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A Five-Step Guide to Shopping Sustainably

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Manhattan chapter.

By Jessie Loch

In an age where online shopping and fast fashion are normalized, it’s hard to resist impulse purchases. Not only does this hurt your wallet, but also the planet. The fashion industry produces nearly 10 percent of annual global carbon emissions. It’s time to take some personal responsibility. If you want to start shopping more sustainably, these five steps will help you limit environmental impact and save you money. 

  1. Question, question, question

Do you really need another pair of jeans? Does it really matter that your other five pairs are slightly out of season? It’s time to get real with yourself. In order to start shopping sustainably, it’s crucial to reframe your mindset. Some things you buy will be necessities. Some things you buy, perhaps compulsively, will only serve as a temporary thrill. Ultimately, you’ll only wear it a few times and contribute to the surmounting amount of greenhouse gas emissions. 

So, before you buy another pair of jeans, ask yourself a few questions: What purpose does this item serve in your life? Will you still want it in the next 2, 3 or 4 years? How will it make you feel? 

  1. Utilize second-hand stores

In recent years, second-hand stores have increased in popularity. This also explains the influx of fast fashion pieces to vintage and thrift stores, as recent generations are opting for both. Not only can you buy clothing for a fraction of the price, but you can also have a one-of-a-kind item in your closet. Even some of your favorite celebs are opting for vintage pieces, so why aren’t you?

  1. Donate!

This leads me to my third tip, donating to these second-hand stores. This way, you’re making room for a more minimalistic closet and encouraging others to shop sustainably. 

  1. Invest in multi-seasonal clothing

Try buying clothing that can be used all year round. This means not spending the bulk of your money on summer clothing when you live in New York City. Instead, buy timeless jackets, jeans, t-shirts and dresses that make for a much more sustainable closet. 

  1. Learn how to sew (seriously)

Imagine a button breaks off your favorite sweater, or you rip a hole in your new leggings. Now imagine that instead of just running to the store to buy a new one, you can fix it yourself. Now you’re not hurting your pocket or encouraging mindless spending. Just watch a simple YouTube video or DIY tutorial, and you’re one step closer to becoming a sustainable shopper.

Jessie Loch

Manhattan '25

Jessie is a Junior at Manhattan College studying Marketing with a minor in Sociology. She loves snowboarding, Film and spending time with her friends and family. She is super excited to be a part of HerCampus!