Life & Style

Fashion, Life & Style

How To Stop Impulse Shopping

stop impulse shopping fast fashion

Looking to stop impulse shopping? Try asking yourself these five questions before buying any new items of clothing to see if you can break the circuit.

No matter how much of a hardened ethical shopper we are, very few of us are immune to the pangs of impulse shopping. It could be seeing an item of clothing on our favourite Instagrammer that we didn’t know we needed. It could be seeing a friend in a beautiful new top that we just have to have. Or it could just be something in a shop that screams ‘buy me’. We’ve all been there.

It can certainly feel like it’s impossible to stop buying stuff you don’t need. However, I have got five simple questions that you can ask yourself to stop shopping for impulse purchases.

The Questions to Ask Yourself To Help You Stop Impulse Shopping

how to stop impulse shopping

In order to shop as ethically as possible, I’ve put together five simple questions to ask myself before purchasing each item to help me make the best choices.

Do I really need the item – is it an impulse buy or is it absolutely necessary?

I find that with impulse buys I tend to wear them much less compared to purchases I’ve carefully considered and that I know have a need for in my wardrobe. Items that I need won’t be discarded after a few wears, or worse, sit in my wardrobe with the tags still on. Apparently, the average person has £200 worth of clothing in their wardrobe that is unworn. Don’t be a statistic.

Sales can cloud our judgement when shopping. One of my top tips to stop impulse shopping is if you see a £20 top that was £40, that won’t go with many pieces of your existing wardrobe then don’t tell yourself that you’ve saving £20 by buying it. You’d actually be spending £20 on something you didn’t need.

Will I wear this item for years to come, or wear it only a few times or for one special occasion?

I try to buy items I’ll wear for a long time rather than a few months.  For special occasions (items I may only wear a couple of times a year) I tend to buy clothes secondhand. Renting your clothes is also an eco-friendly option, and allows you to sustainably scratch that impulse shopping itch!

Does the item look well made? Or does it look like it might fall to bits after a few wears and washes?

The rise of super-cheap clothing makes it really hard to stop impulse shopping. This is because many of us don’t need to consider the impact on our finances of shopping for cheap clothes. However, a cheap £7 top that loses its shape and colour after a few washes and needs replacing often will actually end up costing more than a better-made top that you have saved up for. Here’s why cost per wear is important when ethical shopping.

Does the cost of the item reflect the cost of the materials and labour necessary to make the item?

Although expensive doesn’t go hand in hand with being ethically made, there are some things to look out for.  For example, a hand-beaded top for £8 may look like a bargain that’s hard to pass up. However, a person being paid a fair and living wage would need to be paid more than £8 to hand bead the top. This is before you’ve even taken into account the cost of the materials and production of the top. Understanding a garment’s true value can help us stop our fast fashion appetite and help stop our impulse shopping habits.

How am I feeling today?

There can be a whole host of emotional triggers for impulse shopping. It could be sadness. Perhaps you’ve had a bad day and want to treat yourself. It could be in response to a good day. Perhaps you’ve wanted to treat yourself for something going well. Spending could be in response to boredom. Checking in and asking yourself how are you feeling is the first step in understanding how our emotions affect our shopping habits. Once we understand the drivers behind impulse buys, this is key to helping us stop shopping.

I’ve been asking myself these questions before every purchase. I make sure I’m being completely honest with myself, as it can be easy to justify an impulse buy. I also have a handy demotivational tool to help you stop impulse shopping.

The high street isn’t the most ethical place, so these questions won’t transform the high street’s ethical practices. However, they do help me to be a more considered shopper.  They’ve helped to change my spending and shopping habits and encouraged me to stop impulse shopping, as well as steering me away from fast fashion. Try them out – they might work for you too.

Fashion, Life & Style

Ethical Men’s Workwear


I regularly get emails from Moral Fibres readers asking me about ethical men’s workwear. And I hear you. When you look at my guide to ethical clothing brands for men, the vast majority of brands focus on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and other casual attire.

