Perwoll Perwoll Perwoll


What you can do to upcycle

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

A woman examining a top vintage white dress

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:

1. Upcycling

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

Don’t let a tear or hole come between you and your favourite items. Rather than running out to buy replacements, consider which could be salvaged with a bit of mending or 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

Two young women walking down the street

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

A woman considering her shopping decisions – a key element of curating a sustainable wardrobe

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

A young woman examining the labels on an item that she is considering purchasing

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:

A cheat sheet on how to take care of the clothes in your sustainable wardrobe

Image credits

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