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Sustainable Clothes Shopping Habits to Save Money and Reduce your Environmental Impact

13 Apr 2022

how to shop more sustainably

Buying less is easier said than done. These easy tips will help you navigate the world of sustainable clothes shopping and help you save money.

“Only buy what you need” is a phrase we hear a lot in the sustainable fashion movement and, in theory, we’re all for it. 

But we understand that fashion also needs to be fun and sometimes adding clothes to your life simply because they add joy can be just that, joyful. 

Buying less is the best way to take a more sustainable approach to shopping. But that can be easier said than done, and when you do what to buy something new, how can you be sustainable in your choices?

From how to find sustainable brands for every budget, to the benefits of pre-loved clothes and how to reduce plastic waste when you buy new things, this article has everything you need to know about sustainable practices that make shopping for clothes as planet-friendly as possible.

Why not check out how to dress sustainably at a festival or  how to pack for your summer holiday (eco edition).


When it comes to shopping sustainably for clothes, keeping a shopping list will stop you from making unnecessary impulse purchases and allow you to keep track of what you actually need.

Create an ongoing list kept somewhere accessible like the Notes app on your phone, and you’ll be able to keep track of what is genuinely needed in your wardrobe, and how long you’ve wanted things for.

It’s a place to document those, “I could really do withs” and “I must replace…”


Refer to this list everytime you browse the shops or resale platforms. It doesn’t need to be item specific. It could be as vague as, “I want something that I feel comfortable wearing when eating but still makes me feel celebratory.” 

(True story and that item ended up being a high street purchased jumpsuit- it was a fast fashion purchase that felt informed because I knew the purpose it actually served in my life).


If you’re someone who responds well to a challenge, set yourself the “30 wears challenge” to help you guide your purchasing decisions. Ask yourself, will I wear this 30 times? If the answer is no, then think about what you could choose that would pass the test - is it a different shape or colour that you’d get more wear out of?

You will be surprised by how many things don’t pass the test, and you’ll start to see the things in your own wardrobe in a whole different light.

Take your time. Fashion moves quickly but you don’t have to. If you see something you really like, give yourself some thinking space. If it’s still pulling at your heartstrings then you know it wasn’t just an impulsive longing, and you can feel better about making the purchase.


Choosing where to shop is half the battle when it comes to making sustainable choices when you’re shopping.

Support businesses who care about ethics and sustainability. Many or these will be smaller players, but they may also be bigger brands that have made commitments to producing in more sustainable ways and are taking responsibility for their waste through take back schemes.

Supporting independent makers and local businesses feels really good. Many of these brands will make everything by hand, using sustainably sourced materials and will put the extra effort into your order. 

A handwritten note from the person who made your clothes is a magical feeling and your money goes far in helping them grow their business. Instagram and Etsy are good places to start looking for these brands.

If you’re curious about a brand or company’s sustainability efforts, then check out their website. Most brands have a page dedicated to the things they are doing to make their brand more eco-friendly, and you can learn more before you choose whether to shop there.

Sustainable Clothes Shopping Habits to Save Money and Reduce your Environmental Impact


Not all fabrics are created equally. 

Every material used to create clothes has an impact on the environment. Look, it’s a pretty greenwashy scene out there but as a general rule of thumb, we recommend looking for clothes that use the words “recycled”, “organic” or “renewable,” as a start point.

 Look for certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or BCI (Better Cotton Initiative). These are symbols of the certification programmes that use better working standards and pay, more organic cotton, and less pesticides in the making of the fabrics. 

Avoid blends where possible. 

Clothes made with as close to 100% of one type of fibre are easier to recycle at the end of life. When we mix one or more fabric together, it’s much harder to split those two fibres apart when it comes to the end of that garment’s life, so more often than not, these things end up in landfill instead of being recycled.

Most fast fashion brands will use a blend of different fabrics because it’s cheaper to produce and more durable, so it can be tricky to find single fibre fabrics on the highstreet.

