When you think of a sustainable closet, what comes to mind? A minimalist capsule wardrobe with only 5 key pieces? Only vintage threads? An entire closet filled with expensive eco-friendly clothing? I used to think those were my only options and that it would be impossible for me to achieve. I had this idea in my head, that it was almost unattainable, but with time and a little innovation I realized that it wasn’t true. I’m going to make it way easier for you by sharing the 3 simplest ways you can start making your wardrobe and shopping habits more sustainable.
1. Shop your Closet
I know what you’re thinking. “I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear!” It was my thought for years. Either I’d worn it already, it didn’t fit right or I wasn’t in the mood for a particular outfit. I once met a girl in college that said she would absolutely NEVER repeat and outfit. I was like “NEVER?” She said that she would go shopping every single week for her weekend going out looks and some new stuff for school and that shook me to my core. Though I wasn’t living the conscious consumer life myself, the very thought of all the money she spent on her weekend looks sent a shiver down my spine. Mind you, this was years before Facebook and Instagram OOTDs. I started doing an inventory of my closet, and thought there has to be a better way. I hated the “I have nothing to wear” feeling knowing well that I had a perfectly stocked closet full of clothing, accessories and shoes. Today, I shop my closet plenty. Sure I have those seasonal pieces that can’t be worn year round, but there are plenty of ways to shop your closet.
First, do an inventory of everything you own. Look for things you never wear, haven’t worn in a really long time or even still have tags on them. If something is worn out or doesn’t fit anymore, consider reselling, donating or recycling them (find a store or organization that accepts textiles to recycle). Once you sorted out what you would still wear, there you go! Start wearing those outfits, restyle them with a different belt, layers if the weather permits, different pairings, get creative! If you have a sewing machine, you can get creative and upcycle the pieces turning them into something new. If you can’t sew, take them to a tailer, local fashion designer or your crafty friends and see what you can come up with. The end results might surprise you! P.S.: In high school, I would cut up old t-shirts and re-design them into funky tops. No sewing machine required. I might get into that again!
2. Shop Second-hand
This one I’ve been doing for years. I started shopping vintage in college when I would wear long flowing beach dresses and sandals almost every day to school. I had this beachy boho thing going on for a while and I searched for vintage beach dresses and palazzo pants with funky prints. I also loved big chunky jewelry to match with the looks, it was my go-to! Today, I look for designer or brand name pieces at my local Goodwill San Antonio and have found amazing gems! You can also shop with them online, or use online resellers like Poshmark, thredUP and Mercari. These options are fantastic when you’re looking to resell and get new things while you’re at it. It’s like virtual swap meet. I’ve also sold my stuff on my social media, so watch for some of your favorite bloggers for when they do flash pop-up sales and you can snag some of your favorite pieces they’ve worn at a fraction of what they paid for them! I’m in the process of updating my online resale shop, so sign up and stay tuned on my Poshmark!
3. Shop Ethical Brands
There was a time when I didn’t even stop to think about how my garments were made. For most consumers, this was probably never a question either. In recent years, more information has been brought to light on the harms of the fashion industry to the environment and it’s even been deemed the second most polluting industry in the planet. From the harmful machinery in fast fashion manufacturing to the 11 million tons of textile waste in the U.S. alone, and toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes, and synthetic fabrics that seep into water supplies in foreign countries where the clothing is made and domestically when we wash our clothes. This is very terrifying! So, another solution to the problem is to quit fast-fashion and start looking for ethical brands. Shop with brands that use eco-friendly materials, sustainable manufacturing and fair trade. Some of these may be a little more pricey, but the true cost of fashion is much worse. There are some brands like H&M and Adidas, who are incorporating recycled textiles, sustainable materials and FSC-certified natural rubber and wood fibers. Some call this “green-washing”, but I call it a step in the right direction. If they seek to go gradually fully green and eliminate fast-fashion, then I’m here for it!
These are just some simple tips to get started. You don’t have to flip your entire life to make your closet and home more sustainable. Simple hacks have a huge effect and make a difference. If you’re looking for some eco-friendly, sustainable and ethical brands, I will be sharing more as we go along on this journey together. My goal is to share affordable finds that can fit into all budgets as well. Together we can change the industry, but it takes a little effort on our part. Are you willing to be part of the solution?