What is a sustainable wardrobe?
So, what is a sustainable wardrobe? To answer that we need to define sustainability. To me, sustainability is about the environmental impact of the production, use and disposal of the things we buy or use. When thinking about clothing, it’s how it’s produced, how it’s packaged, how it’s transported, how it’s washed and dried and then how it’s disposed of at the end of its life. Clearly there are other ethical concerns which are just as important like the working conditions of those that make a garment. But personally I think of these as separate issues to sustainability.
We’ve already talked about shopping sustainably which boils down to buying less, buying quality and buying natural fabrics. The other part of sustainable fashion is about maintaining a sustainable wardrobe. It’s how we care for our clothes and how we dispose of them when we don’t want them any more.
5 tips to make your wardrobe more sustainable
1. Organise your wardrobe so that you know what you have
Before I moved house, I Kondo’d all my possessions, it was incredibly cathartic. I then organised my drawers and wardrobe so that I can see everything at first glance. Not only does it make dressing much easier, I no longer have those forgotten items. Ultimately, being able to see at a glance what you have means you’ll buy less.
2. Get your clothes tailored
I’ve talked about this on Instagram before. If you’ve bought something that you like but aren’t wearing it as it doesn’t fit quite right then get it altered to give it a new lease of life. Clothes that fit properly are more loved and will therefore have a longer life. And I know that if I spend extra on something I am more likely to look after it better.
Also, mend holes and tears and replace buttons. Or get your Mum to do it 👍
3. Wash your clothes less
I like this one as it gives me an excuse to be in my natural state – a bit lazy! And I HATE putting clothes away, although it’s better with my new Kondo-style system (the lazy version of) as that gives me more satisfaction at the end (what’s happened to me!?)! The Energy Saving Trust has shown that washing accounts for 60–80% of a piece of clothing’s environmental impact and a 30 degree wash should save an extra 40%. Also dry naturally (I’m too scared to put clothes in the tumble drier anyway!).
Natural fabrics, in particular merino wool, also have more longevity between washes as they don’t retain body odour nearly as much as polyester which really loves to keep hold of the smelly stuff.
4. Sell or donate unwanted clothes
Unloved items still in good condition? Then sell or donate to charity. I sold loads on ebay after my Kondo-ing as it was really good quality stuff (brands like Maje and Sandro) but just related to a different part of my life (mostly party dresses)! It’s amazing what you can get for some things. And even if you just cover postage at least it gets a new life. Obviously charity shops are a good option but if you’ve got unloved workwear then look at donating to Dress for Success which helps women get back into the workplace.
5. Never throw clothes in the bin
If you put clothing in the bin it will either end up in an incinerator or landfill. If they can’t be given a new lease of life then recycle them, either at stores like H&M or at your local recycling centre.
I’m sure you guys know a lot of that but hopefully it’s at least a helpful reminder or motivator. It’s not easy doing the right thing, it normally requires more thought and effort but it is worth it. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips on maintaining a sustainable wardrobe.