Creating A More Sustainable Wardrobe
With a constantly growing urge to preserve our earth and its resources, sustainability is now more important than ever before.
The movement can impact all areas of our lives and long gone are the times when sustainable fashion were shapeless garments made from hemp. Now no one can tell the difference in looks but there certainly is a difference for the planet. Here are a few tips on how you can move towards a more sustainable wardrobe.
DO declutter. A good first step towards a more sustainable wardrobe is getting an overview of what you already have. You will probably soon realise that you own way more than you actually wear, which is not really necessary and only clogs up your wardrobe. Taking the time to declutter will help you focus on the clothes you really love and need, while also creating more space.
DON’T just throw away things you no longer like or wear. After decluttering you’ll probably end up with a pile of clothes you no longer want or wear, but don’t ever throw them away! Just because you no longer wear them doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t. Talk to friends and family, see if you can sell them online or give them to a charity shop. No matter what you decide to do just never ever throw clothes in the bin, unless they can really no longer be worn i.e. are completely ripped up.
DO go to charity shops. If you are looking for something new, take a stroll through some charity shops. Their reputation might not be great but they definitely no longer are what they used to be. You can find charity shops in all price categories and the clothes you find can still be very high quality, even though you sometimes just have to be lucky. The advantage of charity shops is that the clothes do not need to be produced again which is better for the environment and a piece of clothing doesn’t need to be brand-new just to look good. You would be surprised what you can find there.
DON’T worry if you make mistakes or exceptions. The road to a more sustainable lifestyle in general is full of ups and downs and therefore there is no need to beat yourself up if your wardrobe is not 100% sustainable from one day to the next (I would be very impressed if it was!). So if you really want to buy something new or something that’s not made from sustainable materials and you can’t find a suitable alternative, then that’s okay.
DO think about upcycling. After decluttering your wardrobe you might find that some of the clothes would look good as something else. You can for example simply make shorts out of long trousers or tops out of dresses, the possibilities are nearly endless. Depending on your skills you can make more or less demanding clothes. In the process you might even pick up a new hobby or discover a new skill.
DO get things fixed instead of giving up on them. A lot of damaged clothes can be mended quite easily, if you don’t know how to sew you can find a tailor who does it for you, but keep in mind that this more expensive. Over time you might learn how to fix small holes and the like yourself and will no longer have to pay for someone else to do it.
DON’T get fooled by adverts. Often mainstream brands claim to be sustainable but sadly often it is not as easy or perfect as it seems in the ad. Before buying into what they show you, make sure to read up on the brand to be certain that they really do what they claim.
DO look up which brands are sustainable if you wish to have something new. Sustainable brands are often lesser known and don’t have shops on the high street or in big shopping centres. You can do your own research online and find the one that suits you best. Buying from a sustainable brand is definitely the better alternative when you wish or need to buy something new.
DON’T only buy things according to seasons. Shops basically tell you that you need distinctively different clothes for summer and for winter and while this is true to an extent, you wouldn’t wear your winter coat in summer, other items are more flexible. If you are buying something new think about the occasions you would wear it on, the more the better. A dress can for example be worn in summer or winter, just in different ways.
DO buy sustainable fabrics if you buy something new. Read up on which materials are sustainable, and mainly opt for these. Usually natural materials, such as linen, cotton or wool are more sustainable than synthetic fabrics such as nylon or polyester. However, you still need to check how your fabric is produced because just because something can be sustainably produced doesn’t mean that it actually is. You can, for example, also get swimsuits or sportswear made out of recycled plastic.
DON’T make quality suffer for quantity. It is tempting to constantly buy new stuff, especially when a lot of things are quite cheap. Unfortunately these items are often among the least sustainable and you won’t be able to keep them as long because their quality is not very good. In this case it is better to occasionally invest in a new, high quality piece of clothing where you can be sure that you will be able to wear it over a long period of time. In the long term this is also more economical, as what you bought before might be cheaper but also needs to be replaced more frequently, which might result in spending little money but regularly.
DO shop consciously. You might have stumbled across the term ‘slow fashion’, a movement in which people consider all the different steps of the production of clothing and pay attention to the environment and people working in the factories. Sustainability is also a big part of it and the whole movement encourages people to think more about what they buy and not just accept the constant flow of new, often low-priced, clothes. When you shop it is good to consider all the different factors that contribute to a more sustainable production and step by step you can find your way to a more sustainable wardrobe.