Similar sweater dress (same brand) // Booties

Buying clothes, accessories, makeup, really anything brings out the consumer reporter in me. Anyone else? Before I go to make a purchase, I research the hell out of my options. Time efficient? No, but making choices that suit my lifestyle is important to me.

For example, say you need a new pair of rain boots and the options seem to be endless. Do you buy the pair that is in your budget, but aren’t vegan? Or do you choose a pair that are cheap but are not vegan? As you have probably experienced regardless of your lifestyle, these decisions can be tough.

There is rarely a perfect option, regardless of what you’re shopping for. But you can make the best decisions for your budget, code of ethics, and urgency. There are no right and wrong answers, but limiting negative impacts with decisions means we’re doing our best, right?

Here are the questions that I ask myself when making a purchase (I even did this with my CAR):

Is it a need or a want?

My list of ‘wants’ is a mile long…I am one who cannot get into the capsule wardrobe thing as hard as I try. Call me a big old consumer, because it’s true. Here’s the thing though, I always make a second list of ‘needs’ from that ‘want’ list so that they get priority over everything else. This saves time and a lot of money.

Is it cruelty free?

Purchasing cruelty free clothes, makeup, shoes, and even my car is a non-negotiable for me. If you purchase cruelty free goods, you probably feel the same way: lusting after designer pieces (or non-designer) only to find out that they’re made from leather. This is always such a huge bummer for me. I am probably throwing myself to the wolves now, but I do not live a full vegan lifestyle…I eat a lot of fish for protein. But that’s a different story for a different day. Personally, I just can’t get down with animal testing or buying products made from animal skin or fur. Plus there are always alternatives out there that are just as fabulous.

“If you want to find brands that are truly cruelty-free, you’re going to have to be critical. Never blindly trust a label and never settle for an incomplete cruelty-free claim. If it sounds fishy, it probably is. There are a ton of false “cruelty-free” claims being thrown around. In other words, there’s a lot of bullshit out there, so keep your guard up!” – Cruelty Free Kitty

The best way to find out if something is cruelty free and/or vegan (yes, there is a difference), google it. I’m always standing in Sephora googling something like “Is NARS cruelty free?”…and for the record, NARS is NOT a cruelty free company anymore.

Is It Affordable?

The cost of items is lowest on my list of priorities because I will wait for an alternative, for an item to go on sale, or I’ll use Honey for promo codes. After I’ve found some different options for an item on my list, I compare them to see what I like the look of best and what item seems to be made from an ethical company (this could be a main question to ask on your list).

I hope you’ll give this list making strategy a try when making purchases – it makes things so much easier once you can cut out the clutter or what you DON’T want. I recommend making a list of your own principles and things to consider. I promise you’ll feel more confident, chic, and badass while rocking items (or driving a car!) that you can stand behind!