Ageless Style, Ethical Fashion, Most Recent, Outfit of the Day, Second-Hand Fashion, Slow Fashion

Slow Fashion: A Nuanced Approach to Wardrobe Building

Slow fashion has enduring quality.

Over time, slow fashion looks better. Over time, slow fashion and high quality deliver.  An example- an 11 year old dress.

slow fashion movement

My dress is not trendy. It is silk charmeuse that flows like silky water over my form. It is not the “one shoulder dress”  that is currently on trend and buzzing about on blogs everywhere.

This blue silk dress looks better up close.  This is a trait of high quality. A fast fashion dress looks better from a distance. Closer inspection is where the fast fashion trend falls apart. I am not saying that there is no place for fast fashion and that I do not wear ever wear it. I do. But I hope to emphasize the enduring quality of slow fashion over time.

  • With slow fashion, you will wear something that is distinctive, and not what everyone else is wearing.
  • Slow fashion helps with conserving our environment.
  • High quality, even couture that is second-hand, is not as expensive as you think. In fact over time, it is less expensive.


Now lets look at my accessories. Trendy handbags are fun. There are pitfalls with fast fashion bags however. Vegan bags, are made mostly of possibly toxic materials like polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane and other chemicals that emit toxins when they are tossed and burned. They also cause problems during manufacture, as do leather bags. The incineration of these produce dioxins, and these promote cancer. Plastic based synthetics do not break down or biodegrade. They leave a toxic footprint.

jeweled clutch

Above is a photo of a vintage wool bag that was made in France. The gilding is in perfect condition despite its age. The clasp is made of hand carved sodalite that looks like raw sapphire . I bought it at a nearby market that specializes in fine antiques. Many of these dealers are 1st Dibs sellers, but buying directly from them is much less expensive. I paid about $120.00 for this bag , about the price of a vegan backpack with studs that may be trending out as I write this. It even has a strap in the bag to allow for hand carrying.

The bracelet is precious metals and semi precious stones. It is about the cost of a brand name costume necklace. This bracelet, however bears no name. Jewelry made of amethyst, citrine, and white sapphires have intrinsic and enduring value.

Still loving my eternity ring and an edwardian pearl ring that hubby bought several years ago.

Edwardian pearl ring

Below a black and white shot of my outfit that, devoid of color, shows the details better. Yes, I flipped this!

black and white fashion photo

The jeweled neckline is on point despite this dress being old. A halter style in this blue silk dress is also timeless and flattering.

Another example of a slow fashion clothing item is this skirt bought second-hand. It is by Fendi.  I bought this pleated and fringed silk skirt with all tags on, and never worn. We know that pleated skirts and fringed clothing has been on trend for a few years now. This skirt is about 10 years old, and like most couture is ahead of trends.

My Fendi skirt, a timeless piece. was purchased for about the same price as a well known fashion mega chain , where a similar skirt would be made with far less detail and craftsmanship. From a fast fashion shop this would likely be made of synthetic materials

Ethical shopping tip: Buy from a store owned by an individual and not a corporation .

pleated designer skirt

I hope this does not come off as a” better than thou” message. I only offer it as an example of alternative ways to shop, that may not be obvious to everyone in this world where marketing is everywhere, playing on on desire to fit in. Slow fashion is a rewarding way to shop. Over time, the enduring quality of what you buy will ensure your happiness with a purchase. It feels lousy to buy something and then dislike it soon after, or to have it fall apart shortly after purchase.

I also realize that some bloggers depend on fast fashion brands to support themselves. I  certainly find no fault in that. It is okay to indulge in fast fashion, just remember that is it much like a iced donut, quick and gratifying , but ultimately empty calories. BUT WHAT IS LIFE WITHOUT DONUTS?




  • Look on Ebay, Poshmark, and Etsy for second-hand couture or  high quality designer clothing.
  • Use search words including the names of favorite designers, couture names, “Made in Italy”, and “Made in France”. One of a kind ” can also reap some fabulous items.
  • Look for good curated vintage sellers like Vintage by Suzanne.  See the pearl clutch I bought from Suzanne fabulous shop here .

Learn more about Vegan leather versus animal leather here.


