This post has kindly been sponsored by Bamigo.
How can I make my wardrobe more sustainable, more eco-friendly? A question I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves as it becomes more and more important that we take action to save our planet. On the surface, it might seem difficult, but don’t worry there are some easy changes that you can make to bring your shopping habits more in-line with your thoughts and together we can all work to minimise the impact of our wardrobes! Here’s some ideas to get you started:
Choose Alternative Materials
Cotton. The material that the majority of our clothing is made from (in some blend or another). It seems natural and earthy, surely that means it is sustainable? The simple answer to this is no, with the exception of a couple of producers, cotton is widely recognised as an unsustainable material. This is due to its production using an incredibly large amount of water and its entanglement in issues surrounding pollution, habitat loss and use of pesticides too. Luckily for us, there are lots of amazing companies working to ensure that we have alternative sustainable choices when it comes to what our clothing is made of. From natural fabrics such as organic linen and bamboo to scientist developed Tencel, a biodegradable fabric made from wood pulp – there really are a wealth of options to choose from.
There are eco-alternatives to most fabrics, with some alternatives – such as bamboo – being not only a brilliant substitute for cotton in terms of sustainability but, as premium bamboo menswear clothing company Bamigo know all too well, also providing a multitude of other benefits, including being hypoallergenic, crease free and UV ray filtering. It seems like switching to these friendly alternatives really is a win-win for our wardrobes!
Stop and Question
Do I really need this? Do I really want it or am I just jumping on a trend that won’t last? Do I have anything like this in my wardrobe already? How much will I actually wear this?
These are just some of the questions I try and ask myself when making a purchase. Admittedly, sometimes I am taken in by the impulse buy – we’ve all been there! However, I have found that by taking a just a small moment before I commit to buying an item – be it secondhand or new – has resulted in recent additions to my wardrobe being things I not only wear more, but are items I really love. This questioning tactic not only stops repetition in the wardrobe, it also saves money and helps you to create a collection of clothes that you will treasure, which in turn brings the excitement back into getting dressed in the morning just in time for us being able to go out into the world! Conscious purchasing for the win!
Shop Your Own Wardrobe
This is a fun one and a great way to refresh how you see the contents of your wardrobe, after all the most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own! You’re winning already! The idea of this may sound odd in the first instance, you might think – surely I can see all my clothes already, so how can I shop my own wardrobe? However, it is amazing when the eye gets used to the order of things how it can skip over items. Here’s how to easily shop your own wardrobe and realise maybe what you have isn’t so bad after all:
- Get it all out! Pull all your clothes out of wherever they are stored and plonk them on your bed, the floor – or both!
- Now change up where things are kept – if jackets were on the left, move them to the right; if jeans were in that drawer, move them up! This might feel like it will be annoying but it will actually stop you from automatically reaching for the same things day in day out
- Start putting things back in their new positions, I can guarantee you’ll be surprised by what you find. I will hear cries of, “I haven’t seen that top for years”, or “Oh my gosh, I’d totally forgotten about that dress, I can’t wait to wear that”.
- Now once it is all back in, all you need to do is get dressed each morning and the new layout will present a whole different experience of your wardrobe. In fact, I might go and give this a go after I’ve finished writing this!
Choose Vintage or Sustainably Produced
As you all know, I am a huge advocate for vintage shopping and we’ve talked about it a lot on this blog, so I won’t ramble on. Let’s just say it is sustainable to reuse clothing, vintage clothing was generally made to a much higher standard so it will last in your wardrobe for much longer and it is a sure fire way to bring some individuality into your wardrobe. Plus it is a great option for the wallet, as with a bit of hunting it will mostly sit in a similar price bracket to the high street! Yes, yes, yes – for the environment and your personal style. Not sure where to start looking, why not check out last week’s blog post here where I shared my absolute favourite online vintage shops! You will be hooked in no time.
Something I haven’t talked about as much as shopping vintage, is shopping with smaller, independent clothes producers who really put thought into their environmental impact – it’s the opposite of fast fashion, you got it – this is slow fashion. These small producers focus on awareness within their processes; they focus on quality clothing that will last longer in your wardrobe; and they focus on valuing the correct treatment of not only the planet, but also animals and people too. This movement is gaining momentum quickly and is a great option for those people who a slightly higher budget. I’m really excited to see how this movement changes the way we shop in the next few years.
Care For & Fix Your Treasures
This might seem pretty obvious, but it is definitely one thing that I need to work on – just trying to really better look after my clothes. Does it really need washing, and on such a high temperature? Could I air dry it? Do I need to throw our that jumper just because it is a bit bobbly? Being conscious is something I pride myself on when acquiring clothes and it should definitely be something that we (me included) try to be with our clothes throughout our time with them. Looking after your clothes properly makes them last longer, having longer lasting clothing means that we don’t need to buy so many new ones and consequently we lessen our environmental impact. As I’ve pointed out, I’m no expert on this matter, so I’m not here to share all my top tips, but I do highly recommend watching this video about caring for your clothes from The Anna Edit. She knows her stuff and I think we could all learn a thing or two from her.
I’d also quite like to learn another technique for making my clothes longer lasting and that is to get mending. Simple as that. Currently, if there’s a hole in one of my items I will sew it up, but to be honest that is the extent of my mending and being able to bring new life into my old clothes is something I am excited to work on. It’s all a journey right?