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Recent studies have showed that Covid has changed our shopping habits for the long run, more specifically, shifting our spending online and towards slow fashion brands. Having polled people before on how much they spend monthly on clothes based on their salary, I thought I’d ask around to see how much money they’ve spent during the lockdown, on what, and whether they’ll go back to our old habits.
The results speak for themselves…
Sally, events and fundraiser for a private equity firm
What: At the begging of lockdown I was buying more clothes, via ASOS and Mint Velvet, but about three weeks in I stopped. Lockdown made us realise that we wanted to buy a house out of London, so now the pennies are being saved for that. That being said I have spent more during lockdown on beauty products (skin etc) than clothes. I also became paranoid about Covid and it being on the clothes.
What: I definitely changed my habits – I’m an emotional spender and shop when I’m unhappy or fed up and there’s been a lot of that in the last few years. Having some time to go through all the stuff I’ve accumulated is quite shocking, especially when I wear about 5% of it. Lockdown has made me slow down and simplify and changing my job was designed to give me a work/life balance and reclaim some personal fulfilment.
So now I walk the dog, leave work on time and spend my free time drawing and painting to build my art business on the side which makes me really happy and I don’t need to shop. Now I’m thinking about what I buy and trying to put together a coherent wardrobe with fewer pieces. So I’d rather buy fewer and buy well rather than being a magpie and just scooping up everything I take a fancy to! I did spend more time on IG at the start which made me go a bit crazy buying stuff.
Preeti, qualitative director at a brand consultancy (on maternity leave)
Spend: Between £1.5-3.5k
What: I’m not on maternity leave right now (second child, eager to go back, he’s also now 9 months). I’ve spent a lot on clothing! Mainly aspirational summer clothing – lockdown combined with a struggle to accept my postpartum body has led to many, many purchases! All online. I’ll probably relax a little more now – with gyms open, I’ve started focusing more on exercise and trying to get back to a weight I feel more comfortable in rather than trying to overhaul my wardrobe.
Alessia, picture editor
What: I never really bought online before but now I got so used to it and I found a few brands that really fit me/my style so I think I’ll stick to online shopping for a while! The only shops I would visit are second hand/charity shops.
Elsa, PR and events
What: Is it bad that I haven’t bought anything and have been finding old treasures that I had packed away? Especially as I work in retail too. I did have a baby recently so have been buying some bits for her. I would have bought a couple of outfits and accessories for weddings and special occasions but they have all been postponed. When you look at how much you wear some of your clothes. it seems a bit wasteful given the current climate and what might get worse in the future.
Abbi, freelance stylist
Spend: £500 (compared to £400 pre-lockdown)
Before lockdown, I preferred shopping in bricks & mortar stores and would generally buy from high street brands – & other stories, Zara and Mango were some of my favourites. I would splurge on designer bags and shoes, and an occasional higher priced purchase from contemporary brands like The Frankie Store. But, I liked to have a lot of variety in my wardrobe, so buying high street made more sense. I was trying to be more conscious of my shopping habits, but when I was out and about, it was all too easy to nip into a store and pick up a few new pieces.
Through the initial phases of lockdown, I didn’t shop at all – despite all the online sales, the feeling of needing more and better loungewear, the changing of seasons – I didn’t feel the desire to shop as I had before. Now that things have started to return to normal, I’ve started purchasing again, but more often than not, it’s from contemporary brands stocked on Net-A-Porter or Matches. So, besides now being more of an online shopper, I’m focussing on quality over quantity – something I’ve promised myself I’d do for ages but never committed to. Whilst I haven’t 100% kicked my high street habit, anything I do buy from these stores is a lot more considered.
Beth, PR executive
What: Clothes such as leggings, pyjamas, shoes and homeware. It won’t change the way I shop going forward as I’ve always been shopping mostly online but during lockdown I’ve invested much more in pyjamas.
Olivia, Global Press Officer
What: I bought some new trainers and some comfortable sandals for all of the extra walking I was doing during lockdown. I also ordered some shorts, I would never be brave enough to wear shorts in the office but they were great for working from home when it started to heat up. I also ordered a nice dress and blouse to wear post lockdown and a pair or boots which were on sale which I thought would be great for winter. I am usually a big charity shopper but I think I will definitely do more online shopping from now on. I am usually put off online shopping as I am never usually at home for deliveries but this is much easier now I am working from home more.
