Winter Is Coming, and that means cold weather, and Christmas! This year, I'm hoping to give thoughtful, useful gifts that aren't a waste of money (and receive the same!), and have a bit of money left over to add to my winter wardrobe. It can feel like there is a lot of pressure to spend huge amounts of money at this time of year, which isn't good for our bank balances or the environment, if some of our purchases aren't even going to make it to New Years Eve. I've put together an outfit of pieces I didn't buy on the high street, to give you some ideas for better ways to spend your money this Christmas.
Headscarf: Craft Fair
This is actually a hand-me-down, originally bought by my Nan at a craft fair years ago, then given to my Mum, then to me! It is a beautiful silk chiffon scarf with hand-rolled edges, printed with fern leaves. Craft markets have thrown off their twee image and are now bustling with contemporary jewellers, print makers and other artisans selling beautiful and unique gifts, look out for one popping up in an empty shop, gallery space or even a pub near you this winter!
Scarf: Secret Santa
I received this lovely cosy scarf as a Secret Santa present several years ago; it turned out to be from someone I barely knew, who panic-bought it from Beyond Retro on the morning of the gift swap! Since everyone secretly dreads receiving something from the impersonal and usually useless 'gifts' section of a department store, why not try a vintage or charity shop for a Secret Santa present this year?
Blouse: Sample Sale
This blouse was from a sample sale for a high street shop that closed years ago, rather a shame, given that this lovely silk t-shirt has stood the test of time! If the price of ethical clothing is your main barrier to buying, it's worth watching out for sales. Most ethical and sustainable clothing boutiques produce multi-seasonal, capsule collections, so if you buy from their sale you won't be buying a badly-fitting or ill-conceived garment, it'll probably be something from a previous collection that is only available in limited sizes. A lot of these pieces are designed for layering, so you'll be able to wear your ethical bargain whatever the weather!
Skirt: Clothes Swap
If you've taken a look at your winter wardrobe and realised there are things that just aren't 'you' any more, why not try a clothes swap to get some new, more wearable pieces for your wardrobe? You can help ensure clothes swaps are useful events where everyone can find great clothes by bringing along good quality items that are only lightly worn (save your worn-out clothes for the textile recycling!).
Tights: Christmas Present
If you're trying to downsize, or just not start the New Year with so much "stuff", it can be hard to discourage well-meaning friends or relatives from buying loads of gifts without causing offence. Asking for ethical or sustainable alternatives to your wardrobe staples, which might cost more than your clothes budget would allow, works out well for everyone. Your kind pal gets the satisfaction of giving a gift you'll use, you get a lovely piece of clothing, and you both get to support a small business who is doing good in the world!
If you're searching for a 'statement piece' this season, it's always worth looking at vintage or secondhand (as well as small businesses or independent craftspeople, of course!) You can get something eye-catching and unique, and because it's a one-off with some history, it's more likely to become a loved and treasured part of your wardrobe.
I'll be featuring more seasonal ethical shopping ideas as part of Ethical Hour's #ShopEthicalInstead campaign, so check back each Friday for more info!