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Look & Feel Good: 3 Ways to Afford Sustainable Fashion

If you’ve ever watched Queer Eye, you know good clothes can make you feel like the best version of yourself. However, clothes shouldn’t just look good on you; they should provide a good income for the people making them, and help–not harm–the earth we live on.

Sustainable and ethical fashion is on the rise, but tend to carry a high price tag because they are not mass produced. How can you shop ethically but not hurt your wallet? Check out these 3 tips to save money!

Tan France

Credit: Netflix via Tumblr

1. Shop sales at outdoors retailers like Sports Basement, REI, and Backcountry.

While you would like to have a Patagonia-based wardrobe, you can easily spend over $300 on two items full-price. Luckily, many outdoor retailers include top, sustainable brands in their sales, including Prana and Vuori. If you’re a part of a member program, like Basementeer, you can get additional discounts!

SAVINGS IN ACTION: This Patagonia pullover retails for $149. Sports Basement has brand-based sales regularly, and I got the pullover for 25% off, with an additional 10% off due to my Basementeer membership. That’s $50 off!

2. Use Instagram to find referral codes.

Many sustainable fashion brands, including small ones, have referral programs that give first-time buyers 20-30% off their first purchase. If you don’t have a friend to send you a code, however, that doesn’t help you. Googling for codes is not always successful, since the brands may not be popular enough to be on big couponing websites.

Instead, look at the brand’s mentions or tags on Instagram. Top posts come from Influencers, many of whom are brand ambassadors and have codes on their website or in their Instagram posts.

SAVINGS IN ACTION: Hack With Design makes beautiful, breathable clothes that are made to order, so they’re definitely pricey. They have partnerships with bloggers like Seasons + Salt, where you can get codes for 10% or more off.

3. Buy secondhand.

Hands down, increasing the lifetime of clothes is the best way to help the planet. You’ll likely find both big and small-name secondhand retailers in your area, from Goodwill to Crossroads to local ones. You can also buy online on platforms like ThreadUP and Poshmark.

SAVINGS IN ACTION: Items are usually heavily discounted (sometimes 75% off!) with minimal wear and tear (all secondhand stores have minimum quality guidelines). Check out the Poshmark page for Marine Layer, where items sell for over 50% off. The best part–other than the savings–is that you can buy clothes no longer sold in stores. Sustainable brands tend to produce in lower numbers and run out of sizes often in store. Do you have regrets about not buying a jacket sooner? You may have a second chance in a secondhand store.

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