Magpie Anthology

Buy Once, Buy Well

Autumn is most definitely upon us, and with the change of season comes a change in clothing.

Whilst this could just mean putting on extra layers as the days turn chillier, fashion editors and Instagram influencers would have us believe we can’t get through the next month without updating our wardrobes with a splash of animal-print, a faux fur coat, pleated midi-skirt and over-the-knee boots. Consequently, High Street shops are awash with affordable versions of catwalk inspiration, largely made from cheap, synthetic materials with little regard for their longevity. Why should the designers and manufacturers worry about these clothes lasting? Next autumn, or even next month, demand will be for something different.

Our short-term vision for material things extends to almost every area of our lives: from updating our phones as soon as a new model is launched, to electrical goods made with built-in obsolescence. Tackling our current throwaway culture, former yachtswoman, Ellen Macarthur, champions the concept of a ‘circular economy’, whereby we keep resources in use as long as possible, extracting the maximum value out of our possessions – channelling older generations’ Make Do & Mend attitude.

As well as rediscovering the lost art of caring for things, this also means shopping more selectively, buying pieces that will stand the test of time. Web-stores like Objects of Use and Buy Me Once curate robust, timeless products designed to last a lifetime, from Nudie jeans (which come with a free repair service) to traditional Peugeot pepper mills. These items invariably cost more than you might pay on the high street, so it can mean buying less items, less often. But as Tara Button of Buy Me Once says, “If people did buy things that were built to last it would have such a positive impact – both economically and environmentally.”

By choosing high-quality items that are made to last, you’ll not only be saving the planet from a suffocating mountain of excess, you’ll also be saving yourself the grief of constantly replacing poorly made, disposable kit, from saucepans and bed linen to a winter coat or classic pair of shoes. For inspiration, take a leaf out of Livia Firth’s book – she proudly posts photos of herself on her Instagram account, wearing clothes she has owned for decades. It goes without saying that she never looks less than red carpet ready, which shows that you don’t always need a shopping spree or a movie star’s budget to dress to impress.

Words: Anna Pocock

Instagram: @pocketfullofshells

Picture: Objects of Use

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