5 Budget-Friendly Ideas for A More Ethical Lingerie Drawer

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When it comes to making lingerie choices you’ll feel good about, I’m here to be your bra-shopping fairy godmother. It’s a misconception that shopping ethically has to be expensive. In fact, it can save you a lot of money!

Here are five tips you can resolve to using in 2015 to buy underwear that’s good for you, your wallet, and the world. (And no, “shop the clearance rack” is not your only option!)



Karolina Laskowska

Karolina Laskowska

Re-evaluate your lingerie budget.

Our culture tells us that it’s a better deal to buy many cheap things rather than one expensive thing, but in most cases–especially when shopping ethically–this is simply false. This resolution doesn’t mean you have to drop hundreds of dollars on handmade lingerie; it means re-evaluating how you spend your money. If you’re used to spending $40 on a bra every month, save that amount for a couple months and buy one bra that you love that will last longer in the end.

Depending on your new budget, you can choose to shop from an ethically-produced line, or simply choose to buy fewer pieces of a higher-end line that will last longer and eventually take up less room in a landfill.

I’m always confused when someone loves something so much, but doesn’t buy it because it’s too expensive…and then drops the same amount of cash on more items they love less, and end up wearing less! The key is to spend more money on fewer items that you will wear more often, and for a longer time. Plus, if you only buy things you love, you’ll be more likely to take on our next resolution…

Ohhh Lulu

Ohhh Lulu

Repair your lingerie instead of replacing it.

This is probably the easiest, smartest, cheapest thing you can do to become a more ethical lingerie addict. When you throw out something with a popped seam, a loose underwire, or a missing hook, it’s gets dumped in a landfill (including most donated clothing!), and you’ll have to spend more money on a replacement. Plus, it’s a bummer to throw away that pretty bra you love so much!

By learning a few very easy mending techniques, you can make your lingerie wardrobe last so much longer. My grandmother used to darn the runs in her nylons, and while I don’t know anyone nowadays who knows how to darn (especially on nylon stockings – I’m convinced she was some kind of DIY superheroine), all of us can take a page from her book and try to repair our lingerie before throwing it out.

Use Fray Check to stop a run in your tights, and take a needle and thread to them if they’re thick enough. Take better care of your lingerie, and you’ll throw away less and get more out of your purchase.

Ewa Michalak

Ewa Michalak

If it doesn’t really, truly fit, don’t buy it.

I have totally been guilty of this in the past! I bought this gorgeous rose-embellished demi-cup bra that is a true 34D–and I typically wear a 34F. I tell myself it sort-of-almost fits sometimes. But it really doesn’t, and I never, ever wear it, not even just for fun – despite it being completely my style. So it sits in the back of my bra drawer, looking pretty and taking up space.

If you previously bought a bra that you never wear, sell it, fix it, or give it away instead of throwing it out. There are many places to sell gently-used ones online, like Bratabase. Evija has some great tips in her post on fixing lingerie that just isn’t right. If it’s beyond fixing, there are many charities that specifically take donations of old bras.

Sales Clerk Presenting Lingerie

Stop impulsively buying sale lingerie, just because it’s cheap.

It’s hard to resist a good sale, but unless it’s something you’ve had your eye on for a while, or exactly the color and shape that you’ve been looking for this year, don’t do it! If you’ve ever worked in retail, you know that shoppers love to buy things on sale, just for the sake of getting a good deal on something, anything! 85% of all clothing sold each year ends up in a landfill, and avoiding impulsive sale purchases will help lower that number.

Angela Friedman

Angela Friedman

Don’t assume indie labels are out of your price range.

Many indie and handmade lingerie labels truly aren’t that much more expensive than many mainstream labels. Plus, indie and handmade labels often have to undervalue themselves to stay competitive in the lingerie market.

A bra from an indie label you love that costs $30 more than a mass-produced piece could be double the quality, last twice as long, and not just get shoved to the back of your lingerie drawer. It’s much easier to track the manufacturing chain behind smaller labels as well, so you’re more likely to know if your lingerie is made by people who are treated fairly.

Which of these resolutions will you resolve to in 2015? What are your favorite budget-friendly tips for ethical lingerie shopping?

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Quinne
Quinne Myers

Quinne Myers is based in Brooklyn, NY where she runs the ethically-made loungewear line, she and reverie. She is also a textile designer, a watercolor illustrator, a writer, and a consultant for the lingerie industry.

3 Comments on this post

  1. […] the Lingerie Addict (fucking love them): some budget-friendly ways to make your lingerie collection more […]

  2. Amaryllis says:

    I was given some vintage silk stocking darning needles (in the original packet, the bliss!) for xmas… they’re fine, but not as fine as I thought they would be, and the tip seems to be more rounded than super sharp. Designed for sliding though between the threads rather than passing through and breaking them, I suspect.

    • Quinne Quinne says:

      Ahh, what a cool gift! You’re right, that’s exactly what they’re designed to do. Even modern sewing machine needles for silk have ball points so the threads aren’t broken.

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