2008 November 27

The bottom is falling out of markets for everything from mortgages to mohair scarves – even cheap and cheerful Woolworths is not immune.

What effect will the new thrifty behaviour of consumers have on our clothing?

School uniforms are suddenly popular with parents who can see ways to save money by ensuring their kids wear the agreed clothing which is usually a lot cheaper than fashion wear. Uniforms have seen a boost too, as staff benefit from not having to wear their own clothes to the office, but what about those who do have to dress for work or college from their own budgets and want to impress without breaking the bank?

  • Organic clothing matters – ethical wear is going to be increasingly important as people want to be sure that what they buy with their hard-earned cash, isn’t causing misery elsewhere in the world.
  • Vintage returns – the hoodie your uncle Dave wore the year skateboards were invented, and your mum’s old ‘Material Girl’ T-shirt are suddenly back in fashion. Because vintage clothing has stood the test of time, it’s a good investment and rather than just being ‘old’ or ‘second-hand’ it has the cachet of being ‘previously loved’. Be careful though, just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s vintage – T-shirts from lousy television series in the 1980s still won’t get you anything but sneers and jeers.
  • Shopping with a list delivers the goods – just as we shouldn’t go food shopping without a list, we shouldn’t buy clothes without one either. List what you have, then list what you need and buy that, not anything else. Shops are designed to lure you into purchases you don’t really need, so buying online can save you a fortune.  If you have three pairs of blue jeans, perhaps you need a pair of black trousers? If you have four white polo-shirts, perhaps you need a black polo? The thing is, once you get into the shop, you’re seduced by what you already know you like and you leave with blue jeans and another white polo and whoops … money gone and still none of the clothes you need.
  • Classic crowns them all – or why black is always the new black.  The reason that classic colours and styles persist from year to year is their incredible ability to make most people look good most of the time. A black top, unless you have dandruff, is slimming and stylish – what’s not to like about that?

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