Every approach to sustainability and ethical fashion is individual. What might work for you and your lifestyle might not for someone else. So instead of giving you a one size fits all of a conscious closet must-haves, we offer you specific guidelines on how to build your own that will reflect your personal style and values.
1. Find your personal style
The first thing you need to build your sustainable closet is to look at your lifestyle and current wardrobe and be honest with your personal style.
- What do you wear to feel the most like yourself?
- What color dominates your wardrobe?
- What is your wardrobe personality?
Having answers to questions like these will only make building your dream eco wardrobe simpler in the long run. Know what you like and the rest of the process will fall right into place!
2. Audit your wardrobe
Before you make any changes, give your closet a look through and ‘audit’ what’s already there. This step requires some cut-throat honesty, so get ready!
Create a pile with these items. These are the pieces to keep and incorporate into your sustainable wardrobe. It will also give you a better idea of your personal style and the clothing items you’re more naturally drawn to.
Create another pile with these items. These are the pieces to give away, sell or donate. It’s the tougher call of the two but this is where honesty is necessary. Does this item, in the words of Marie Kondo, “spark joy”? If the answer is negative, toss it. No hard feelings!
Now that the hard work is behind you, you’ll be able to easily spot the gaps in your future sustainable wardrobe! Now, you know exactly what you have and what you don’t and with your defined personal style, you know exactly what to look for! Make a mental note of what you can be on the hunt for when shopping.
3. Shop for what you need
After doing step 2, now you know exactly what you need to complete your wardrobe. So before doing any purchase, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the item fit my defined wardrobe personality?
- Will it pair well with the rest of your clothing?
- Will I wear this a minimum of 30 times?
Ask yourself these questions when you shop. They’ll help you to stay focused on your conscious closet and you’ll stop buying “dust-collecting items” and wasting money.
4. Do a sustainable check
A sustainable check = ethics + environment + quality
Does the item meet all 3 of the criteria? When shopping, consider the following:
- Is the item ethically made and sourced?
- Are the materials used eco-friendly?
- Is the item well-made and designed to last?
- What will happen to the item at the end of its ‘lifespan’?
A crucial part of building a sustainable wardrobe is being more selective about what you bring into it. So choosing ethical clothing items that will last is key. If a clothing item clears this part of your shopping screening process, you can be sure your values will be well represented in your wardrobe.
Shopping second hand is another way to build your sustainable closet. Keeping pre-loved clothing items out of landfills and giving them a second wind may be a more cost-effective option for buying things new.
5. Take care of your clothing
After a series of gradual changes in your dream conscious wardrobe, prioritize its maintenance and care. You’ve got to treat the good stuff, well. Taking care of the pieces you’ve intentionally included in your sustainable wardrobe will lengthen their lifespan.
Note this doesn’t mean to throw everything into the wash more often. In fact, quite the opposite. Everything in your wardrobe will require different kinds of care and attention, make sure to give it the love it needs. A truly sustainable wardrobe considers the environment even in the after wear process. Eco-fashion powerhouse, Stella McCartney says to even just brush off the dirt! Taking care of your wardrobe is a mindful action towards ownership and care for our beautiful planet.
Building a sustainable wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight or over the shop counter. It starts with asking yourself the hard questions and doing the hard ‘auditing’ work before you even start shopping. And when you do start, it will be the slow, mindful and ethical kind.
Let us know what part of the building process you enjoy the most and which step you find the most challenging. We love to hear from you!