Frugality in Fashion

BY greenstilettosgirl / May 06, 2018


How many of you are good at managing your budgets? I, for one, have at times struggled with my personal expenditure. No matter how hard I tried, there was always a temptation of I-just-have-to-have-this-one lurking around the corner, sabotaging my lofty saving goals.

And although I am slowly getting better at spending less, especially on fashion, I am by no means a frugality fanatic. And let’s face it, tight budgets have often been cited as an excuse for opting for fast fashion—the assumption being that sustainable choices are more costly.

While it’s true that sustainable fashion is slightly more expensive, recently I have read a great article on how to be a conscious shopper—both in terms of environmental and economic impacts. Frugality seems to strike a particular chord with Millennials, who are more likely to save for an early retirement than GenXers.

While I haven’t yet mastered the art of thriftiness, here are five tips for being a more frugal fashionista, without compromising on style or sustainability:

Buy pre-loved

Gone are the days when second-hand stores were merely the repositories of other people’s cast-offs at the end of their long, tired lives. Today’s pre-loved clothes and accessories have generally been far less worn before being put up for sale in a wide range of small boutiques (I have a favourite of my own, run by a chic older lady in a small Swiss village) or online. Vestiaire Collective and TheRealReal are just two online platforms that offer a wide range of uber-brands at reasonable prices with their authenticity guaranteed.


Same as above, but a great opportunity to sell those expensive shoes that you snapped up on sale but never wore because you realized they were the wrong size the minute you got home. You can either sell directly online or via a consignment store that would take a commission but save you the hassle of dealing with prospective buyers and organizing international shipments (waybill in triplicate, anyone?).


In this era of Uber-everything, buying clothes—especially for special occasions—is increasingly a thing of the past. Instead of forking out an equivalent of a month’s wages on a dress that might only be worn a couple of times, why not “borrow” it from someone else’s fabulous closet? Check out Rent the Runway and Rentez-Vous for membership starting from $99 a month for unlimited—and guilt-free—wardrobe changes.


Another one of my favourite ways to get new clothes without actually shopping. Every couple of months or so, my girlfriends and I get together for a night of shwopping (clothes swapping). I wrote about the rules for a successful shwopping party here. Plentiful supply of champagne is definitely rule number one.


Last but not least, you can give your clothes a second life by turning them into something different. A jacket that is a bit too long and shapeless? Slash the sleeves and enjoy an on-trend gilet. A skirt that is suddenly the wrong shape and size? Transform it into a bustier or a belted maxi-dress for your daughter. Use your imagination!

In this new age of sustainability, wastefulness—be it in terms of natural or financial resources—is simply not cool. Frugality is finally in fashion.



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