape, and I had to be realistic about that. I’m not 25, or 45, or 55 any longer. So I determined to accept myself as I am today, embrace the reality, and modify my wardrobe as needed.
The philosophy of slow fashion was also in my head, and I wanted to understand more about what it meant, how it was defined, and how I as a woman in my 60’s could incorporate that thought and decision-making process into my wardrobe decisions while staying true to my budget.
All that said, let’s learn more about that phrase and how it can apply in whole, or in part, to our style and fashion purchases.
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What is Slow Fashion?
Slow fashion is about returning to a personal relationship with fashion. One where trends and seasons don’t matter, but where your ethics and aesthetics seamlessly unite, and you can escape the stress of constant consumption, focusing on the style that truly appeals to you.Emilia Wik, Head Designer at BYEM
It’s an alternative to the philosophy of buying cheap (or quickly, or without thought) and wearing the garment or item a few times, then setting it aside for the next new thing.
The concept of slow fashion involves considering your overall style perspective, your unique shape, your personality, of course the budget, and the essence of what make you…you. These style and confidencesconcepts are covered in great detail in The Fashion Cure, a popular email series course I created for women over 50.
Ultimately, a slow fashion approach will result in fewer garments hanging in the closet, but those that do live in there will remain a part of your style choice for more than a few months; some a lot longer.
Here are some additional characteristics of slow fashion:
- made from higher quality, sustainable materials
- often found in smaller stores, possibly local, rather than the big chain stores
- garments that are locally sourced, produced, and sold
- fewer styles per collection, released two or three times per year
The most basic interpretation of slow fashion is to pass up those spur-of-the-moment items in favor of those that you will enjoy for years to come. Will they cost more? Perhaps, but not always.
And, if you decide to give thoughtful consideration to each and every garment you currently own, some of those garments, no matter the cost or manufacturer, may ultimately become a treasured piece that will remain with you for the foreseeable future. How better to represent the slow fashion and sustainability philosophy than to continue loving, and wearing, something that you already own!
I came to that conclusion with some dresses I’ve owned for quite awhile, a couple of them for many years. A try-on session showed that yes, I can still wear them (maybe with a nod to shape wear for the first time ever), and I feel a connection to them. So they remain part of my wardrobe even though they’re not worn often.
Factor in the optional (in my opinion) considerations including how the garment was made, where it was made, what the fabric consists of, it is sustainable…and the commitment to the slow fashion movement is taken to another level altogether.
My Slow Fashion Checklist
My goal in going through this learning experience while I purge the wardrobe is to be more aware of what I’m purchasing:
- Why am I making this purchase?
- Do I really need this item right now?
- Does it truly fit my personal style?
- Can I see myself wearing this garment for the foreseeable future?
- Does it fit my budget?
- Is this fabric made from sustainable materials?
- Does this manufacturer have published environmental standards?
How have I put this into practice? Well, as I was giving thoughtful consideration to each garment I own, ultimately I was in need of replacement casual pieces, shorts and capris specifically.
I will wear denim shorts while working at home almost all year ’round. And when I’m able to travel to the warmer climates they are always part of the wardrobe.
My goal was to purchase well-fitting pieces that were from a reputable company at a price that would allow me to purchase several garments at one time.
While I didn’t consider all of the aspects of slow fashion for this purchase, I did make decisions knowing that these pieces would stay with me for a long time. I decided to utilize the Prime Wardrobe option from Amazon, to ensure that I was making the right purchase decision before committing the checkbook. You can read more about Prime Wardrobe and see what I purchased here.
My slow fashion journey took a step forward with this order from Everlane. Read more about this shopping source in the section below.
My wardrobe was in need of these two staple items (in my world, anyway): well-fitting jeans and a long sleeve black cotton tee pullover.
The tee shirt is certified organic cotton from seed to shirt, with GOTS certification.
That stands for The Global Organic Textile Standard, which accounts for every step of production.
The Arc Jean that I selected is an interesting curved-leg fit that tapers in slightly at the hem, which gives a fun silhouette that is just a bit different. I like that.
There’s just a bit of stretch to the denim, and a high-rise waist. They’re comfy, casual, and unique.
The LEED-certified factory that makes the denim uses renewable energy and air drying to reduce its C02 emissions by 80%. Click on the link above to read more about how these jeans are made.
I’m really excited about these two garments, and know that they will remain a part of my wardrobe for a long time.
Slow Fashion Purchase Consideratons
Do you love to frequent second-hand and resale shops? This is a wonderful way to give new life and repurpose garments that others have loved, at prices that are easy on the wallet.
Online sources are an option too, with sites like Thred Up. I purchased several pieces from Thred Up, was satisfied with two, returned one garment, a skirt, because I didn’t care for the fit.
Returning the item was easy and gave me a credit toward a future purchase.
Online Shopping Sources
If you decide that a slow fashion philosophy is what you want to embrace, there are a number of online sources that create garments and collections. In my research, I found several that may appeal to women in midlife.
1 | Everlane
The philosophy behind Everlane is threefold:
- Exceptional quality – by sourcing only the finest materials so the products manufactured will last for years, even decades, to come.
- Ethical factories – by partnering only with ethical factories around the world, using a compliance audit to evaluate the most important factors.
- Radical Transparency – by sharing the cost of the products they make with consumers, and then eliminating the high mark-up.
The styles are more classic than trendy, with pricing that most will find in the affordable range for higher quality merchandise. Read more about Everlane’s commitment to ethical fashion.
2 | Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher utilizes organic and responsible fibers in the manufacturing of their garments. Read more about the company’s “behind the label” philosophy.
They communicate the supply chain process clearly and simply:
Consider Fine Tencel Jersey, one of our most versatile knits. The Tencel fiber is made from wood that’s responsibly harvested in multiple sources around the world. The fiber is made in Austria and the yarn is spun in China. It then goes to Montreal, where it is knit and dyed, and finally to the US, where it is cut, sewn and shipped to our warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey. From there it’s trucked to our stores—or shipped directly to customers through our website.eileenfisher.com
Women’s styles include clothing for regular, petite and plus size, as well as shoes and accessories, and the garments are beautiful.
3 | Amourvert
Casual and fun, with an affordable price-point. Amourvert’s sustainable practices address the full lifecycle of a garment as well as their business practices.
And, for every tee that is sold, a tree is planted in collaboration with their partner, American Forests, with more than 318,000 trees planted as of this writing.
97% of Amourvert’s products are made in California. Read more about Amourvert’s sustainability practices and philosophy.
Yes, if you have the desire to shop with a slow fashion philosophy, Amazon offers quite a variety of brands that have made a commitment toward the movement.
Brands such as Fair Indigo, Pact Organic, prAna, Aventura, Truth Alone, and more, can be accessed and purchased with Amazon’s convenience.
Here are a few examples:
Slow fashion is a concept that you might want to devote some study time to, ponder what it means to you, and help make the decision of how to bring this into your purchase decisions.
Here are some curated options to consider:
What Can You Do?
Answer the question, “what is slow fashion?” in your own mind, and determine if you’re ready to move in that direction. Consider these suggestions from our friends at Sloww.co
- Shop less and buy less – consider secondhand and vintage before purchasing new garments and accessories
- When shopping and buying – avoid fast fashion brands, do your homework, consider smaller local brands/businesses, buy higher quality to last longer, buy timeless designs
- Once you own it – love the few things you own & celebrate them, if it’s not disposable, consider product lifecycle to keep out of landfills (repair, donate, upcycle, etc)
The philosophy of slow fashion is one that, once embraced, can be part of a life that is led in a thoughtful, mindful, less-hurried way. And that’s something we all can benefit from.