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK AHEAD DEAR READERS! Let me know you thoughts about slow fashion. You know how!

the elle diaries

36 thoughts on “Slow Fashion: A Nuanced Approach to Wardrobe Building

  1. Oh, I so agree with all of this! This is how I shop (only I shop in person at brick-and-mortar stores), with quality in mind. I bought many superb quality pieces this past weekend (post up soon!) and nearly every one was a piece that will be treasured in my wardrobe (or the closet of the person I give it to!).

    You look gorgeous and timeless, Elle – this photo could be from any era, right back to the 20s. Thank you for this lovely outfit and lovely message about our consumption habits. It’s good to be mindful of our shopping.

    1. I also mostly shop in brick and mortar stores. But many people do not have a good selection of secondhand stores, so I included tips with that mind. I can’t wait to see your new post. You do an amazing job shopping and styling. Always an inspiration!
      ❤️ Elle

    2. Sheila, I know I am preaching to the choir when you read this. I love seeing your posts and all of the beautiful things that you find and style so beautifully !
      Sorry I am a bit behind with the blog and reading other blocks especially that I will catch up soon. ❤️ Elle

    1. Yes I agree that moderation and thoughtfulness are the keywords here. No one needs to be a purist. We all have our own ways of shopping and styling and each work for us as individuals !
      ❤️ Elle

  2. Great post, Elle, and I whole-heartedly agree about quality vs. fast fashion. I look at my husband’s dress clothes as a good example – they last and last, and don’t fit any whim of style. You look gorgeous here, as ever, and thanks for linking up. xo

    1. I know you do dear Patti! Yes men are lucky creatures when you think about it that way. Quality of life… it all boils down to quality doesn’t it ?
      ❤️ Elle

  3. You know how I feel about fast fashion and I’m not as diplomatic as you are here. It is destroying our home, earth. We only have one of those.

    Sustainable slow fashion is the best way to go and you always manage to make it look current and elegant.


    1. Yes I thoroughly agree. We have one home and we are responsible for keeping it healthy. That said I do understand bloggers who make a living this way. And I hope that blogs like ours will inspire people to think twice about buying fast fashion, To be a little bit more open-minded and thoughtful about what it is we consume.
      ❤️ Elle

  4. Your dress is lovely! 🙂

    I don’t have a lot of options around for vintage pieces, but I am conscious of my faast fashion habits . Watching The True Cost documentary really inspired me to change, as did when we changed my wardrobe room into a nursery and I realised how many unworn things I had in my wardrobe! I still buy fast fashion, but I buy less, I rewear more, and I donate those pieces that are no longer right for me. Everyone can do something small to help in that way!

    Hope you had a lovely weekend! We took the boys to an indoor play centre to get out of the humid weather and they loved it 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

    1. Mica, That is perfectly stated in a very good example of how we can modify our shopping habits to be responsible and better for the earth. You do we wear your clothing more than most people I know and that is very admirable. Plus it is good to give things away when you realize they are no longer fitting for you.
      I am so glad that you have a wonderful day with your boys !
      ❤️ Elle

  5. I love you timeless elegance and that bag is truly precious / gorgeous. You’ve given me much to think about with synthetic or possibly toxic products we carry around or wear! I’m going to follow your tip to Etsy and posh mark and do a lot more of secondhand shopping. Thank you for your wisdom and always incredible style
    Cheers Elle

  6. Great article touching on many of the important points at the same time. Your voice is appreciated !

  7. Dear Elle, sorry I was a bit absent, I had a 2-week break 🙂 I loved your pictures ad you always look fabulous and I liked your attitude of supporting small places – I like this and try my best to do so, too. Slow fashion is great, cause it focus on quality and your dress is amazing – so is the French clutch and the bracelet! Hope you have a lovely week and month! Hugs!

  8. Although I am a buyer of fast fashion, I do see the different in quality and how it looks on a person. I am going to thrift shop in the UK again in May and see if I like it.

