A green and sustainable wardrobe is one that helps to reduce the impact that your clothes have on the planet. These pieces are loved, worn and used again and again. Of course, by buying high quality timeless pieces, caring for the clothes that you own and wearing your entire wardrobe rather than just 20% of it, you will have already made massive progress towards building your own sustainable wardrobe.
But in order to build a truly sustainable and ethical wardrobe, there are simple steps that you need to start taking in order to achieve your green goals.
Before you begin on your sustainable wardrobe journey, it’s important to assess the clothes you already have. If by opening your wardrobe you never know what to wear or you see items you haven’t worn in a while or not looking forward to wearing again, it’s time to cleanse! By donating your old and pre-loved items, you are also building a sustainable wardrobe as you are preventing your unused pieces from ending up in landfill, whilst giving it away to possibly add to someone else’s green wardrobe. A good way to declutter could also be getting together with friends and attending your local Shwopping event, usually advertised on eventbrite, these events will allow you to swap unwanted clothes with someone else’s unwanted pieces. What better way of shopping could there be?!
The one rule when shopping sustainably is to never buy more than two items at the time, as research shows that the third and fourth items bought, are the least liked and are most likely to hang in your wardrobe with the tags attached. The easier way to go about this is to think hard before buying and ask yourself “Do I need it? Will I wear this item at least 30 times?” If the answer is yes, then go ahead!
Research into brands’ practices and materials and if there isn’t enough information online, ask them for more. Once you have found your perfect sustainable brand and you also like the styles they offer, make sure to only buy basic, timeless pieces that you can wear multiple times and match with more of your already owned items.
There’s also plenty of information out there on the internet about what are the best fabrics that will one day biodegrade and/or be recycled. The most important aspect of sustainable shopping is to think about the lifespan of the clothing and how you can help make this longer. True sustainable fabrics will have certified labels proving their sustainability, such as specific accreditations like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or GRS (Global Recycled Standard).
One of the best things you can do to dress more sustainably is learn how to mend your own clothes. There’s plenty of courses, articles and online videos that teach how to sew and alter already constructed items and most times, this skill can become the starting point to refreshing those old pieces at the back of your wardrobe, into something new.
When you care for your clothes, they will last longer. One of the best ways to make clothes last longer is to wash them less frequently. This is most true for heavier items such as jumpers, jackets and trousers, which need washing much less regularly than you might think. Even the designer Stella McCartney advises us to not wash clothes that often and to instead brush the dirt off with a sponge and let them air after being worn! For items that do need washing more frequently, try doing so at lower temperatures and air drying instead of using a tumble dryer.
Buying second hand is one of the most sustainable ways to purchase new clothes. This is because the most sustainable clothes you can buy are clothes that are already made. No new materials or energy is required to make them, meaning buying second hand a very sustainable alternative. You don’t need to limit yourself either to what’s in your local charity shops but expand your horizons online instead!
Although it’s easy to create a sustainable wardrobe, it can take some time but we shouldn't rush it. This process is a lifelong journey that in order to succeed in, we need to stick to. Alternatively, if you don’t feel confident enough to start this journey by yourself, you can always consult with a sustainable wardrobe specialist to help you get your clothes working for you. Lupe Castro, is one of our favourite fashion experts out there, and she will really help you understand what pieces you may need to buy (if any) in order to pull your existing wardrobe together! Overtime, once you know where to shop for sustainable brands and clothes, choosing sustainable clothing becomes easier.
[Information sourced on cariki.co.uk, aseannow.com and greenandsimple.co
All images and featured image sourced on canva.com]