Clothing: shopping madness and closet clearouts

We’re screwed; we have too much clothing. Are there ways to feel handsome or beautiful but that are also good for the planet? We found some for you.

Resisting temptation or your next shopping trip

Shopping is good for your health (they don’t say retail therapy for nothing). That said, we can find enjoyment in other ways than buying new clothing.

Shopaholic or simply needing to dress yourself, are you worried about the planet? What can you do? Two examples are to rent or to buy second-hand. It’s important to resist.

Resisting purchases is the key in your fight against an overflowing closet. The resistance battle plan consists specifically of:

  • Not shopping at the start of the month or when there are sales.
  • Unsubscribing from newsletters sent to you by your favourite clothing stores.
  • Not clicking on ads for the cheap online shops that pop up on your Facebook profile.

And if you really, absolutely need to buy clothing:

  • Set a budget and stick to it.
  • Keep your idea in mind and resist temptation.

What would be the ideal wardrobe size? “That which holds only exactly what you need,” Nathalie Crahay, a home organization coach, told us during our podcast on textile waste.

Second-hand or thrift shops, infinite choices at a low price

A study shows that 7 out of 10 women like shopping. Men, too. Thrift stores are an opportunity to shop while having fun. Sifting through racks on the hunt for an original piece is pretty cool. Plus, both the planet (and your wallet) will be happy. From luxury to second-hand, here are some options:

  • Les Enfants d’Edouard, a pioneer in designer discount
  • Thrift or second-hand stores in your region
  • Stores such as Oxfam, Terre or Petits Riens
  • Flea markets
  • Ligue des Familles or school markets
  • Closet clearouts
  • Groups that sell clothing on Facebook
  • Sites and applications for buying and selling second-hand
  • Clothing swaps or buying amongst friends

Tip: some second-hand boutiques even hold sales, usually before the official annual sales.

You can also consider second-hand for singular or passing events, such as for pregnancy, your child’s communion or your New Year’s Eve outfit.

What about for exercise? Buy your riding or judo equipment from the classified ads, in second-hand sports stores or at gyms.

Rent clothing, an alternative to buying

Giving items and clothes a second life is in keeping with the times and is the basic principle of renting. So, try renting your clothing. Specifically:

  • ceremonial clothing: rent instead of buying anything that will only be used once, like ceremony or wedding dresses.
  • costumes: for Carnaval, Halloween, themed parties… rent your costume instead of buying it from the store.
  • children’s clothing: Tale me specializes in rentals for children 0-4 years old.
  • work clothing: companies such as Companeo and Mewa offer work clothing rentals (Horeca, scrubs, etc.).
  • everything for sports: Like to ski? You’ll find everything you need on location. Want to try scuba diving? Rent a wet suit for 10 times less than its purchase value. Consider renting dance costumes, which change for every recital. And for judo? Dojos will often rent kimonos.

Second-hand and rental clothing: men are neglected

What about for men? For men, finding clothing second-hand is harder. There are several companies, though, that offer rentals. Some have been around for decades. For example, Rose & Van Geluwe, since 1928, or Brussels ceremony since 1985, offer suit rentals.

For the day-to-day, Grand Dressing offers men’s clothing for rental and delivery in France and Belgium. Their slogan is “refresh your closet without contributing to overconsumption.”

Owning less clothing is not the end of the world 

Buying less clothing is possible. Before making a purchase, just ask yourself: ‘do I really need this sweater or these shoes?’ In reality, do we really need 10 pairs of jeans, 20 blouses and 30 t-shirts?

Get the help of a home organiser and do a clear out. Donate, sell or rent your extra clothing. Your beautiful clothing deserves to see the light of day instead of sitting at the back of your closet.

Usitoo is all in for more renting and less ownership of items. It’s even their business model. You won’t find a wedding dress on Usitoo, but you can rent a sewing machine! In case you want to make, customise or repair your clothing. Rent your safety boots, motorcycle boots, hiking boots and ski boots for your hobbies or for work.

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