I love shopping and there is nothing wrong with it if you do too. It’s a fun activity that results in you being able to express yourself in the way you want and that’s a special thing. The most important thing isn’t so much IF we shop (although if you shop a lot maybe this comes into it too!), it is actually HOW we shop and where we choose to spend our money. I’ve popped together a few tips I have picked up along my unfinished ‘journey towards sustainability’ that are helping me to evolve my wardrobe in a way that is far better for the planet and *spoiler* far better for me too! Everyone wins, so what are you waiting for? *roll the film*
Let’s get one thing straight before we get started, creating a sustainable wardrobe doesn’t mean you need to start all over again
That’s right whether your wardrobe is entirely from Primark; a mix of high-street, high-end and vintage, or somewhere in-between – your journey to a sustainable wardrobe doesn’t mean you need to get rid of everything that wouldn’t be considered sustainable if you bought it now. The best thing I’ve learnt so far is that the most sustainable clothes are the ones that you already own. These are the clothes whose lifespan you can determine. The clothes that you can wear, mend, love and pass on to the right places when the time comes. It isn’t sustainable to chuck them all in favour of a whole new wardrobe!
With that sorted, it’s time to talk about how we can build on the wardrobe we already have in a sustainable way. That is how you create, and maybe more importantly, maintain a sustainable wardrobe. We all know wardrobes are ever evolving, let’s not pretend that any of us go years without adding to them – it just isn’t how the society we’ve grown up in works & that’s ok.
Buying new and adding to your wardrobe isn’t a crime, the most important thing is that you add consciously
The idea, that for me, is at the heart of the idea of sustainability is the approach to take when it comes to building on your wardrobe – to take more time and more care in our decisions. To buy consciously and be aware of where our clothes are coming from – if it is new and it seems to cheap, there’s probably a reason for it. Notably though, it is worth acknowledging that truly sustainable brands often carry heftier price tags and this prices a lot of people out, back into fast fashion. We’ve all been there, I certainly have. Remember though, that the secondhand markets are absolutely thriving right now and if you can’t afford to directly shop from sustainable brands the chances are you can buy their items or very similar ones secondhand and save your money and the planet at the same time.
It is all about taking just a moment to consider the impact of your consumption, before we all take the easy option – what I like to call the Amazon Prime approach! Do you really need that fourth pink spotty dress just because it is reduced with free delivery? Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no… try asking yourself these fail-safe questions to get your answer:
Wardrobes evolve with our style and it is just as important to acknowledge how something leaves our possession as it is to consider how it enters…
It is a fact that 57% of all discarded clothing ends up in landfill and one of our motivations for creating a sustainable wardrobe is our want to battle this figure. We all care about the planet and there are several ways we can help to reduce this figure:
Refine your personal style – This may seem like a self indulgent task that has nothing to do with the clothes in landfill, but actually the more you understand what you enjoy wearing and keep reaching for in your wardrobe, the less you will buy clothes that don’t fit the bill and will eventually be discarded. Why not start a Pinterest board of all your favourite styles and look for recurring themes to influence your purchases? Or perhaps pull your favourite & most worn pieces out of your wardrobe and spend some time working out why they are your favourites? It can benefit you and the planet – whoopee.
Know that there is a home for everything don’t love anymore – There are so many amazing companies, initiatives and just darn good ways to ensure your clothes don’t end up in landfill. From your Gucci handbag to your holey old boots, there’s someone who will love, mend, reuse or recycle every item. A few options for your old things include:
So, maybe your wardrobe is more sustainable than you think? It is all dependant on how you add to it, how you care for your items and how you say goodbye to items that just aren’t ‘you’. I feel like I am on such a journey with all of this and am by no means perfect when I shop and add to my wardrobe, but slowly and surely I am getting to a place where I know what I want, how to get it sustainably & how to keep it loved in my wardrobe for far longer than ever before. How do you feel about shopping and sustainability?