Turn Your Closet Into A Sustainable Wardrobe
Your go to guide for fashion that's sustainable and worth wearing.
Do you want to create a wardrobe with sustainability in mind? If so, you've come to the right place! Whether you're just getting started or have been on the sustainable fashion path for some time, building an ethical and eco-friendly wardrobe is easier than it seems. And trust us—it can be fun too! It doesn't have to be complicated or overwhelming.
On the contrary, it can be pretty enjoyable and rewarding! By taking the time to make mindful decisions about what you put in your closet, you can create an ethical and eco-friendly wardrobe that reflects your taste while also helping reduce environmental impact. From researching brands with transparent production processes to understanding how to best care for your clothing over time, this guide will provide tips on creating a more sustainable wardrobe.
So let's dive into how small changes, from shopping smartly to making clothes last longer, can go a long way in creating an environmentally-friendly and stylish wardrobe that stands the test of time. Follow these steps to make your wardrobe sustainable!
Step 1: Focus on sustainability when you shop
There are many steps you can take to build a sustainable wardrobe. However, sustainable shopping is the first thing to focus on as you transition your closet's pieces toward good things for the planet.
The foundation of sustainable fashion is to buy less, which will save you money and reduce your ecological footprint. One great way to start is to do a wardrobe audit. You'll likely find that you have a few items you don't use or don't even like.
The key to shopping less is choosing quality items you love and will use for years to come. So instead of buying multiple items you won't wear long-term, invest in fewer pieces that can be mixed and matched.
If you're a shopaholic, a few behavioral changes can help change your relationship with shopping.
Set a budget and stick to it.
Decide how much you will spend each week or month and stay within that limit. Creating a shopping budget will help people buy less. It means deciding how much money you can spend each week or month and only purchasing things within that limit. That way, you won't buy too many things you don't need.
Make a shopping list.
Creating a shopping list can help shoppers buy less. A list will remind you of the items that you need and help you focus on those items so that you do not spend money on things that are not important or needed.
So before shopping, list the items you need so you don't spend money on things you don't want or need.
Wait 24 hours before making purchases.
If something catches your eye, wait at least one day before purchasing to ensure it will truly last in your wardrobe for years. It will help reduce impulse buying and ensure you are only getting things you really want and need.
Change WHAT you buy
Purchasing sustainable pieces certified as eco-friendly will ensure that fewer toxic chemicals are going into the production of your clothing. Look for brands that use certifications, such as Made In Green by OEKO-TEX or bluesign.
When shopping for clothing, it's also essential to look for brands that use eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, bamboo fibers, natural dyes, hemp, and recycled polyester or nylon textiles. Natural fibers require less energy and water use than synthetic fabrics during manufacturing while still providing quality clothing items that last longer than fast fashion pieces from other retailers who prioritize quantity over quality.
Buy clothes that will last.
In addition, you should buy high-quality, durable clothing from sustainable brands. These will last longer and will minimize your environmental impact. Purchasing high-quality clothes may not be cheap, but they are worth the investment. Not only do they last longer, but they'll also save you money in the long run.
Shopping vintage or second-hand is a great way to go as a part of sustainable living. If you want to save money, look for brands that recycle or offer cash back for donating their clothes to a charity. You can also ask your friends and family to donate items to Goodwill.
Change HOW you buy
Another great way to minimize your ecological footprint is to buy from local brands. Many companies promote their products as sustainable. For example, WRAP is a sustainability-focused charity in the UK. They have an online shop with a huge selection of sustainable clothing.
Support brands focused on making a positive difference
Support brands focusing on making the world a better place and offsetting their environmental impacts. It is important to support with companies trying to do good and have sustainable practices. This way, you can be sure that your purchase contributes to a better world. Start by looking for brands that are certified. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Oeko-Tex certification are two of the most recognized certifications for sustainable fabrics and materials. These organizations evaluate the products for their environmental impact, animal welfare, ecology, water use and pollution, labor rights, and traceability of materials used in production.
Shop at companies with fair labor practices
You should also look for companies that are transparent about their practices and efforts in sustainability. Ideally, companies should openly share their factories' locations and how much they pay their workers per hour. Furthermore, when supporting an ethical fashion brand, it's crucial to ensure they adhere to fair labor standards throughout their supply chain, so workers aren't exploited or put in unsafe working conditions to maximize profits at any cost. Brands should ensure proper wages and access to benefits for employees; provide safe working conditions; uphold anti-discrimination rights; offer vacation time; support equal pay; respect the right of collective bargaining; abide by child labor laws; provide health care benefits; and prohibit forced overtime or dangerous labor conditions of any kind. This transparency gives consumers more information, allowing them to make more informed decisions on where they shop and what they buy. WRAP certification is a great way to identify products that are participating in ethical labor practices. WRAP certification is something Melomys looks for in manufacturing partners to ensure ethical practices.
