Clothes Shopping in Lean and Green Times

The economy and/or our environmental consciousness have lots of us staying home, and buying way fewer clothes than we ever did before. But there’s nothing like holiday gift-shopping to get you into the stores and tempt you into picking up a few things for yourself.

Here are some things to keep in mind, especially when you hear the call of the sales racks. Our bulging closets are testament to the wasted money that can ensue–and there’s nothing environmentally friendly about that.

According to Janet Wood, style expert and founder of Fashion Fit Formula, “A sale is a retail store’s way of flirting with you. They’re saying ‘see all the bargains!’” But these days, as it becomes chicer to be cheap, shoppers are looking for find the best deals possible.

Many times higher end stores bring in sale clothing that is not up to the quality that of their non-sale items. According to Wood, “They are loss-leaders. Clothing sold at almost no profit to attract buyers into the location where they will then see the high profit clothing.”

Or, she says, you might find sale garments that aren’t as nice as their other merchandise but its cost, while lower, isn’t that much lower. Just a few steps a way is a rack with obviously better quality clothing and while the price is higher, it’s not that much higher. The buyer rationalizes for just $30 to $40 more, I can get this out fit and it looks so much more expensive. That’s true, but you have just blown your clothing budget.

So: Check the quality of the fabric. Is the weave tight or loose? Look at the zipper; are there any puckers in the seams holding it in place? Does the bottom of the zipper area buckle? Also make sure to check any stress seams (areas where the clothing will have additional wear). They are usually sleeves and front and back seams on pants, shorts or capris.

According to Wood, true bargains can be found as the seasons change and unsold items are reduced in cost (we’ve also found a lot of them at high-quality resale shops). Either way, evaluate the items you may choose to purchase carefully.

Ask yourself: Is it a basic staple of your wardrobe? Do you own the necessary accessories to make this new blend of colors work? Is this color or style going to be “out” in a year?

Wood says, “Unless your lifestyle revolves around dressing in evening clothes and going out frequently, only purchase dressy clothes when necessary. It’s important to think about cost per wearing. If you blow your budget on a “must have outfit” that you only wear once–it was very expensive indeed.” A far better choice would be to invest that money in an article of clothing that you will wear 20 times a season. Evening separates have made it possible to significantly reduce the cost of this look by adding a new top and wearing with evening pants or long skirt.

To battle the long-known dilemma of “it doesn’t fit quite right, but it’s on sale!” Janet invented the Fashion Fit Formula, which is a mathematical system based on 12 vertical measurements of a woman’s body. Once your personal measurements have been entered into the Fashion Fit Formula, you get a specific plan detailing how to tailor your existing wardrobe to be the most flattering on your unique body. Janet says that the Fashion Fit Formula helps women avoid “closet guilt” and can turn those sale items you never wear into your next great outfit. For more information, visit

Organic Spa Magazine is a national consumer lifestyle magazine about bringing spa wisdom into the modern green lifestyle. For a free digital subscription, click here.

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Howard C.
.6 years ago

I guess that as a 51 year old man I am not as 'fashion concious' as some. I go for quality without the labels and wear my clothes until they are worn, then I offer them to others or for recycling. When I was younger I thought nothing of spending £60.00 ($100 US) on a t-shirt or £150.00 on a pair of boots. As I grew older I came to appreciate that there were far better things that I could spend my money on and that a t-shirt costing £10.00 was every bit as good and that I got a bigger kick out of giving the £50.00 I saved to help something that I cared about. There are people around who thought think nothing of spending £10,000 on an item of clothing, maybe if they followed my lead charities wouldn't have to go without the money they so desperatley need.

Elizabeth P.
.7 years ago

shopping for points for the animals ...

evelyn m.
evelyn m.7 years ago

thank you

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago


Christine K.
Past Member 7 years ago

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Dorota Janik
Dorota Janik7 years ago

thank you for advices!

Eli Is Here
.7 years ago

Great advice. Thank you Veronica!!

Maira Sun
Maira Sun8 years ago


Kay O.
Kay O8 years ago

Buy what you can afford. I travel a lot so I look for practical
items I will wear for a long time. Clothes are an investment,
buy what is made well. Classic, timeless, enduring.

Elaine Dixon
Elaine Dixon8 years ago

interesting post, I not a clothes buyer, but I do like to buy sleep wear, pjs and such, nothing makes me feel more comfortable then getting outta street cloths and sliding in lounging clothes.