Utter the words “sustainable wardrobe” to anyone, and no doubt you’ll be meet with a look of horror and responses which include the words “expensive”, “time-consuming” and “difficult”. But the fact of the matter is that the majority of people make these assumptions without any real idea of what building a sustainable collection of clothing actually involves.
In a world where the fashion is fast, we’re constantly bombarded with advertising campaigns of the season’s latest trends, which can leave us craving more. But often after a quick fashion fix, we are left feeling empty, and last week’s purchases have already been discarded as no longer in style. But what does make us feel good is the sense of purpose which comes with being good to the planet, and this starts at home. If we want to practice what we preach, we must begin with our own possessions.
Before we get stuck in – a word of warning! Yes, while building a sustainable wardrobe might be easier than you think (and we’re about to prove that), it isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s not a fashion choice as such, but a fashion commitment. A devotion to be more conscious about your purchases for life. If the idea gets your heart racing and you think: “YES – this is for me!” – read on and discover how in 5 easy steps you can start building a sustainable collection of clothing, you’ll take great pride in wearing.
Step #1: Detox your wardrobe
How many times do you open your jam-packed wardrobe and say: “I have nothing to wear!”. This frustration comes, quite simply because we have too much choice. When faced with endless options, it can be harder to reach a decision. And often you’ll end up wearing the same things over and over again because you can’t even recall the majority of things that you currently own.
So to help you get started on your quest to building a sustainable wardrobe, we recommend a de-cluttering episode. Over the course of a few days, it’s time to streamline your wardrobe. Marie Kondo, bestselling author of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ suggests you go through your wardrobe, asking yourself the same question when you look at each piece of clothing: “Does this item bring me joy?” If the answer is no, add it to a pile to re-sell or bring to a charity shop. At the end of it, you’ll be left with only the clothing which you truly love.
P.S. If you haven’t read this book, we thoroughly recommend it!
Step #2: Learn to love what you have
Now that you can actually see what remains in your closet, it’s time to cherish it. No doubt as you sorted through your collection, you found several forgotten items, which bring you joy. Now is the perfect time to make a conscious effort to wear what you have and make the most of it. Perhaps you have a dress that you’ve reserved for special occasions, which hasn’t seen the light of day. Why not play around with it and style it for day time? Experimenting with clothes by mixing and matching what you already have will leave you with many outfit choices and you’ll quickly realise how versatile and refreshing it is to have a smaller wardrobe.
You should also learn to take good care of your clothing. Thankfully sustainable clothing tends to be of much better quality and so you should treat it a little better too. Get to know what the washing instructions on your labels mean and take care when storing your clothing.
Step #3: Buy better; shop less
Now that you’ve fallen in love with your streamlined wardrobe, it’s time to adopt a new mantra. Purchase only what you really need and love. Choose quality over quantity and only purchase investment pieces, which will last several years. Paying a little more for a piece of clothing you truly love, which is both well made and ethically sourced means you will no doubt take better care of it. Here, we look to Livia Firth who suggests that when buying a new item of clothing, ask yourself: “Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?” If the answer is no, move on.
Step #4: Shop sustainably
Make time to get to know what you are buying. With fast fashion, there is often little information on the fashion supply chain (for a reason!). When it comes to sustainable brands, they take great pride in sharing their story and keeping the consumer in the loop on exactly how each item was sourced and made.
Step #5: Choose timeless items
Fast fashion is all about fast trends that are here one day and gone by the next. By learning not to be a slave to the latest trends, you can really develop your own personal style. Try to build a capsule wardrobe revolving around timeless classics, which will always be in style.
What sustainable clothing choices have you made? We’d love to know! Share your practices in the comments box below.