The start of a new season is an exciting time, especially Spring, and the desire for a "New Look" or "Fresh Start" can be strongest this time of the year. To help avoid regrettable purchases and wardrobe-purges we wanted to share a few things to keep in mind if you're seeking a more sustainable approach to your seasonal wardrobe switch out.... we hope you enjoy!
1. Buy well the first time
The most effective way to reduce waste in your wardrobe is to extend the life of the garments you purchase. This is key to a sustainable wardrobe as you can't extend the life of pieces that were a poor choice, or low quality to begin with. You can look at the pieces in your existing wardrobe and check out which brands are the ones that make the pieces you wear for years and years, and look at styles that you wear a lot to get a feel for how to buy intentionally to ensure you can maximise your use out of the pieces you get.
2. Take care seriously
Look at the care instructions on your clothes and make sure you are able to look after them the way you need to. If you are not going to hand wash delicate items then we suggest not purchasing them to begin with. There is a balance to be made when it comes to care and fabric choices. On one hand your polyester and synthetic fabrics are much easier to care for and therefore might last longer, however they are less likely to break down and return to the environment easily. On the other hand natural fibres (cotton, silk, bamboo, hemp, wool etc.) require more careful care to maintain a quality appearance but will breakdown much more easily. Looking after clothing correctly will help extend the life of your pieces.
3. Mend & Tailor
If you have pieces you like, or have been given and they're not quite right, for example maybe they are too big, small, old fashioned etc., consider finding yourself a tailor (or just someone who can sew!) and explore ideas for making some adjustments so you can wear them again. This is a fun creative activity and it's awesome to be able to give a garment a new lease on life!
4. Giveaway, Consign or Donate
When you are doing a clean out make sure you look to find new homes for pieces that are still in good shape but are just no longer for you. There is a huge resurgence in consigning and it is well worth getting connected to a store that will sell things your behalf. If pieces are not able to be sold on then you can always look to give them away to friends or family, or donate. One note on donating, make sure the pieces are clean, tidy and of course there are things that they won't accept such as undergarments. Best thing to do is follow any guidelines provided by the organisation to make sure you're not giving them things they can't use.
5. Explore Sustainable & Other Options...
The Clothing and Apparel Industry is notorious for waste and many of the big brand names create huge excess volumes of clothes that either live very short lives OR end up incinerated! It's not a good situation for the environment, for your wallet, for too many reasons to list here. One thing is clear, it's time to start exploring more sustainable options for our wardrobes.
We do know that it's not always possible to choose the most perfectly sustainable, ethical options as these can be more expensive (and budget constraints are a real thing!) so we encourage you to look at first purchasing pieces you know you will wear more than a couple of times, and choosing the highest quality you can afford, it all comes back to 1. Choosing well and extending the life of what we already have.
We hope you have a few ideas to get you going!