The fashion world has a bad reputation for being wasteful, but it doesn’t have to be. Sustainable fashion can be beautiful and stylish—you just have to buy less, and make better choices about what you do buy. Here are some ways to get started:
Use what you have.
- Use what you have. Before buying anything new, search your closet and see if there are any pieces that are still wearable. If this sounds like too much of a pain, consider making an appointment at a local consignment shop in the coming weeks—it will help you streamline your wardrobe and give someone else the chance to enjoy your old clothes.
- Don’t buy clothes just because they’re on sale or cheap! You’ll end up with stuff that doesn’t fit well or match other items in your wardrobe, which means it won’t get worn as often as it should be—and then it’s just taking up space! For example: If you’re looking for a simple black blouse but find one marked down from $50 to $20 at H&M… you might want to think twice before blindly buying something new without considering where else these items could come from (or how many times they’ll need washing).
Only buy when need or in response to a trend that shows no signs of fading.
If you’re not ready to commit to a full-on sustainable wardrobe, I get it! But there are still ways you can make small changes that will help reduce the amount of waste in your closet.
One way is by only buying what you need and when needed. If you see something on sale that catches your eye but aren’t in need of anything new, don’t buy it just because it’s cheap or trendy—see if there’s another way you can get the same result without adding another piece into your wardrobe collection (like pairing different items together). And don’t hesitate to return items if they’re not quite right—there’s nothing wrong with admitting when an item isn’t working out for you! By focusing on what works best for YOU rather than following trends blindly, we’ll all be able to dress better (and more ethically) on our own terms.
Another tip: make sure every item has its place so nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Would love some feedback from people who’ve made progress toward minimalism/sustainable living themselves!
Pay it forward.
- Donate clothes you no longer wear to charity. When you stop wearing certain clothes, instead of letting them sit in your closet forever, donate them to a charity that will pass them along to people who need them.
- Trade clothes with friends and family members. As you gain new pieces of clothing in your wardrobe, consider trading out some of your old favorites for something equally as awesome (and perhaps even better) than what you had before!
- Sell excess inventory on social media or at local secondhand shops/flea markets/garage sales. If there are items in your closet that are still in good condition but just haven’t been worn in awhile, sell them on Facebook Marketplace or Instagram Marketplace and make some money back! You could also sell these items at thrift stores like Salvation Army or Goodwill if they’re not worth enough for online selling but still worth putting back into circulation by reselling locally instead of throwing away into the trash bin.”
Think outside brands & retailers.
The first step to finding sustainable fashion is to think outside brands and retailers. The larger the brand, the less likely they are to be transparent about where their clothes are made. Look for a local independent store that specializes in sustainable and ethical fashion. If you can’t find one, ask your favorite brands how they source their materials and if they have a plan for reducing waste or creating more recycled materials.
For example, Everlane makes it clear right on their website that there are no factories where they produce clothing in developing countries like Bangladesh or China because “we believe in paying our workers fair wages so everyone has access to quality products at an affordable price” (www.everlane.com). They also use recycled polyester in their shirts instead of new cotton because “it uses 45% less water than traditional farming methods” (www.everlane). In addition, Everlane pays factory workers an hourly wage rather than a piece rate as other companies do; this allows them to earn higher wages over time as well as take breaks during long days without losing money from penalties (ibid).
Buy secondhand before new.
Buy secondhand before new.
While it’s easy to think of buying secondhand clothing as something to do when you have no other choice, the truth is that you can find some great quality pieces for a fraction of the cost of what it would be if you were to buy them brand new. And don’t worry about buying something that doesn’t fit perfectly or isn’t exactly what you’re looking for—there are plenty of places where you can sell things back!
Keep clothing quality high & quantity low.
When you buy a new piece of clothing, make sure it’s a quality item. If you have to ask yourself whether or not the jacket is going to last for more than one season, it probably won’t. The same goes for shoes: if they’re not well-made enough to survive the rain and snow in your climate, then they’re probably not worth your money. Plus, there’s no point in having an overflowing closet full of pieces that aren’t quite right—so be picky!
Don’t be afraid of dropping some cash on a few well-made items that will last forever (and look good doing it). If you want something but can’t afford it this season because of all the other things that need buying and saving up for, buy it anyway—just wait until next winter! Go ahead and splurge on yourself every now and then; nobody needs another pair of jeans with holes in them when they could have new ones instead!
You can love sustainable fashion and still be stylish, you just have to buy less, and make better choices about what you do buy.
The first step to shopping sustainably is to buy less. This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true: if you buy less, you can choose only the items that are truly important to you. You can then pay attention to every purchase and make sure that it’s something you really want or need. Consider what your lifestyle is like and how much of an impact your wardrobe has on the environment before buying anything new. Don’t just think about the environmental impact—think about how much time and energy goes into making each article of clothing!
When buying secondhand, it helps to think outside brands or retailers entirely; make a list of all the places where clothes are sold near where you live (from consignment shops to thrift stores). Once there’s no more space in your closet for any more clothes, donate any unused items so they can be reused by someone else! If someone compliments your outfit at work or on campus today, ask them if they know anyone who would like something similar!
We’re living in a time when there are more choices than ever before, but it can be tricky to decide which ones are worth your hard-earned money. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new fashions and trends that come along every season, but if you think about it for just a moment, all those new items are still just clothing, right? Wouldn’t it be better if instead of buying one or two great items each year from your favorite brands—or going out and buying something new just because—you could buy less but better quality pieces that last longer? We think so too!
Read more about building a sustainable wardrobe here.