“Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am)” by Barbara Kruger, 1987

Design doesn’t have to be constantly changing – if its good design it can just be there and will be appreciated. Post-holiday sales and discounts can make it easy to acquire a lot of clothing for little money, but whilst you are fighting your way through the crowds don’t forget to focus on those well designed/well-made investment pieces. A quality garment may cost three times that of a cheaper version but in the long term it can be worth three times the wear.

While it’s never easy to spend money on clothes you can pick up somewhere else for a smaller price tag, there are some things for which it makes sense to pay a little more. High-quality, versatile items like coats and party dresses that defy fashion’s ever-changing moods are perfect examples. You’ll end up getting so much wear out of these garments that it’ll be worth the price in the end. Shopping like this will not only help build a classic closet that will last, it will also help to prevent adding more waste to the world. Aim for quality over quantity, and not just in manufacture, but also pay close attention to the cloth of which the clothes are made.

You should be looking at what these clothes are made of. Choosing fibers from nature (either plants or animals) ensures clothes are breathable and comfortable but best of all – renewable and biodegradable. The cheaper synthetic fibers are “made” using fossils fuels, oils and petrochemicals and sprayed with chemicals to fix colors and imitate some of the qualities of natural fibers. Whilst this leads to a low cost in the shop, the cost to your skin and our planet cannot be ignored. Fashion doesn’t have to wasteful and damaging – there are so many things wrong with an industry based on consumerism that by showing your appreciation for well manufactured and environmentally aware products will help in the long run.

“What I’m really saying is, buy less and choose well. I would like quality rather than quantity. I don’t believe growth is okay if it means one man’s advantage is another man’s disadvantage. I try to concentrate on quality clothing and accessories that are worth having, and to get my people to take less trips by air and stay longer each time they travel. It’s more human, especially if they take time to visit an art gallery while there.”

— Legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, speaking in the British Marie Claire

So if you are planning to hit the shops in a post-holiday splurge focus your store hopping to:

  • Outerwear – A great cut that works well with both casual and evening outfits is worth the money. Look for a great quality fabric that will hold up to the elements. You want your coat to work hard for you, but it should also stay looking sharp.
  • Shirts – Well they’re on top, so the focus of your outfit. Cheap fabrics can look tacky and, well, cheap. Look for frills, ruffles, florals and a great fit, but whatever style you go with, it’s worth it to go high-end with this prominent piece.
  • Party dresses – You want to love your dress because you’ll be relying on it to feel confident and fabulous every time you put it on. It should fit you to perfection and have an air of elegance