Time to stage a sustainable wardrobe makeover
Let your collection of garments take a stand for the slow fashion movement. Make sustainable choices for the clothes you wear, pick ethical labels, invest in your laundry care routine and become a power consumer. We guide you on how to buy clothes responsibly and give your wardrobe a sustainable makeover.
Top vintage: The end of the fast past
The throwaway economy of previous decades made it normal to buy and discard piles of clothing. Impulse buys and items that lost colour, shape or hanger appeal were just thrown away. After all, limited space meant that in order to indulge in the latest styles, something had to go. Since many clothes were cheap and easy to replace, this wasn’t such a big deal – or was it?
Sadly, even before the slow fashion movement took off, fashion decisions had an impact and, usually, the environment came off second-best. Luckily, it’s not too late to make amends and move forward – starting with fast action towards slow fashion.
Your sustainable wardrobe: Discard with a heart
The first step to curating a sustianble wardrobe is to declutter. But, when deciding what to do with clothes that no longer set your heart aflutter, look past the bin and to the following:
Can items be adjusted? For example, could jeans be turned into hotpants? A long dress shortened to a cocktail dress? Get creative and you might find a new item to love.
2. Clothes to give away
Older items make top vintage treasures, so sell them on and spread the joy. Alternatively, why not give clothing away to friends or charities or set up a clothes swapping party?
3. Mending and restyling
How to buy clothes responsibly
Now, you can turn your mind to ensuring that your wardrobe stays sustainable. What does that mean? And how can you add items to your collection, in a conscious way? Easy:
Step 1: Restyle your mind
Self awareness is queen. When you browse a store – whether online or in person – you have to be clear about your intentions. It’s never a good idea to impulse buy. Instead, when adding to your sustainable wardrobe, rethink the way you view clothing – from a temporary fling to a long-term investment.
Forgo trends that will only last a season and opt for classic pieces you will need and love forever. Crisp white shirts, well-fitted blazers, simple shift dresses, a good pair of jeans and comfortable cardigans are staples you are unlikely to ever regret buying. To ensure that your sustainable wardrobe remains exciting, seek out items that can be styled and paired together in various ways.
Step 2: Shop responsibly
Find out which stores produce clothes sustainably, using ethical practices and high-quality standards. Find local brands, who make a conscious effort to produce their items locally and work on minimising their footprint. And don’t foget that top vintage stores have plenty of cool items just waiting to be discovered.
Step 3: Look deeper
Always check garment labels. Whenever possible opt for organic, low-impact materials like linen, bamboo and hemp. Because these can be recycled more easily, they not only make wonderful items to wear, but can have a useful second life.
Finally, look to sustainable brands – as well as those taking important first steps to join the slow fashion movement – when making purchasing decisions. Luckily, they often showcase their environment-loving and socially responsible choices and activities, so a quick look online should do the trick.
Taking care of your sustainable wardrobe
If you’re wondering how to dress sustainably for the long term, the answer is in the way you treat your clothes. Since you’re buying items that you want to last, a good laundry routine is crucial.
Here is a little laundry cheat sheet, to help you take care of your clothes and ensure they always look their best:
Header image: Getty Images
Image of a woman examining a top vintage white dress: Stocksy
Image of two young women walking down the street: Blaublut
Image of a woman considering her shopping decisions: Getty Images
Image of a young woman examining the labels: Shutterstock