How to Be Stylish While Being Gentle on the Planet
Summer is around the corner and who can resist the urge to buy new clothes? But how can we create a greener wardrobe without giving up our love for "fashion therapy”?
We can do something about it, one step at a time. Let me share some achievable tips to help you create a lasting, greener wardrobe.
Go shopping in your own closet.
First, start with what you have and redesign your style into one that makes you feel be-YOU-tiful.
The clothing already hanging in your closet and filling your drawers are items you fell in love with, bought, and stored there. Maybe you wore that dress once last year, or maybe you waited for after that diet to fit back into those jeans, or maybe you forgot about that T-shirt that brightens your heart.
For me, all these examples are autobiographical because I personally went through my closet. I put some music on, went to my closet, and cleaned it out.
Believe me, it feels so good. I sorted things between what I really love, what I wanted to donate, and recycled everything else.
Donating and getting rid of unwanted clothing is your first step toward a greener wardrobe.
Through this process, I redesigned my fashion style, created new outfits with my own old clothes, and even made a fashion show for my family!
If you enjoyed donating your gently worn clothes, you might really enjoy being a secondhand buyer.
Did you know vintage and secondhand shopping is one of the most sustainable ways to buy clothes?
By shopping secondhand, you help recycle and reduce the huge amount of waste in the landfill, all while enjoying a new item for your closet.
Here are some tips to get started:
• Visit a local thrift store or flea market in your area.(Due to coronavirus-related closures, check to see if stores are open on their websites.)
• Organize a garage sale, special "fashion" or participate in your community-wide garage sale
• Try an online secondhand shop, such as thredUP.com.
• Organize a clothing swap party online (or in-person when coronavirus regulations allow gatherings again).
Adopt a mindful shopping attitude.
Did you know that “fast fashion,” defined as cheap, trendy, low quality, or rapid production, is the second biggest polluter on the planet?
The clothing industry uses mostly polyester, which is essentially made of plastic and is not biodegradable.
Do not forget that material can be durable, but fashion is not.
The secret to reducing fast fashion consumption is to buy with intention. (Well, I confess that it is the hardest part.) This mindset shift does not happen overnight, but it gets easier.
Here are some tips:
• Buy what you really need. When shopping, ask yourself, “Do you really like that shirt? Is it for a specific occasion? Can you pair it with comfortable and cute pants? Don’t you already have its twin in your closet?”
• Look for ethical and responsible brands. Take time to learn how they make their clothes, what material they use, and what good causes they promote. Choose organic fibers made from bamboo or hemp, linen, or organic cotton – these plants can be grown and harvested repeatedly, are better for your sensitive skin, and last longer. Some fair trade and ethical companies I like are Pact (affordable), Patagonia (for outdoors outfits), and Rent the Runway (if you want a dress for a special occasion).
• Learn how to curb the urge by making a list of what you would really love to purchase and wait several days before buying it. After all, kids master this when they wait for a special event, birthday, or holiday. You can do it, too.
With all this advice, you are set for the green fashion season! Enjoy and take care!
Where to Recycle Clothing and Shoes? Locally, you can take gently used clothing to Food and Clothing Bank and Value Village, Goodwill (after COVID-19 closures, check their websites for details). Local Public Utilities and King County Waste Division provide robust online resources to find ways to discard your clothes without throwing them into the garbage.
See the Threadcycle program, which helps decrease your impact on the planet by reusing or recycling your unwanted clothes, shoes, and linens. Please note: Clothing does not belong in the recycle bin.
“This story was first published in Issaquah Highlands’ Connections news, June 2020”