People talk about brand names and the price of a pair of shoes. They care about whether they is a Michael Kors in a specific outlet mall. About how much they saved on their Kate Spade purse.

And yet in the last year, I’ve been trying to buy from local places, places that give back or places that are aware of their environmental impact. My favourite places are the ones that combine all three but that’s a rare find. Right now, in my opinion, there is a huge overspending and overbuying problem. People buy so many clothes only to throw others out rather than try to find another owner or another use for the clothing. People buy new dishwashers and microwaves and throw away the old ones rather than trying to find someone who could use something that maybe doesn’t work the best.

I just never really understood the status of a brand. That’s kind of funny considering I studied sociology and brands and meanings behind symbols is such a huge part of my studies but when it comes to clothes, it’s never something that I’ve given a lot of thought.

In the last year, I’ve gained secure, good paying employment. And because I’ve been so lucky to find that, I am mindful that everyone else should be able to find that. This is one of the reasons that I have a Pinterest board called “Smart Shopping” and follow so many people on Instagram – I am trying to find places that manufacture their products ethically – both financially and in terms of work conditions. Environmental impact is also something that is important to me – we only have this one Earth and we’ve already done a lot of damage so we need to start finding trends that will stop the destruction and hopefully reverse some of the damage.

Now obviously, buying items that are ethically made cost a bit more money. Quite a bit in some cases. But this also helps to reduce the mindless spending that a lot of people do. I am not trying to be a saint – I have more than my fair share of clothing and of random things. But I would rather pay a little extra for something that is going to last for a lot longer than some of the crap that places produce.

With trying to save money and save the environment, I have done a lot of consignment shopping in the last two years. I realize that I am in a position that is able to do this since I don’t need to buy work clothes as I have a uniform for work. Back when I needed to buy work clothes, I probably wouldn’t have been overly optimistic about finding something I could wear to the office that was second hand. Nonetheless, for my life right now, getting secondhand jeans and sweaters works really well for me. Both of the places that I go are really particular about what clothes they are willing to accept so I’ve never had an issue with the quality of my clothes.

Black Friday just passed and I guess today is Cyber Monday. People mindlessly spending their hard earned money on things that will most likely collect dust. Don’t get me wrong – I get the point of waiting for a good sale for something that you really want but I just wish that people would buy more things that they needed rather than just having things for the sake of having things. I don’t understand the purpose of having a brand name purse. I barely know most of the brand names that people talk about – I never go near the stores because I can’t imagine putting that much money into an item of clothing only to make another person richer.

That’s just my thoughts about shopping. What are yours?


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