A few years ago I really started paying attention to the clothes that I was wearing. Mainly I focused on what attracted me to my everyday wardrobe and what I did not like about it. I assessed the overall quality, fit, feel and comfort of my wardrobe. For the most part, I was very unhappy with my wardrobe. I decided to clear out everything my closet, Marie Kondo style, and sold/donated anything that didn’t bring me joy. This is when my research on how to dress sustainably began.
Around this same time my life was forever changed by watching The True Cost documentary. This documentary sparked a passion in me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Immediately my opinions on fashion changed and I set out to be a more conscious consumer. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it!
Over the past few years I have been working towards being a better consumer, especially when it comes to clothing/fashion. Transitioning my business to selling pre-owned clothing has also helped me to discover the treasures that are discarded out there. I have years of experience in sustainable fashion, and I’m continually learning. Here are the things that I do to dress more sustainably.
5 Easy Ways to Dress More Sustainably
Shopping Second Hand
Thrift stores are really having a moment right now and it’s easy to see why. Wearing something pre-owned/vintage has never been cooler. I get a sick joy when somebody compliments my outfit and I can say to them that I bought it at the goodwill. I assume it’s the same kind of joy some people get when saying that they’re wearing Dior or Gucci. No hate, I love both of those brands!
Shopping at thrift stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army or your local thrift shop not only reduces your carbon footprint by buying used clothing, but also saves you money because the prices are greatly reduced. But I completely understand if you’re not interested in scouring through racks and racks of clothes in your freetime. Honestly, it takes a lot of time & searching to find the good stuff! Luckily there are sites like eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, ThredUp, TheRealReal, Tradesy, and more that offer you the luxury of buying second hand without leaving your couch.
I wrote a post about Thrift Shopping Like a Pro, you can check that out here.
Added bonus: You can sell your used clothing on these sites to make money for new to you clothes!
This is one of my favorite things to do. Renting clothes gives you the freedom to try styles that you might not have tried before. The added benefit is that most clothing rental companies give you the option to buy your favorite pieces (at a discounted price) if you end up really liking them! Renting is a good idea if you have a calendar full of weddings/events but you don’t have the budget to buy something for each one. Or if you work in a professional setting and constantly need to be dressed to impress.
Here are some of my favorite outfits that I have rented:
Finding Sustainable Fashion Brands
There are some brands out there that care about their impact towards the planet. Brands that classify themselves as sustainable, or ethical, take into account the full lifecycle of a product. From the design concept to the finished product, these brands ensure that they are creating the smallest carbon footprint possible. While also ensuring that the people creating the product are being paid a liveable wage. By supporting sustainable fashion brands, you are supporting the message that we will no longer stand for unethical practices when it comes to the clothes that we wear. You are also supporting the families that are making the clothing and ensuring that they continue to be paid fairly.
Here is a list of a few of my favorite sustainable fashion brands:
- Reformation – Feminine silhouettes made from sustainable materials, such as old stock fabric & repurposed vintage clothing.
- Madewell – A member of the Better Cotton Initiative and Fair Trade USA partner, Madewell is dedicated to using the most responsible materials out there.
- Levi’s – 67% of Levi’s are made using Water<Less® technologies which reduces up to 96% of the water normally used in finishing denim. Their goal is to be at 80% by 2020.
- Everlane – Radical transparency is what put Everlane on the map. Everlane tells you the true cost of each product, plus the factory it was made in.
- Alternative Apparel – Basics using organic cotton & recycled materials. Also uses more sustainable packaging.
- H&M Conscious – Sustainable fashion that won’t break the bank. H&M also allows it customers to recycle their unwanted H&M items to receive a discount on something knew, even if the item cannot be reworn.
- Patagonia – Not only uses sustainable materials, but will also repair your used Patagonia products. Plus, Patagonia is Fair Trade Certified & Bluesign approved. They also buy & resell their products so that you can purchase gently used Patagonia items on a discounted price.
- Athleta – 60% of its products are made with sustainable materials with the goal to reach 80% by 2020. Plus, Athleta is a B Corp which means it meets strict social & environmental standards
- Allbirds – Sustainable footwear made out of sugarcane, eucalyptus trees & naturally-made merino wool.
Create a Capsule Wardrobe
One of the biggest perks of fast fashion is that price tag. Most of us don’t have the luxury of dropping $100 or more on a pair of jeans. Plus trends are ever-changing, so why would we drop large amounts of money on clothes that will be out of style next month.
This is where knowing your style and having a capsule wardrobe can really help you save money in the long run. By investing in quality pieces that will last a lifetime, you are reducing your footprint in the clothing market. Whenever I find a really good item of clothing I always think to myself how excited the next generation will be to have my amazing wardrobe! Honestly, I do!
The key to creating a capsule collection is to really hone in on what your style is, what colors you gravitate towards and knowing what items never go out of style.
Utilizing the 30 Wears Test
I was reading this article by Harper’s Bazaar and came across the 30 Wears Test by Livia Firth. This will forever impact the way that I purchase clothing from now on. Essentially, when you’re shopping, ask yourself if you would wear the item 30 or more times. If the answer is yes, then buy it. If the answer is no, then don’t. Easy as that.
I hope that these tips sparked even the smallest amount of interest in being a more conscious consumer! What are your tips for shopping more sustainably? What are your favorite brands that are sustainable/ethical?
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