According to a report by the United Nations, about 10 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions come from the fashion industry. And while it may be tempting to think that there’s little you can do to address this issue, the truth is you have more power than you realize. Besides helping spread awareness and supporting environmental causes, you can start creating a more sustainable wardrobe. Being conscientious about your shopping habits and the ways you consume fashion helps to minimize your impact on the planet. Instead of buying all the clothes you like whenever you want, consider slowing down and assessing your options in terms of quality, versatility, and sustainability.
Perhaps you’re interested in transforming your closet and updating its contents with more environment-friendly clothing choices. If so, read on. From shopping the right way to maintaining your clothes, this piece will offer several tips to help you build a sustainable wardrobe.
Buy from Sustainable Fashion Brands
A significant part of putting together a more sustainable wardrobe is being extra mindful of the clothing brands you patronize. You may not realize it, but many popular fashion brands produce garments in ways that substantially harm the environment. These businesses dump toxic dyes and chemicals into bodies of water, waste valuable resources, and cause many other environmental problems.
That said, you need to learn to be more conscious of your purchases. Let’s say you plan to shop leggings, shirts, and other staple pieces to update your wardrobe. Search for clothing brands that adopt sustainable practices and standards in their operations and buy from them. Besides being eco-friendly, these sustainable brands usually offer high-quality and durable products. Purchasing from them essentially helps you get the best value for your money, care for the planet, and fill your closet with pieces you can wear for a long time.
Consider Purchasing Used Items
Aside from buying clothes from sustainable brands, you may also want to consider shopping for secondhand pieces if you need to fill gaps in your closet. When you purchase and use pre-loved clothes, you’re maximizing their usability, keeping them out of landfills, and reducing their carbon footprint. And what’s more, this alternative offers plenty of advantages that extend far beyond your closet.
For one, you can stretch your budget, as secondhand clothing costs considerably less than new clothes. For another, you can find one-of-a-kind items if you know where and how to shop secondhand. Vintage clothing, rare designer garments, and high-end pieces are a few examples of great fashion finds you can score at secondhand shops or thrift stores.
Opt for Versatile Pieces
A sustainable wardrobe is one that’s packed with versatile clothing pieces—clothes that you can readily mix and match to create multiple looks that suit different occasions and seasons. A white button-down shirt, a pencil skirt, a pair of denim jeans, and a black midi dress are some must-haves you may want to invest in, as they go well with most items in your closet and are easy to dress up and down. With such pieces in your style arsenal, you can make the most of the things you own and reduce the need to shop for new items.
Extend the Life of Your Clothes
Did you know that the average American discards over eighty pounds of clothes every year? Imagine the amount of waste this throw-away attitude creates and how it hurts the planet. To reduce the number of clothes being dumped into landfills or burned, you may need to adopt certain habits to make your clothes wearable and usable for a long time. Here are some things you can do toward this end:
- Invest in quality pieces. If you want your clothes to last, you should start by investing in superior-quality clothing. Check the seams, inspect the fabric, and assess the construction of the garment before buying to ensure that it’s well-made. Remember not to rely solely on price because expensive doesn’t always guarantee good quality.
- Avoid overwashing. Washing your clothes too frequently can cause them to deteriorate quickly. Unless your garments have visible stains or are soaked in sweat, find other alternatives to refresh your outfits without throwing them in the washing machine. Perhaps you can air them out or spray them with a water and vodka solution if you want to eliminate unpleasant smells.
- Launder gently. Because the tumbling action of your washing machine can be rough on your garments, it’s advisable to find ways to clean your clothes with minimal stress. For instance, you can place them in a laundry bag to minimize tearing. You can also use mild detergent and natural cleaners, such as baking soda and vinegar, instead of bleach to keep the integrity and color of the fabrics.
- Check the care labels. Make sure to read and follow the care instructions printed on the labels before washing, drying, or ironing your clothes. That way, you’ll learn how to maintain the quality of your garments correctly.
- Mend your clothes. If you have garments with holes, rips, or other signs of wearing out, choose to repair them instead of throwing them out immediately. You can mend them yourself or seek the help of a professional tailor to save and prolong the life of your favorite pieces.
Building a more sustainable wardrobe is a continuing process. It entails commitment and consistency in making mindful decisions about your clothing choices to ensure minimal impact on the environment. Start your sustainable fashion journey today by keeping the above tips in mind as you purchase, select, wear, and preserve your clothes.