Overall, supporting ethical and eco-conscious fashion brands (staying away from fast fashion brands) is one step towards creating a more sustainable wardrobe while supporting a cause bigger than just your wardrobe - it's helping to create a healthier planet while improving the lives of garments workers around the world who deserve adequate wages and humane working conditions!
Step 2: Recycle, repurpose, reuse, repair, and make your clothes
Recycle your clothes the right way
Recycling and reusing goods is a great way to build a sustainable wardrobe. Extending the life of the clothes you wear reduces the energy used for disposal and prevents the materials from being sent to landfill.
The recycling process involves separating clothing pieces into individual materials. These materials can be used to create new items. Some items can be recycled into textile fibers, while others can be mixed with other fabrics to produce new products.
Many stores now offer recycling services, or you can donate your old clothing. Sharewear, for example, has several donation points around the UK and the ability to donate used clothing via mail. They take high-quality clothing of all sizes and reuse about 50% of the textiles they collect. Since January 2022, they have diverted 81 tons of clothing from lanfills.
Worn Again works with large fashion brands to provide alternatives to virgin polyester. Their chemical-recycling technology allows them to separate contaminants from the cellulose in the textiles.
Another service, Helpsy, sorts natural and synthetic fabrics by type and turns them into the insulation. They also offer free home pickup from locations in the Northeast US.
There are several options for recycling clothes that cannot be reworn. From textile fibers to insulation, there are many ways to give new life to old garments and help reduce our environmental impact. Through home pickup services, donation points, and retail stores offering recycling services, it's easy to recycle your unwanted clothing. Additionally, companies like Worn Again and Helpsy provide innovative solutions for creating recycled textiles from materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. By taking advantage of these resources, we can create a more eco-friendly fashion industry while helping those in need with quality garments at affordable prices.
Repurpose old garments
Not all clothes can be reused or donated to charity. If you have clothes that are worn out and no longer suitable for donation, don't worry - there are still plenty of ways to repurpose them! Repurposing your old clothes is a great way to extend their life and create something new. You can upcycle your garments into quilts, blankets, pillow covers, or even bags. You can also tailor them to fit by adding patches or embellishments such as buttons and lace. If you're feeling creative, try turning an old shirt into a skirt or pants, or make some accessories like scarves and hats. Finally, if all else fails you can always use the fabric from your old clothes to make craft projects like dolls and stuffed animals or rags for cleaning your home. There are so many possibilities when it comes to repurposing clothing - be creative with it!
Reuse whenever possible
Reusing is a more eco-friendly alternative to recycling. It does not require the same amount of energy and does not use up many raw materials. For example, instead of throwing away a shirt that has already been worn, you can turn it into a rag or a dusting cloth. This saves energy, and it also protects wildlife from pollution. Kleihd and Good On You are other businesses specializing in reusing and recycling. Both companies offer a range of clothing for men, women, and children. All their products are sourced responsibly and do not harm people or animals.
Repair your clothes
Other tips include repairing or replacing worn-out items. Some people throw out their old clothing, which is often unnecessary especially when the fix is simple! A couple online tutorials can go a long way in teaching you how to sew on a missing button or repair a ripped hem. It's best to repurpose what you've got. When shopping for new clothes, consider investing in a few versatile pieces. Whether you're searching for a new suit, a pair of jeans, or a dress, focus on one or two quality pieces that will last years with minor repairs.
Make your clothes
Making your clothes is a great way to help the environment by using fewer resources and creating a unique style. You can learn how to make your clothes by watching videos or taking classes. Making your own clothes can also help you save money and give you a unique look! It can be achieved in several ways, depending on one's skill level and preference.
Many online tutorials show beginners how to make basic garments like t-shirts or skirts. This can involve using recycled fabric and materials, such as old sheets or curtains. Second-hand stores are also an excellent source for finding fabric at discounted prices.
For more experienced sewers, sewing patterns can be purchased online or in retail stores. These patterns provide step-by-step instructions on how to make different types of clothing items.
Step 3: Buy fashion essentials from sustainable brands
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of timeless pieces and accessories that can be mixed and matched to create multiple versatile outfits for all occasions. These key basics and statement pieces are usually tailored to one season and last numerous years. Buy versatile pieces with timeless style - Consider investing in classic garments and accessories with timeless silhouettes and colors instead of trendy items that will be in style for a while. Investing in quality pieces allows you to form a wardrobe designed to last for extended periods. Not only does this save time when choosing an outfit each day, but it's also practical from an environmental perspective. These wardrobes reduce the need to produce more clothing regularly and eliminate unnecessary waste. This helps to lower stress levels on the planet by decreasing pollution levels and conserving resources. With creative styling choices, you can enjoy stylish versatility without compromising the environment -- it's a win-win!
