The term ‘Hero’ is used to describe a cult product, something that has stood the test of time and has a loyal following. Within the beauty industry, ‘Hero’ products have proven timeless e.g. Estée Lauder Youth Dew, or are the bestseller for a category and ones that people keep coming back to time and again. Take MAC’s Red Rock lipstick which is a cult-red, loved by makeup artists, celebrities and shoppers alike – there’s a reason why so many people keep going back to it, its timeless and a colour that suits most people – it’s a statement that doesn’t go out of style.
Whilst these brands I’ve just name dropped may not be considered sustainable – or even ethical, the question should really be around longevity and if we are getting full use out of something. You could argue that it’s better to invest in something you know you’ll actually use, rather than investing in something just because its ethical.
My personally serving heroes
I’ve since started applying the concept to products I use. Marketing success aside, these are products that have reliably served me for a long time and I am thus loyal to. The Lush Shampoo Bar I always have with me wherever I travelled, especially useful when minimally backpacking through South America last Summer. Or the Nakd Cocoa Delight Bars, my saviour snack always stocked in my handbag for those peckish moments on the go.
What hero pieces are in your handbag?
A hero item should be quite obvious, being the first thing you think of, although you won’t necessarily have one for every category. Here goes a quick fire for you to try: Toiletries? Travel? Stationary? Food product? Or how about clothing?
Hero items in your wardrobe
Thinking about a hero item in my wardrobe becomes a bit more of a grey area I must admit. I used to be the classic fast fashion victim, impulsively buying something I didn’t need whenever I stepped into a Zara or Urban Outfitters. There’s always something I love the look of; a standout outfit perfect for the next night out, or a new compulsive silhouette I’ve seen worn in the media. But are they wardrobe heroes? Although I changed my habit about a year ago, today I’m left with a sizeable wardrobe consisting of fast fashion items with little individual significance. I still enjoy them (I’ve Marie Kondo’d my wardrobe of all the meaningless pieces already) but none of them are ‘it’. Interestingly, I can pinpoint hero items from my mother’s wardrobe. The pieces she wore when I was growing up and she still has today. If they’re special to her in the same way as they are to me I’m not sure, but there’s certainly something sentimentally ‘Mum’ about them.
Investing in longer lasting hero pieces
I guess this is where Sustainable Styling comes in. If you’ve always consciously purchased beautiful quality items and they’ve been worn 100 times or more, maybe you have several hero items in your closet? Indeed it’s about buying less, buying better quality longer lasting investment pieces that will become your wardrobe heroes. EBD Founder and Sustainable Stylist Roberta Lee suggests you should challenge yourself to see how many different ways you can style an item before you buy it. If you can create 3-5 solid looks – then it’s a no brainer. It’s definitely the attitude I’ve come to adopt last year.
When I asked Roberta what her wardrobe hero pieces consisted of she replied with certainty “my black blazer, nautical striped top, my 10-year old dark blue slim leg jeans, my black high heeled pointed pumps and blank ankle boots, my Burberry mac and teamed with my signature red lipstick and red nail polish”.
Do you have a clothing staple that you just can’t live without? Or maybe you have a few wardrobe heroes on which you can always rely? Please do share them in the comments.
Amelie Jannoe is the content development assistant for Roberta Style Lee & Ethical Brand Directory. You can find out more about the team here.