We all make choices to positively impact the environment every day. It is critical to understand that we are stewards of this planet and that it’s our responsibility to leave things better than we left them. While it’s easy to ditch single-use plastics, walk instead of drive when possible, or even line dry your laundry, one area people struggle with is how to achieve sustainable fashion choices. If you’re ready to take your environmentalism to the next level and start building a more sustainable wardrobe, keep reading for the essential steps to make the dream a reality.
Consider a Capsule Wardrobe
It wouldn’t be sustainable to declutter your entire wardrobe in the name of environmentalism, but it’s worth considering a capsule wardrobe as you move forward. Capsule wardrobes are great for several reasons, reducing decision fatigue and sustainability being two big ones. When you curate a wardrobe of neutral basics or easily interchangeable items, you can make many outfits out of a few key pieces. Owning less clothing also means less need to do laundry, saving valuable water resources and the energy used to power a dryer.
Quality Versus Quantity
Reducing the number of wardrobe pieces you purchase through a minimalist or capsule wardrobe is one piece of the puzzle, but investing in high-quality items that will last is also essential for a sustainable wardrobe. An example of quality over quantity would be, instead of buying several pairs of cheap trainers, investing in men’s tennis shoes with arch support that will keep you comfortable and work for various activities is smarter. Another would be, instead of five pairs of cheaply made, inferior denim, purchasing a high-end pair of jeans that fit you perfectly and could potentially last a lifetime. When you invest in quality, you’re more likely to mend and repair clothing than donate it or throw it out.
Look At the Label
When you do need to shop for new wardrobe items, and you want to do it sustainably, take a look at the garment’s label. If it’s composed of textiles you can’t pronounce, it’s not environmentally friendly. Opt for wardrobe pieces made from natural textiles like cotton and linen. That way, when the time comes that the item is no longer usable, it will break down much easier. Before tossing it, look for ways to upcycle that t-shirt into a washcloth or bandana. You can also recycle these items at a local textile recycling center. Natural textiles are much more likely to be upcycled when recycled.
Know How to Launder Your Clothing
Once you’ve curated your sustainable wardrobe, knowing how to care for it in the most climate-conscious way is paramount. Firstly, clothing doesn’t need to wash as frequently as some might imagine. In fact, except undergarments, most items can get several wears in before they need to be cleaned. When it comes to jeans and overshirts, you can stretch them even further. When it is time to launder your clothing, wash in cold water – it’s easier on your clothes and the planet. Line drying is better for your clothing, too, than a drying machine. Running clothing through the dryer wears them down significantly faster than line drying. It may seem time-consuming, but once you get used to drying your clothes on a rack or line, it becomes second nature.
Rent Instead of Buy
A growing and sustainable way to get specialty items for a wardrobe is through renting. Have a wedding coming up? A big sales meeting? You may need a suit or dressier outfit that you don’t already have at home; instead of going out and purchasing something that may not fit you a year from now, seek out online clothing rental businesses. You can look sharp for the event and return afterward. Easy on your wallet and the environment.
Other steps to a sustainable wardrobe include shopping second-hand, donating clothing to charities, using eco-friendly detergents, and more. By implementing the above-mentioned steps, you’re well on your way to curating a sustainable wardrobe you can look good in and feel great about. Putting in a little research and seeking out brands that manufacture clothing sustainably is worth the effort too. Over time, sustainable shopping and dressing will become easy, and you’ll have a collection you can be proud of; you’ve got this.
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