This may be a shocking statement coming from an owner of a vintage shop who is dependent on selling clothing to make a living...
But the most sustainable option when it comes to style and fashion is to not purchase anything to add to your wardrobe and to wear what you already!
We have become conditioned by fast fashion to buy a piece for cheap, wear them once or twice, then discard it and repeat the pattern. The mentality has become, "It's so cheap, if I only wear it once it's worth the purchase."
Switching to sustainable style means taking into consideration the resources used to make each item of clothing you wear. These include but are not limited to water, land, labor and transportation costs. With the fast fashion industry contributing to 10% of global pollution that's a lot to consider!
To honor the resources used, you should wear the articles you already own repeatedly. Have you ever thought about how many times you have to wear an article of clothing before it can be considered a "sustainable buy?"
Livia Firth, of Eco-Age, estimated that it is 30 wears. This led her to start The 30 Wear Challenge aimed at encouraging consumers to be mindful when shopping. We should ask ourselves why are we buying something and how many times do we think we might wear the item before tiring of it. This is all in order to create a sense of style and curate a wardrobe we love and that loves the planet.
If youre curious about how to start this process just follow the simple guide below for my top 3 suggestion for curating a more sustainable wardrobe:
1. Examine what you already have. Take everything out of your closet and dressers (very Marie Kondo) and only put back what you regularly wear or think you will wear. Say goodbye to those items that are worn once every couple of years, they are taking up space and could be enjoyed by someone else. Once everything is back in your closet, use the reverse hanger trick to discover what items you gravitate to. This technique will show you what you are really wearing compared to what you think you are wearing.
2. Wait to purchase. Found something you "HAVE TO HAVE"? Take a breath, can it wait? If so, put off that purchase for a day or two (especially if it’s online). You may find that the “NEED” you thought you had has dissipated or discovered there was a more sustainable way to fill this desire. Remember fashion is fleeting while style is forever. Choosing style is rarely as simple as an impulse buy.
3. Get comfortable with Not Shopping Retail. There are lots of apps, second hand stores and websites to help you fill in your style needs in a sustainable way. If you become familiar with your local thrift shop or find an app that gives you that vintage look, try shopping there first. You will be shocked how everything from daily essentials, to vintage looks, to high fashion at low prices is available with an eco-friendly vibe.
These are simple ways to start your sustainable style make over, but remember these switches are more than just throwing everything away and starting over. Buy what you love, wear what you have, and be mindful as you add.