Easy ways to be eco-conscious with your wardrobe
Most of us like to have multiple choices of every item of clothing hanging in our wardrobes. With constant pressure to buy new styles and low prices, it has become easy to buy clothes that we only wear a couple of times or sometimes never wear at all. We all know how exciting it is to find a new 'favourite' item and it's easy to discount the environmental impact of our purchases. Buying cheap clothes, that we replace within less than six months, has become normal. In fact, according to the McKinsey analysis, more than 100 billion garments are produced every year. Sustainability needs to become a priority and now is the time we all need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of our excessive need for more and more clothes.
Check the manufacturer
Clothing companies are starting to realise consumers want to buy clothes that are produced in an ethical and eco-friendly way. Look out for companies that promote ethical manufacturing of clothing. Consider the fabric your clothes are made of and try to purchase items made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton and natural fibres such as wool and cashmere.
Look at your favourite brands and check out the companies' ethos relating to their environmental impact. Consider buying from specialist shops that resell designer clothes. Not only can you get a real bargain, but you are being eco-conscious by reducing the number of clothes that end up in landfill, especially when you consider that over 15 million tonnes of textile and fabric are discarded every year in the US alone.
Watch your wash temperature
Washing clothes at a lower temperature can help the fibres stay in optimal condition for longer. By lowering the temperature to 30°C you will prolong the life of your clothes, but don't forget to use an eco-friendly washing powder as well.
Avoid using your tumble dryer as this may cause clothes to lose their shape, instead try to dry clothes outside or inside on an air dryer.
Buy a steamer and use it on jackets and coats to make them fresh again. Wear jeans more than once and layer clothes so you only need to wash what is next to your skin.
Repurpose and repair
Find a local seamstress to alter your clothes and design your own unique, one-off pieces. Dresses and skirts can be made shorter, long sleeves can be cropped and when done by an expert, will look as if they were made that way to begin with. Instead of searching for your next 'perfect' item, take a look at what you already have and consider how you can transform them. Look online at haberdasheries for inspiration on ways to customise a tired jacket or jeans. Conceal rips or stains and let your creative side loose with ribbons, buttons, and embellishments.
Not only will you have the satisfaction of knowing you created what you're wearing, but you are guaranteed no one will have anything like it!
Invest in versatile items
Known as staple items, have a basic wardrobe of quality items that can be combined to give you an outfit that will make you feel good regardless of the time of day or where you are. A blazer can look smart and casual, depending on what you wear with it. Broaches and belts can instantly transform an item to give it a vintage vibe. Dresses can be worn with flats and a denim jacket for a casual feel. Change into high heels and swap the jacket for a cape and you're ready for the night. When you replace clothes, take your time, consider what shapes and styles look good, and don't be swayed by new trends. Instead, choose something you like most about the current catwalk looks and incorporate it into your wardrobe.