As always, the men’s ethical clothing market is smaller than the ladies market, so it has been a bit tricky hunting things down, but hopefully I’ve come up with some of the best pieces available:

Ethical Men’s Workwear

mens ethical clothing

1.  This grey People Tree blazer (£135) is smart and ethically made.  There are no matching trousers available, which is a bit of a pain, but fine if you’re just looking for a smart jacket.  It’s important to note that the buttons are made from cow’s horn so it’s not vegan friendly, which can be an issue for some. 2021 edit: People Tree has stopped making men’s ethical clothing, and I haven’t been able to track down anything similar. I think your best bet is secondhand.

2.  Again, from People Tree, these black Ewan trousers (£80) are the smartest ethical trousers I’ve found.  There’s no matching jacket to match it though, but if you’re just looking for a pair of black trousers for the office then these are the ones.  If you sign up for the People Tree newsletter you get 10% off your first order (a healthy £8 on these trousers), and you also get free delivery on them too. 2021 edit: I would instead try Thought Clothing* for men’s ethical trouses.

3.  I tried to find some men’s ethical bags for this post, but I drew a complete blank.  Instead here’s a super sustainable cork laptop case* (£30) from Etsy, for carrying your laptop safely.  Here’s a post I wrote on why cork is so sustainable in case you missed it.

4.  Arthur & Henry make some of the only ethical shirts on the market, and they look smart to boot.  This herringbone shirt is £75 but will always be in style.

5.  These vegan shoes from No Harm (£199.99) are very expensive but the best looking ethical shoes I found.  I found some other ethical shoes from another company which were £80 (which I’d still class as expensive) that looked like £7 ones, and not in a good way.  A cheaper alternative would be to buy secondhand shoes on eBay, if you don’t mind the idea of wearing secondhand shoes that is.

men's smart ethical clothing

1.  This People Tree navy blazer (£135) featured in the main image is the same as the grey one, above, just in a different colourway.  No matching trousers for these ones either am afraid, and still the horn buttons, but a smart jacket for the office if you’re not a vegan.

2.  These Komodo* chinos (£48.15, reduced from £75) would be smart enough for the office, but comfortable enough to wear at weekends and off days too.

3.  Some Elvis & Kresse* cufflinks (£36) made from decommissioned UK fire hoses add a quirky element to your office attire.  Also available in black, blue and yellow.

4.  Likewise, this Elvis & Kresse* cardholder (£40) is a fun way to carry your travelcard or bank cards.

5.  I’ve featured this Komodo* jumper (£65) before, in my autumnal men’s ethical clothing post, but it’s again one of those timeless pieces that can be worn at work or for leisure.

6.  Another Arthur & Henry shirt (£79).  There are more colours available than blue, including yellows and pinks, but I have to say I am a fan of the classic blue shirt.

What About Ethical Suits?

As far as ethical suits, despite extensive searching, I haven’t been able to find any ethical men’s suits in the UK.  There are some available in the States for several thousand dollars. That’s before you even pay postage and import duty.

If you’re spending a lot of money on a suit should then I think it should be an investment piece tailored to fit.  Therefore I think the best option might be to find a good local tailor/suit maker and get one made to measure using ethical fabrics.  Harris Tweed is handmade in Scotland and would make a great suit fabric. Meanwhile, the Organic Textile Company sells certified fairtrade fabric by the metre.  Your tailor will be able to advise which fabrics they recommend for your budget.  Otherwise, eBay* or charity shops* are good places to look if you want a more budget-friendly off the peg suit.

Similarly, ties.  I could not find any ethical ties anywhere.  I found plenty handmade ones, but no-one of them appeared to be made with ethically sourced fabrics.  Your best bet is again eBay or charity shops for cheap ethical ties.

If you have come across any men’s ethical suits, ties or bags then do let me in the comments below and I’ll add them to this post!