Choosing sustainable practices for your wardrobe doesn’t need to be a chore. Here are a few easy ways to get started!
1) Shop Your Own Closet
As Stephen Stills wrote “Love the one you’re with.” The majority of the clothes in our closets go unworn. A recent study done by Movinga found that Americans did not wear a whopping 82% of the clothing in their closets!!
Before you buy something new, take a look at what you already have. Get creative with pieces that you don’t normally put together.
Play “paper dolls”. Lay out a favorite sweater on your bed and switch out bottoms to see if you can come up with new combinations. When you do, snap a pic to remind yourself of the looks you already own. Make your own Personal Look Book with a gallery of these images so it’s easier to get dressed in the morning. This will also prevent you from buying the same piece over and over when you are out shopping. Hello black sweater!
Tired of your own closet? Shop a friend’s! Swap nights are a great way to give clothes a second life, rejuvenate your wardrobe, and reconnect with friends.
2) Care For What You Wear
Sometimes care means doing less, in this case, less washing. The more often we wash our the clothing, the quicker it wears out. We often wash clothing as a matter of habit, rather than necessity. If you can wait to wash, do it!
When you do wash your clothes, use cold water. It is better for your garments and the environment. Washing fades colors and wears out fabrics, while using up resources like water and electricity.
Ditch the dryer. Hang dry your clothing whenever possible.
For more ideas, check out my Cleaning Tips
3) Mend, Repair, and Remake
When your garment is busted, fix it! For tips on ways to mend your clothing, check out Wear Repair
I know that not everyone is a seamstress like me. But that is no excuse to toss a garment that doesn’t quite fit or is showing some wear.
If it doesn’t fit, take it to a tailor. Many local dry cleaners also provide tailoring services.
Worn out for garment? Many conscious fashion brands are now providing repair services. Look at the brand’s website to see what services they offer. Some brands that offer repair services are Patagonia and Nudie Jeans Co.
4) Vote With Your Dollars
When we make a purchase, we are demonstrating our values. Be mindful of what you are supporting when you buy something new.
Invest in quality pieces that will last longer. It may be more expensive, but that may encourage us to BUY LESS!
Look for brands that tout their values. When brands are transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing, we can see if they share our values. Check out my Shops List for ideas.
Shop second hand. There are more and more options to purchase second hand clothing, giving both the environment and your wallet a break. My favorite place to find special pieces is TheRealReal, a luxury consignment retailer. I call dibs on the Stella McCartney skirts!
5) Say Goodbye with Love
Globally, 80% of our textiles are headed to the landfill or incineration. In the U.S. we send 21 billion pounds of textile waste to landfills every year. So we need to be thoughtful of how we dispose of our clothing.
Donate to local charities and resale shops. Do your part to prevent textiles from entering the waste stream by giving them a second home.
Although charities are a much better option than throwing away garments, they are overwhelmed with the quantity of donations, thanks to fast fashion and our ever expanding unworn wardrobe, so another option to consider is the resale market. Companies like Buffalo Exchange, thredUp, PoshMark, and TheRealReal make it easier than ever to resell your garments.
If your garment is truly at the end of its life, look for textile recycling options in your area. In New York, Grow NYC accepts clothing at many greenmarkets throughout the city, but many cities provide similar recycling opportunities.