With the start of a new season, I’m starting to change out my summer dresses, skirts and tanks with scarves, sweaters and boots and I’m feeling a fresh breath of style sweep through my wardrobe. Fashion and style are unavoidable; everyone must choose in the morning what to wear and how to look. It’s a part of our daily lives for everyone and most people consider it an expression of who and what they are.
As much as I love being a girl and enjoy fashion…I also love our earth and I know what the detrimental impact of creating a new piece of clothing is on our environment the toll it takes to get to me from around the world where it most likely was created. So how can I possibly keep up? With the goal of simplifying my life (and my wardrobe), how do I balance the changing seasons and the evolution of my personal style?
Here are a few ways I manage my closet while trying to keep the environmental impact of my decisions in mind:
#1 – Thrift Stores & Donating – I am a firm believer in clean sweeping my closet every 6 months to purge all the items I no longer wear or fit. And I also believe in not keeping an article of clothing for emotional purposes (oh, my grandmother got me that for Christmas!). Whether you donate or save for a garage sale, pass along your unwanted items to those who could find them a new home. And in turn, if you are looking to make some quick updates to your wardrobe, be sure to visit your local thrift store or flea market first. I always seem to find re-used, inexpensive treasures to mix into my closet and sometimes the proceeds from your purchase are put towards a greater cause (Goodwill, Salvation Army) – double bonus!
#2 – Share – I am extremely fortunate to have an identical twin sister who is my body build (mostly) and we have always shared clothes. While she has a slightly more funky/retro/grungy look about her style, I can always find pieces in her closet that I can make my own. Start a sharing circle to pass along items for others to borrow and in turn you get fresh new pieces to incorporate to your wardrobe. This is an awesome way to expand your looks without spending any money or buying new. I recently found a closet sharing App called MaterialWrld that might make this idea an easy reality for you. Sharing does cost money but reusing clothes goes a long way to helping protect our earth!
Check out their website –> http://www.materialwrld.com
#3 – Quality Staple Pieces & Blend – If you are looking to make some real changes to your closet, buy quality staple pieces. Spend a little extra money on a great black dress, a new suit, a blazer or a winter jacket when you know it’s something that will be a part of your wardrobe for years to come. This will prevent you from having to replace the same pieces over and over. Also, one thing I have come to learn is to blend your clothes. A majority of my clothes come in the same color palettes: ivory, blush, brown and green. Most of my pieces work well together and this makes my wardrobe more versatile. To prevent getting bored, trying spicing up your outfits with an extra pop of color with a scarf or necklace to accessorize.
#4 – Fair Trade / Organic & Sustainable / Local – When you do buy new, try buying in a green way. This includes (but not limited to) finding Fair Trade clothing lines that ensure the workers creating your clothes are guaranteed fair wages, good benefits and enriched communities. There are so many great online Fair Trade shops and many of them carry organic and sustainable fabrics and clothing. Maybe try and find a couple of favorite local stores or artisans to patronize. I love browsing the downtown shops looking for one-of-a-kind pieces and supporting small business owners. Do your research before you shop at a new store and see what they believe in. Look for people who are intentionally trying to be a positive force in the fashion industry and give your shopping dollar to people you believe in.
#5 – Sew Your Own – This one may seem a bit far fetched for some people, but if you are extra crafty and creative… I recently purchased my first sewing machine and took a class at JoAnn Fabrics to learn the basics of sewing. I found an online resources for buying organic fabrics and have every intention of making some clothes for my kids and myself. Now, I haven’t exactly done this yet, but there’s no easier way to get exactly what you want in the style and color you want than to design it yourself. I’ll let you know how this one goes after I start my first project 🙂
#6 – Keep Things Simple – Ah, there’s that word again. Simplify. When in doubt, don’t buy it. Keep your closet and clothes very simple and remind yourself that you really don’t need that new pair of shoes or jeans. It is impossible to keep up with the ever-changing fashion industry, as much as they’d love for you to try. Take a step back and stay focused on the fact that materialistic things in life really do not matter and your wallet (and husband) will thank you for it later.
What are some of the ways you have “greened” your closet? What do you find the most challenging part of updating your wardrobe? I would love to hear your comments below!