I Just Bought Some Expensive Leggings and Here’s Why

I just spent £25 on a pair of leggings.

I could have spent more if I was label or fashion conscious, but already this is more than I have ever spent on a single pair of leggings!


Finding Your Style

I live in leggings. They are a staple of my wardrobe. Cheap and versatile, they pair well with colourful tunics, billowy tops and shift dresses, which I also love.

Dressing yourself is so much easier when you find your style, when you know what shapes and cuts flatter your body shape.

Having a styling session with my friend Gosia a few years back blew my mind. I now shop knowing what will and won’t suit me and that is life changing.

As a curvy girl, it means I no longer buy lots of cheap clothes on the chance they will fit me and suit me, then settle for stuff that is ‘OK’ and maybe only wear it a few times before donating it to a charity shop.

I’m far less wasteful when it comes to clothes than I used to be. Because knowing my style means I can keep my wardrobe paired down to a few essential items that I wear over and over again.

And there’s the rub (pardon the pun). Long lasting clothes are rarely ‘cheap’ and clothes that are cheap are generally unsustainable. For all the same reasons, and more, that cheap food is unsustainable.


Fast Fashion Is Costing The Earth

Our addiction to fast fashion is costing the Earth. In the UK we are buying more fast fashion than ever before, with online sales increasing significantly during COVID. At every stage, each garment has a significant impact on the environment, especially when they are mass produced in poorer countries then shipped around the world on cargo containers. A single container ship produces as much pollutants as 50 million cars in one year. From the production of raw materials that use massive amounts of water and chemicals, to the inhuman working conditions, the whole fast fashion industry is pretty toxic.

The abuse of human rights in the fashion industry is not isolated to ‘other countries’ or ‘poor countries’, it happens here in the UK too. Recent reports of modern slavery in factories in Leicester supplying online retailer BooHoo hit home. A retailer to avoid, Boohoo Group Ltd has a market value of £4.6 billion, yet the brand is lagging behind in terms of workers’ rights.


“We buy more clothes per person in the UK than any country in Europe. Around 300,000 tonnes of used clothes are burned or buried in landfill each year.

Even worse – loads of this incinerated clothing has never even been sold or worn. It’s retailers or manufacturers disposing of unsold stock in the most ‘cost-effective’ way possible.

Polyester clothing is pumped out, sold and quickly binned, much like single-use plastics. It takes 200 years to decompose.”

(Source article: Greenpeace)

Fast fashion is designed to be disposable so we keep spending our money. Following the next trend or ‘getting the look’ of the season – which, by the way, can be 6 or 7 ‘seasons’ in a fashion retailers’ year, so they are constantly rotating, and therefore wasting, stock.

Fast fashion is costing the earth

I’m Still Guilty

That said, I still get sucked in by sales. A piece of clothing would need to be pretty gorgeous and special and I would need to wear it a lot if I spent more than £50 on it. We’ve been so used to not paying much for clothes for so long that I clearly have a long way to go when it comes to sustainable clothes shopping. When you consider the work, raw materials and fuel, and how many pairs of hands a garment goes through before it is sold – £50 is probably too cheap!

I’m thinking of this purchase as the first step on the way to changing how I think about clothes (as well as food).

You can’t do all the ‘right things’ at once. It takes time, it takes mindset shifts, it takes the developing of new habits.

Baby steps.


My Changing Leggings Habit

I wear leggings until they literally fall apart. I see it as a personal challenge to eek every last bit of wear from them, because I’m just bloody minded like that!

After a few washes they start getting thinner as the microplastics they are made of leach out of them and get washed down the drain. The seams start to split, especially in high wear areas like between my thighs. After a couple months they are usually see-through with gaping holes in the gusset. At which point they are consigned to the gardening and DIY bag, replacing the last pair that ended up in there. They are usually so soiled with paint and dirt etc. they end up in the bin, AKA landfill.

What I had been doing was buying another cheap pair… and the cycle continues.

I usually buy my cheap leggings from a supermarket – George at Asda or Tu at Sainsbury’s.


Ethical Choices

I have pledged to go a year without shopping in a supermarket, and I’m doing so for sustainability reasons. Simply buying cheap leggings from another High Street retailer instead would be pretty trite.

This is another opportunity for me to make a more ethical choice. But also to think long term and save money.

I would typically have bought a pack of 2 leggings from Sainsbury’s for £10, so, my single pair of £25 leggings are the equivalent to 5 pairs of cheap ones. Each pair would last me approximately the equivalent of 3 months of daily use. Therefore, my £25 pair will need to last 15 months.

The £25 pair are made from organic bamboo and organic cotton, therefore they are far more sustainable – and plastic free – than the Tu equivalent. I also actively sought out a business with a commitment to sustainability. I bought them from Thought*.

Thought ethical clothing commitments
Read their commitments here.
*By the way, this is not a paid post, nor do I have any affiliate links with Thought.

My hope is that by purchasing an item made from strong, natural materials, it will last. If my ethical leggings are still going strong this time next year, I’ll be more than happy.

Thought will also recycle old clothes. And, I can confirm the delivery was plastic free. Even down to not having those horrible plastic little tie things on the label inside the clothes.


thought leaflet
This leaflet was inside my package…


An Ethical Journey

Shopping, and living, ethically and sustainably is a journey.

It’s not about a few of us doing things perfectly, it’s about all of us doing something.

If we each chose to make lots of small changes, consciously, it would make a real difference.


Just One Thing

It can feel overwhelming when there are so many things wrong with modern society. There are so many things we ‘should’ be doing to protect the environment. Lots of small things to make every day life on this planet suck just a little less for its inhabitants. We can all make better choices.

Just start with ONE change. It could be:

  • Eating less meat
  • Going full vegan
  • Going Zero waste
  • Rejecting single use plastic
  • Changing your energy supplier
  • Driving a more fuel efficient car, or an electric car, or giving up a car altogether
  • No longer flying
  • Taking the bus, or train, or walking, or cycling for short journeys
  • Ending your addiction to fast fashion…


What small changes will you make?



3 Replies to “I Just Bought Some Expensive Leggings and Here’s Why”

  1. My pledge at the start of the year was not to ‘buy’ any plastic bags (or indeed take any free ones) when shopping. So far so good, I have to plan a bit more and buy less on impulse but that’s definitely not a bad thing! I also look slightly strange leaving the supermarket with a pile of things in my arms and stuffed in pockets but hopefully that just makes other people think a bit more too!

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