6 Ways to Shop Sustainably On a Budget

how to dress sustainably

This article is part of an ongoing brand partnership.

As caring about climate change has become increasingly ‘trendy’, more and more clothing brands have attempted to switch to sustainable fashion.

But the truth is that sustainable fashion doesn’t actually exist. Just because a brand uses organic cotton or recycled materials doesn’t mean it’s sustainable — it just makes it slightly less wasteful. Buying new clothing — even from so-called “sustainable” brands — is incredibly harmful to the environment. A single cotton t-shirt, for example, uses 594 gallons of water to make.

But luckily, there are plenty of alternatives that can help the environment without compromising your sense of style — or your budget. Check them out below.

1 . Check Out Thrift and Vintage Stores

how to shop sustainable on a budget

If you’re looking to get stylish without hurting the climate don’t be afraid of thrift stores! You might have to search a little harder, but there are plenty of beautiful items to discover. Shopping in thrift stores also helps you to save money so it’s a double-win. Before you shop for brand new clothes, be sure to check out the second-hand stores in your neighborhood.

Vintage stores are equally fabulous for finding gorgeous garments. Looking for a serious stylish 1920s dress? What about some rocking 70’s style pants? There are so many ways to create a unique look with vintage clothing. Many vintage stores tend to be affordably priced as well.

2. Search Through Secondhand Clothing Apps

best secondhand clothing apps

Need a few more options to improve your style? There are lots of apps where you can browse for pre-loved items, and get yourself some great deals. Start off with a few of these top picks:


Just about the hottest place for pre-loved fashion, Depop is the place to find second-hand lovelies. Here you’ll find plenty of streetwear brands including Vans, Champion, and Adidas, plus lots of unique vintage picks.


A huge online thrift store with plenty of amazing items to find. Using Thredup you can improve your style and go green too. You’ll see plenty of brands on here, from high street favs to high-end designers.

With apps like these, you can also sell your unwanted clothing and jewelry items. To sell high-value accessories and jewelry, you’re better off with a specialist service. Here you can check out Diamond Banc, a premier jewelry buyer.

3. Host a Clothing Swap With Your Friends

how to shop sustainably on a budget

If you want to create a new look, but don’t want to make a new purchase, check out a clothes swap event.

Clothes swaps are a great way to get some cute new items for absolutely free. To find clothes swaps in your area, perform a basic Google search, or check out relevant groups on Facebook and Meetup. You could also organize a clothes swap with a group of your friends. Why not buy some drinks and food and turn it into a real clothes swap party with your pals?

4. Set a Few Rules For Yourself

sustainable shopping guide

If you want to get stylish without hurting the planet, it can help to set a few ground rules. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Pledge to buy a limited amount of brand new items a year
2. Only buy items that you know you’ll get lots of wear out of
3. Research any clothing brand before you decide to make a purchase so you know their carbon footprint

5. Care For Your Clothes

how to make your clothes last longer

To reduce your need for new clothes, ensure that you properly look after your current pieces. Always follow the washing guidelines on the label, to avoid damaging the material.

Another thing you can do is learn how to sew, so you can repair any items you need to. Investing in something like a sewing kit or a sweater stone can be a great way to keep clothes looking like new.

6. Find Inspiration Online

sustainable living on a budget

To start dressing sustainably, there are plenty of places to get inspired. For a few resources to get you started, check out these awesome blogs and resources.

Sustain Your Style

Sustain Your Style is the perfect place for newbies to begin. They have a ton of great articles to help you reduce your impact, understand the clothing industry, and more.

Good On You

Good On You is an awesome blog that helps shed light on the sustainability of your favorite brands. You can look up your favorite clothing brand and find out how they’re impacting the planet.

The Honest Consumer

The Honest Consumer goes beyond sustainable clothing to help you find a more conscious lifestyle in general.


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