Shana, fashion designer
What: We couldn’t go anywhere so I felt no need to have to buy any clothing! I just recycled whatever was in my wardrobe but began to invest slightly more on hygge e.g. bed linen, candles, hair products, books etc.
Tasneem, account manager
What: I used to be a buy clothes without thinking whether on a lunch break or going into Zara and buying many items. Since lockdown I noticed my habits changing. I spent more on furniture actually! My not so lived in flat was transformed into a cosy space. I no longer bought work clothes and I started to become more conscious about sustainability and the impact of fast fashion. I also started to buy more from small businesses and black owned businesses such as We Are Kin.
What: During peak lockdown (March-April), my priority was comfy work from home clothes. I spent £30 on cycle short multi-packs from Boohoo – I couldn’t justify spending a ton of money on clothes nobody will ever see me in. I also bought a £60 Eliou necklace which says ‘wash your hands’ on it, because it made me laugh and I needed some joy.
I spent £78 in May on linen trousers and a linen short suit in the M&S sale because I naively believed we’d be going back to the office soon. I was wrong. In June, I spent £18 on EGO slides because I wanted something I could slap on for an exciting Tesco shop. When the summer sales started kicking in, I saw that a Desigual x Miranda Makaroff jacket covered in naked ladies had been discounted (£128). I ummed and ahhed about buying it, but decided it was okay after calculating how much money I’d saved by not buying a coffee everyday.
At the start of July, word got around the office Slack thread that Rixo was having a sale. My dream dress – which I’ve had on my Pinterest board for months – was discounted. After pacing the house and calling my mum and friends for moral support, I pulled the trigger by justifying it as a birthday present to myself (£180).
Ellis, jewellery designer
Spend: £200 – £300 pcm
What: Clothing, shoes, furniture and plants as I didn’t have the commute, lunch or dinners/events out costs. I also changed shopping in supermarkets to independent grocers and food suppliers. So my spending hasn’t changed, in terms of amount, I just began spending it different places. I buy one or two expensive pieces, and no fast fashion, as I’d rather support independent brands (for example, Calla Paris and Avy & Co) and the quality is much higher. Plus if I’m spending more, I think about the purchase more. I definitely had more time to browse during lockdown, and purchased more plants to make our house more green! Now we are coming out of lockdown I still plan on shopping from the places I discovered during lockdown, as I’ve discovered some great brands and local veg and meat suppliers too.
Lottie, Fashion Design Consultant
What: At the start of lockdown I reflected a lot of spending habits and the desire to support smaller businesses. I also work in the fashion industry and have felt increasingly uncomfortable with the throw-away industry it has become. It also made me realise that the bigger companies could still operate and dominate and the smaller ones had to do more to continue their trade. I admired this greatly and diverted my attention to ONLY buying vintage and or independent.
It had been a long time coming but lockdown taught me how important it is to research who made my clothes, were they paid fairly and did anyone get ripped off in doing so. Too often I see styles that have been lifted from small designers. I have bought from brands such as @jerome_vintage, @chichirara_vintageshop and @selfishmaids.
Nadine, fashion journalist and PR
What: Quarantine messed with my shopping patterns in a truly strange way. I normally don’t buy much and try to keep the ‘1 in 1 out’ rule, it can take weeks and months for me to go from wanting an item to actually purchasing it as I have to be 100% sure it fits in my wardrobe perfectly. This approach remained intact, but somehow I ended up buying more things for these past almost 6 months than in the entire 2018 and 2019 combined. High-end brands’ vintage and young brands I love were my picks as I wanted to support them these days even more, and in terms of categories – not only the #wfh essentials as cashmere in spring and silk slip dresses, linen suits and fancy pyjamas with feathers more into the summer – but also some dressier items and even gorgeous pumps.
I’ve no idea when I get to wear them, but they certainly give me hope – that the day will come when I will go back to the social events and parties, feel like dressing up again and – more importantly – completely safe in a crowded room filled with people not wearing masks.