mira’s closet tip #3 // conscious shopping

may, 2020

you’ve probably heard me use this phrase a lot in my work but i thought it might be good to take a deep dive into what it all really means.  in truth, conscious shopping means a lot more than just one thing.  i think it might be easiest to make a more concrete definition that you can refer to if you’re interested in introducing some of these concepts into your wardrobe and into your life.

this time is asking a lot from us.  it’s testing the very core of who we are, what are our values, and what we stand for.  so i think it’s important for me to clarify this now while everything is sort of up in the air and we know that changes must be made in order for us to go on as a global community.

i first became aware of my own transformation in the last year or two of working at mira mira.  at that time, i started to become much more aware of my own buying habits and felt a real need to change them.  it started with a purge of my own clothes, taking up room in my closet but not actually getting worn and even hindering me from seeing and wearing more of what i did love.  at that time, i ruthlessly cut my wardrobe by about 60-70%!  i had a massive sale in my store of my own closet and today, i still get to see friends and clients wearing and loving my discarded items.  we talk about it all the time!  these pieces have a brand new life now in a home that wanted them.

this led me to think more about vintage and used clothing and how i could show my clients that new and used items could be mixed seamlessly in an inspired wardrobe.  i’ve been an avid vintage collector since high school so it was already a big passion of mine.  i began a collaboration with one of my favorite vintage shops in oakland, mercy vintage, and together we curated a collection of vintage and used clothing that really looked identical to many of the new things that we carried in the shop.  so much so, that most of my clients had a hard time distinguishing the vintage from the new.  this was a very fun lesson in recognizing the environmental benefit of shopping used clothing.  

and since then, conscious shopping has really expanded for me, especially when it came into practice with my new business, the edit.  i found that most women had the exact same problem that i did.  they collected clothing, it overwhelmed their closets, and they felt stuck somewhere between the past and the present and future self that they wanted to be.  so while we can never go back and undo the mistakes of overbuying in the past, that’s really not the point.  we did it and we weren’t aware of what we were doing.  but now, once a safe framework was created to show us a new way of shopping and combining the clothes that we already had, we became “woke” so to speak and now we are free.   

the edit is a lot about removing items from our closet that simply don’t work for us anymore and hopefully to find a home for them where they will. but, it’s also a lot about looking for the gaps in our wardrobe that are keeping us from wearing more of what we already own.  so this is a very important thing and something that i help my clients create.  we make a strategic, very specific shopping list of what is needed to make getting dressed easier.  and so this is what i call conscious shopping, at its core.  being aware of what we need to wear more of what we already own and then purchasing those items in a controlled manner.  this might mean adding one piece a month.  or you might have set aside a bit of money to update your wardrobe and go for a few things at one time.  but it’s no race.  it’s a long-term plan.

conscious shopping obviously means a lot of things to me.  but probably at its very core, it is this. so i end here with the most important thing i think we all must raise consciousness around.  it’s about being educated and aware of the production process from the top down. do my purchases and my favorite designers align with my personal values about the environment?  i look for organic, recycled or up-cycled fabrics, non-toxic dyes, materials that biodegrade and don’t harm the environment in their making. do my favorite designers bring consciousness to their production itself?  where are the clothes manufactured and how are their factories and workers?  am i supporting local whenever i can?  most independent businesses feel a real sense of responsibility towards their practices and also give back. looking at all these factors is so important for me to be able to feel good about the  purchase that i make and my footprint in the world.  

we can’t always be completely conscious in all things but even raising awareness just a tiny bit can guide us to better choices overall.

i’d love to hear your thoughts below.  it’s so interesting to learn more about women’s buying, shopping and dressing habits and you enrich the conversation a lot by sharing with me.

xx mira