If you’re struggling to find single-fabric clothes, then try to find clothes that are made out of a blend of natural fibres, like cotton, linen, hemp or tencel. This means that although the fabric will most likely not be able to be recycled into a new garment, it will at least break down and decompose when it gets to that point.

Take a look at our guide to sustainable fabrics and how recycling works to get a better idea of the process in full.


Sometimes we need to buy clothes made from man-made materials like polyester, acrylic or nylon, which are usually considered to be the less-sustainable choice. 

When it comes to activewear and swimwear, these fabrics usually end up being the best option, and that’s okay. When possible, choosing to buy these fabrics recycled can reduce your carbon footprint and the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Recycled polyester and nylon fabrics are usually made from plastic waste that would have been binned, so it keeps things circular, which is always a good thing.


This tip is great for buying gifts, small accessories and other everyday items, but depending on where you live, it might not be cost effective or possible for you to do it. 

Choosing to buy clothes and products that are made and sold locally means reducing the carbon footprint, because they don’t have to travel across the world to you. 

Buying things that are made in the UK, or even better, in your local town, reduces thousands of miles of travel that an item needs to take to get to you, and means that it is a more sustainable option.


There’s a reason that we don’t offer next-day-delivery here at Reskinned, and that’s because it’s not as sustainable as regular delivery.

The more times that delivery drivers have to make their trips across the country, the more carbon emissions are created, so when it comes to most businesses, opting for regular delivery means cutting that out.  



Did you know that extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months could reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20–30% each (WRAP, Valuing Our Clothes, 2017). 

There are A LOT of clothes out there already and we’re confident that whatever you’re looking for can be found preloved. Reskinned guarantees that all clothes we offer on our resale platform are high quality and are as clean as new. Thanks to our eco-friendly ozone cleansing machine we can remove any unwanted particles, leaving the clothes smelling and feeling totally fresh. 

Every time you choose to buy something pre-loved instead of new, you reduce the use of brand new resources and materials, which slows down the effect that fashion has on global warming. 

Buying pre-loved keeps great clothes out of landfill and in the wardrobes of the people who love them. Imagine how many 30-wears you can get out of something if it makes its way through multiple wardrobes!



Surprise surprise, you don’t actually need a whole separate wardrobe for winter and summer.

When you’re shopping for sustainable fashion, opt for pieces you’ll get wear out of all through the year. This is a great way to ensure you’re hitting your 30 wears, and making full use of the things you purchase.

Opt for durable and practical basics like dungarees, cardigans, good quality t-shirts and jeans that you’ll feel great in all year round.


Before you head out to buy something new, take some time to visit your own wardrobe, and rediscover what you’ve already bought. We’re talking about the back of the rails, the boxes under the bed - all of the places you’ve stored the things you once chose and loved, but somehow don’t ever seem to get around to wearing.

We’re sure you have some forgotten gems in there, and now is the time to pull them out. Repair those trousers you used to love. Take that dress into the tailors to alter it to the right measurements. You can update a lot of what you already have with simple changes like switching out buttons or adjusting hemlines.


More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better made. 

When you are trying to make your shopping habits more sustainable, shop from brands that have positive reviews from long serving customers about their quality, or go for brands that can be recommended by friends and family for their durability over time.

Make sure there are no fraying hems, mismatched seams or loose buttons at the point of purchase. And look, if their clothes always shrink or start to go bubbly on the first wash, maybe skip them next time.

There are tons of different ways you can make your shopping habits more sustainable and eco-friendly. By reducing your plastic waste, shopping locally for sustainable products, choosing recycled materials and buying high quality items over fast fashion, you’ll be well on your way to a more sustainable wardrobe.

And remember, the most sustainable way to shop is by shopping what you already own, so if you can find a way to fall back in love with what’s in your wardrobe, that’s a great start. But if you really do need something new? Choose pre-loved.

Find more sustainable articles on the Reskinned blog.

Shop pre-loved here.

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