  9. Such wise words Elle and yeah…you made me feel a bit guilty by regularly shopping at a large confection store, because they offer clothes that are stylish and fit me! Nevertheless, I am aware that buying fast fashion comes at a cost, be it our environment or the people involved in the process of manufacturing what I am wearing. It’s good of you to point this out and also very elegant the way you emphasise that you understand the flip side of the coin too. Great the way you walk your talk and in such a stylish way too. I totally love your dress. Love, Lieske

    1. Oh the very last thing I want is for any reader to feel guilty. Lieske, I know you are a conscientious person and I’m sure that you’re buying habits are well thought out. If you have a convenient place for clothes fit you and your time is valuable, than your strategy makes sense. I was only trying to encourage people to think a little bit out of the box. I know you are thoughtful and that my words are unnecessary here. But I certainly appreciate your lovely and kind words as always !

  10. What a lovely post! I think we should definitely be conscious of what we buy for fashion—just as in our food options. Everything does have a cause and effect. I try to shop secondhand/charity shops and vintage when I can but mostly slow fashion these days. I really adore your beautiful dress! xo Madison

    1. Madison, thank you for tying this into the food trend as they’re both related in similar way. I applaud your effort‘s to shop second hand and I know you are responsible and thoughtful person!!! Inspiring, also!
      ❤️ Elle

  11. I so agree with you! Fashion comes and goes, style is forever. Though one of Russian most celebrated experts on history of art and fashion, Alexandre Vassiliev ( states that it is an illusion that fashion changes, that in a big picture of things it doesn’t – we still wear shirts and pants, dresses etc. I think it is especially true about men’s fashion – when it radically changed last time? Centuries ago! Trends change, certain styles become fashionable or fall out of favor, but its’ not all meaning of fashion. And I love your point about designers being ahead of time! True artistic visionaries definitely are ahead of times.

    You look stunning in this blue dress with your beautiful accessories! Love this purse! <3

    1. What a wonderful quote and of course it comes from you and your generous and thoughtful self. It is quite true when you look at fashion in the larger sense. Is much like thinking about how we live, when we say that we live so much differently than before. But when you look at it, we live in pretty much the same way.: We inhabit boxes, we spend most of our daytime hours caring for the people that we love. … the essential facts have not changed. But we assign all sorts of meetings to every nuance.
      Artistic visionaries improve our lives in fashion, innovation, technology and art .
      Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply my dear friend ,
      ❤️ Elle

  12. I enjoyed reading this post Elle and totally agree.
    In fact with the years I find myself going more and more to consignment shops and opting for second hand goods. I now have marvellous lined blazers made my Etro, Oscar de La Renta, Valentino and even Peter Pilotto ! The fit, the manufacture can be seen and felt.
    By the way, since you are familiar with vintage, maybe you can help me figure out who the maker of this belt is ..
    Thanks 😉

    1. I am glad you agree and I’m not surprised by that. How wonderful to discover such amazing designer items when you shop secondhand. The quality is superior and it feels great to have something that could last forever and maybe even beyond your generation.
      And those four designers he just mentioned; they are my absolute favorite!
      ❤️ Elle

  13. I absolutely love the silk dress, it is a timeless piece, just like that Fendi skirt and the edwardian jewelry. That being said I have to admit that y favourite piece in this post is that wonderful, elegant, cute and precious purse, I love the fact that is made of a completely recyclable fabric. I also like slow hashion although is sometimes I indulge in some good fast fashion because in time they could become slow fashion and just as you said a donut every once in a while is great 😉
    Wish you a fantastic weekend.

  14. Timeless, this whole outfit is timeless, and I never thought about vegan bags being “bad.” I hear the word and I think, oooh, that’s so right. So your offering of this fabric vintage bag is perfect. I won’t forget these words.

    I am a thrifter all the way, loving vintage the most, but good pieces are getting harder to find in my local shops as more fast fashion comes in and more vintage resellers replenish their stocks. And shipping costs in Canada are a horror, so online shopping is not much of an option for me. Sigh. Just as well, my closet is bursting. Also, I still do get seduced once in a long while by retailers of new clothes.

    Gorgeous, gorgeous. I love your photos. You are so right about the close-up differences in quality. You don’t sound preachy.

    1. We all fall into the hands of commercialism at some point. That’s completely OK. I know how you shop and I know how conscientious you are, with well, everything. As for bursting closets, I can relate to those as well. My rule is if I buy something I have to give something else away.

      Now… I have a really good way for you to increase the amount of secondhand stores around you. Do you want to know it?

      Come to New York!! ❤️❤️❤️

Your comments make my day !