Step 4: Use and take care of what you have
Share with others
Clothing sharing has become a smart way to reduce the amount of clothing in landfills. Sharing your unwanted clothing is a simple way to make a difference, and it can give your closet a fresh new look.
Recreating simple outfits with versatile, fun accessories
One of my favorite things is re-construct old outfits into new ones. This is a lot of fun and can be done with a nebula of brain power, but that requires a budget. The trick is figuring out what to buy and when to buy it. It's all about the right mix of goods and not too much. A good wardrobe planner can make the difference between a memorable night out and a forgettable evening at home. Luckily, I have been fortunate enough to bump into some sassy fashion mavens who are happy to share their tricks of the trade.
Avoid overloading washing your clothing pieces
When you wash your clothes too much, it can make them wear out faster. This is because the washing process causes the fabrics to break down and weaken over time. To ensure your clothes last longer, only wash them when they are dirty. Learn how to balance the health of your skin and the planet when determining what frequency to wash your clothes.
Use the right detergent
Purchasing clothes made to last and reducing the number of washings is one way to build a sustainable wardrobe. Choosing an eco-friendly detergent is another. Many manufacturers offer products made from natural ingredients, but these products can be expensive. If you want an eco-friendly detergent, look for one with third-party certifications. These certifications assess a product's environmental, social, and ecological impact.
If you want an alternative to liquid detergent, try a powder version. This type is much lighter and doesn't require as much water. They also tend to come in recyclable cardboard boxes or compostable cartons. However, choosing a powder detergent containing no artificial fragrances is important.
You can also use baking soda in the wash. Often sold for less than a dollar, baking soda is a cheap, easy, and natural detergent booster. In addition, it can be used to deodorize and soften clothing. Finally, it can boost your garments' freshness by being scented with essential oils, rose petals, or citrus peels.
Creating the sustainable closet of your dreams is possible with careful planning and creative styling choices. Investing in timeless quality pieces, using eco-friendly detergents, and changing how you buy is the key to embracing sustainability in fashion. With these tips in mind, reducing stress levels on the planet is easy while keeping your style fresh and fashionable! So start building your own sustainable wardrobe today for a green future.
Sustainable Wardrobe Frequently Asked Questions
What is a capsule wardrobe?
An environmentally conscious approach to fashion that focuses on sustainability through fewer, more versatile clothing essentials. It emphasizes quality over quantity and seeks to reduce the number of clothing items needed to create a complete wardrobe. This wardrobe typically consists of only a few key items from ethical companies, including blazers, jackets, and button-down shirts that can be mixed and matched for many outfits.
What if I gain or lose weight? What should I do with my clothes that no longer fit?
If you have gained or lost weight and your clothes no longer fit, there are plenty of sustainable options for what to do with them. Depending on the condition of the garments, you could donate them to a local charity shop or swap them with friends or family who might wear them. You could also upcycle or repurpose your garments into new items such as quilts, tote bags, pillow covers, blankets, and more. You can also tailor your dresses to fit, put them in storage, or give them to someone you know who wants them. You can also try new styles that use your clothes in a way you might not have expected (an oversized look can be trendy when styled correctly!)
Finally, if necessary, you can responsibly dispose of clothing that cannot be donated or reused in some way through a textile recycling program.
Should I donate all the clothes I don't want?
Donating clothes can seem like a great idea, but it's necessary to consider the potential downsides. While those in need often welcome donations, not all donated clothing will be put to good use. Many of the donated garments end up in landfills due to factors such as poor quality or lack of demand. This is because much of the clothing people donate is out-of-style, outdated, or worse - stained or ripped. Additionally, donating may only sometimes benefit local economies, as large donation centers bring in foreign-made items with little value for local businesses and craftspeople. Thus, it's important to think twice before donating clothes and ensure that any garments you donate are still suitable for wear. Look into swapping your unwanted clothes with family and friends who might appreciate them more instead of donating—also, repurposing old clothes into new items such as quilts, pillow covers, blankets, and more. If necessary, you can responsibly dispose of clothing that cannot be donated or reused through a textile recycling program - but this should only be done as a last resort.
How can I find a textile recycling program near me?
To find a textile recycling program near you, search online for local charities in your area that accept used clothing. Local thrift stores and charity organizations often have textile recycling programs where you can donate clothes that are still in good condition. You can also check with your local municipality to see if they offer a recycling program for textiles. Finally, many websites and apps will help you locate a nearby textile recycler, such as reuseit.org or earth911.com/clothing-donation/.