With all of the discussion about the effects of fast fashion and climate change, many women are trying to make better choices about the garments that they purchase, and the brands that they purchase them from.
Trying to change your entire wardrobe and researching sustainable and ethical brands can be a big undertaking.
The important thing to remember is to take small steps. It is not an all or nothing approach.
Start with small steps.
If you are in the market for a new (or new to you) item for your closet and you want to make a sustainable choice, keep these things in mind.
1. Pick clothes you can wear multiple ways
One of the most basic forms of being sustainable is getting more use out of what you are wearing. We’re not talking about capsule wardrobe level of interchangeability. Simply, you feel that you can comfortably wear a top to work with a blazer or on its own to lunch with your friends and you feel good in both situations.
2. Purchase high-quality items
In the same vein, buy something that will last. Search out quality construction and textiles. Good quality construction is not only practical, but also beautiful. When you find something that someone has made with skill, craft, and dedication, it feels important to cherish the item. The item will last you longer and will mean more to you. Higher quality may mean a higher price point, but the idea is to buy fewer things that are better.
3. Determine what items are flattering on your body, and make you feel good
Think Marie Kondo, which garments bring you joy? What silhouettes, colors, and fabrics do you always feel flatter your figure, or just make you feel good? Pay attention to which items you reach for in your current closet and the next time you need a new item, keep these qualities in mind. Purchase something like it made ethically in sustainable materials. You are much more likely to wear and love the item this way.
4. Try to buy things that have timeless style
Fast fashion has tricked us into thinking that the only way to feel fashionable is to stay up to date with the latest trends, but the truth is that simple, classic style will always be in style. Think about Audrey Hepburn. When you see photos of her wearing her tailored black pants and sophisticated tops, she would look just as stylish wearing these things in the present day.
5. Focus on tops and dresses for new items
If you are just starting on your sustainable fashion journey, for new items, start with tops and dresses. Think of pants and shoes as your base pieces and mix up your tops and jewelry. Pant trends will sway from opposite ends of the spectrum from skinny to wide leg, but stick with what is most flattering and classic and then only replace them when necessary.
6. Wear the clothes until they are falling apart at the seams, then see if you can get it repaired.
Wear clothes that you love and wear them often. It doesn’t matter if someone sees you wear the shirt multiple times. You love the shirt, why shouldn’t you wear it all the time? And when it starts falling apart at the seams, see if you can get it fixed, by you, a friend, or a tailor. You would be surprised how many things can be mended for extended use.
Remember that creating a sustainable wardrobe is a process, and go easy on yourself. Don't buy an item just because it is sustainable, find something that is true to you, that also happens to be sustainable and soon you will have many sustainable items to cherish. When it comes down to it, sustainable fashion is more about being conscious about what you are buying, than on buying the exact right thing. Find what is right for you, and find a company that is making those items in an ethical and sustainable manner.
Good luck on your eco-fashion journey!