Monday, October 2, 2023

Want a More Sustainable Wardrobe? Make These 5 Habits Your Priority


Who doesn’t want a stylish, sustainable wardrobe that will last? Adopting these habits can help you avoid the fast-fashion trap.

If you’ve been following fashion trends in the past few years, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the term “fast fashion.” This term refers to the rapid production and consumption of high volumes of cheap and trendy clothing.

While fast fashion might seem like a good thing at first for people who are looking for affordable yet stylish pieces, it comes at a great price. This is because the fast fashion industry is a major waste generator. It’s estimated that the industry contributes ten percent of global carbon emissions and sends millions of tons of textile waste to landfills each year. At the same time, many fast fashion manufacturing facilities offer their workers unsafe working conditions and unfair wages.

Slow fashion is, as the name implies, the total opposite of fast fashion. It’s a movement that rejects mindless, rapid consumption and champions sustainability within the fashion industry. Adherents of slow fashion purchase clothing items and fashion accessories in a mindful and intentional manner.

Often, these conscientious consumers look into how fashion brands source and process materials, manufacture clothes, and impact the communities surrounding their facilities before making a purchase. They’re using their financial resources to influence the fashion industry to slow down, treat people fairly, come up with quality products, and reduce the impact of their fashion choices on the environment.

1. Invest in quality

First and foremost, you need to be intentional with your fashion purchases. This means having standards for your clothes and accessories.

a woman sits on a curb
Courtesy Vadim Paripa | Unsplash

However, not all expensive clothing items are made to last, so it’s important to do your research before you spend your money. If you’re paying for an expensive dress or shirt, for instance, it’s best to make sure that the bulk of what you’re paying is spent on sustainably sourced materials, just compensation for workers, and high-level craftsmanship. If the cost of production was actually spent on these, then you can count on the product to last for years.

2. Look for versatility

Seasonality is a valid concern when shopping for clothes and curating a wardrobe that’s meant to work for you in the next few years. After all, it can be quite a challenge to keep up with current looks and trends if you’re not buying clothes left and right. Perhaps having a bit of knowledge about how these trendy pieces of clothing were manufactured can help you feel less pressure to buy into the latest trends.

woman hanging clothes to dry
Can you make your wardrobe versatile? | Yaroslav Shuraev via Pexels

Oftentimes, though, you can stick to clothes that complement your own style. If you like understated looks, for instance, you can choose neutral-colored clothes in classic cuts and silhouettes that you can wear and layer all year round. These clothes will still look good even as trends change. Once you find your style sensibilities and stick to them, you won’t easily get swayed by seasonal fashion changes.

3. Mend and repair

Acquiring durable clothes that complement your style is just half the battle. It’s also a must to take good care of these pieces so that they can keep looking good for years to come. When wearing clothes that you use for more formal activities like meeting with clients, for example, be mindful of your actions. Avoid getting them stained or ripped, as this can permanently mar their appearance.

Slow Factory's Open Edu
Courtesy Tima Miroshnichenko | Unsplash

Tears and rips can often be mended and given new life. Look for repair options before you toss the article of clothing in the trash. And if a garment can’t be worn, find new ways of using it. Can you turn it into a rag, a patch, or some other item?

4. Wash with care

Washing your clothes is important but it can also contribute to the wear and tear of your garments. To reduce the risk of prematurely ruining your clothes, carefully read and follow the care instructions before you toss the fabric into the washing machine.

Some clothes can be worn multiple times before they need a wash such as denim, sweaters, and some eveningwear, among other items.

hand wash clothes
Courtesy cottonbro | Pexels

If you have clothes that are too delicate, opt to hand wash them instead to avoid damaging their form and structure. After washing the clothes, hang them to air dry, especially on sunny and windy days. Doing so can help lower your carbon footprint and preserve the look of your favorite fashion pieces.

In the case your clothes get stained or incur damages, address these issues at once to keep them from worsening. Stains should be pretreated before washing, and using a quality detergent is key to upkeep the life of the garment.

5. Invest your time

It can take quite a while to build a wardrobe that’s suited to your style. Quality clothes take more time and money to manufacture, so you might have to wait a bit to get your hands on the articles of clothing that are suited to your standards. Use the long waiting period to build up your funds so that you can immediately buy the item you need once it’s available.

woman in the sun
Courtesy Hong Nguyen | Unsplash

It’s also a good idea to think about how you want your style to evolve and how your next purchase of clothes can help usher in that fashion transformation. Can you find suitable garments secondhand? Or swap with someone?

With a little bit of research, patience, and budgeting, you’ll be able to build a guilt-free and high-quality wardrobe that looks good on you. By then, you can be sure that the long-lasting clothes and accessories you are wearing will enable you to feel great inside and out. 

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