‘Eco-friendly’ seems to be the words on everyone’s lips at the moment, from food to cleaning products to beauty, everyone wants to go ethical, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
The only problem when it comes to sustainability is that it can be costly, which can make it challenging to manage both your money and your morals when you’re on a budget.
However, whatever your reasons are for wanting to get more ethical with your clothing, here are the best ways for you to ensure that your wardrobe is as sustainable as it is stylish for Spring, that way you won’t have to compromise on either!
How to Ensure Your New Eco-Friendly Wardrobe Doesn’t Break the Bank
Ensure that you’re shopping ethically – research your brands
Before you go ahead and make any purchases, you want to have done your research on your brands and ensure that their ethics are in line with what your beliefs are.
Whether you’re all pro-vegan leather and faux fur or you’d like to see more brands using recyclable and biodegradable materials in their designs, make sure you know who’s doing what and where you can purchase these items for less (although be warned that most ethical brand clothing is more pricey!).
Go more minimalist with your clothing
Most people have bundles of clothes in their wardrobes, and yet they only wear less than a quarter of them, that’s a sure sign that you need to go minimalist.
By buying fewer clothes, you can afford to buy more expensive and sustainable items, which will not only help you feel better about how and where your clothes are coming from; but will also ensure that your clothing lasts for longer.
Although it can be difficult to downsize your wardrobe at first, if you’re only wearing a few clothes from your closet, it makes sense to get rid of all of those clothes you aren’t wearing and free up some space, which leads onto our next point.
Recycle, reuse or donate – don’t throw!
Fashions and styles come and go, that’s just an unfortunate and unforgiving part of the fashion industry.
Nevertheless, 300,000 tonnes of clothing waste is created each year in the UK alone; therefore if you want to be more ethical with your wardrobe, you should ensure that you also dispose of your unwanted clothes appropriately, so you aren’t contributing to that waste.
If you’ve got items that you’re no longer crazy about wearing, here’s just a few options of what you can do with them:
- Donate: If your clothes are still in good condition, but you don’t wear them anymore, then why not donate them to your local charity shop or visit your nearest clothes for cash shop. Ensuring that your unwanted clothes are being put to good use and helping others who need it most.
- Reuse: Perhaps some of the clothes in your wardrobe aren’t looking so great, if there are holes in them, or they’ve lost their colour through years of washing, then why not repurpose them. Old t-shirts can make great in-expensive cloths for polishing your car or be made into reusable tote bags.
- Recycle: Most of your old clothes can be recycled and made into all manner of different things, so why not give your unwanted clothes a new lease of life? Some high-street stores such as H&M reward their customers with a £5 voucher for every bag of clothing they recycle. How great is that? They also have their own reasonably-priced sustainable line called ‘Conscious’.
Set yourself purchasing rules
When you go to buy clothing, to ensure that you’re likely to get enough wear out of your purchases, set yourself a set of guidelines or ‘rules’ if you will before you follow through, such as:
- The 30-wear rule: ask yourself, will I wear this 30 times? If you will, that’s great, and it’s well worth buying, as you’ll get your money’s worth. However, if you are dubious about the style or that you won’t get enough wear out of it, put it back! It isn’t worth it!
- Is it my aesthetic?: ask yourself whether it is in line with what you’d typically wear on a day to day basis. I know we all like to shake things up a bit, but if it isn’t compatible with the rest of the items in your closet, is it worth it?
- Is it multi-seasonal?: if you can get multiple season’s wear out of your clothes, that’s a bonus. Ask yourself if you could dress up that skirt with a jumper in the Autumn and vest in the Spring. If you can, you’re getting more wear for your money!
Mend, customise and repurpose your existing clothing
Your old faithful jeans ripped? Has a thread come out of your favourite jumper? Got a stain on your new t-shirt? Here are just a few ways you can salvage those trusty items in your wardrobe that have probably seen better days!
Rips, holes and worn patches:
- Add patches
- Embroider patterns
- Restitch seams
- Make jeans into shorts
- Crop denim jackets;
- Or remove the sleeves
Snags in jumpers:
- Pull the thread through the other side with a safety pin
- Add embellishments, such as pearls or beads;
- Or embroider patterns
Stains on clothing:
- Dye clothing
- Crop clothing
- Add patches
- Use fabric paints
Consider clothing and closet swaps with friends
Jealous of one of your friend’s wardrobes, or maybe you and a few of your friends have similar tastes and are around the same size? That’s ideal, why not propose either a clothing swap evening or try out a week wardrobe swapping with your friends for a laugh?
The whole premise of a clothing swap evening is that you and your friends all bring one to three items of clothing from your wardrobe that you don’t wear but still think someone else would love to have in their wardrobe. This could be something you’ve worn but no longer fits or something you’ve never worn because it wasn’t you, whatever it is, you’re going to find it a new home.
You and your friends swap between yourselves, and each goes home with the same amount of items as you brought with you!
Alternatively, a wardrobe swap is where you completely swap wardrobes with one of your friends. This can be ideal for those of you who are living with friends or family members who you wish to trade with, such as when you’re at university or have a close-knit family. You then agree to swap wardrobes to get access to a wider variety of clothes without having to pay anything!
Get thrifty – buy second hand and vintage
Whether you want some spectacular items of clothing to add to your wardrobe, or just some everyday basics or common staples, you need to get thrifty.
Visiting charity and second-hand shops and even browsing online websites such as Depop, eBay and ASOS Marketplace, help cut down on some of the carbon emissions that the fashion industry contributes to and helps eliminate clothing waste while snapping up a great deal at just a fraction of the RRP!
Top tip: When using online auctioning sites such as eBay, filter your searches by those items that are ending the soonest for a better chance of snapping yourself a last-minute deal for less.
Breathe new life into an old outfit with accessories
If you’re already pretty happy with some of the staples that are in your wardrobe, but feel like you want more clothes to breathe a breath of fresh air into your outfits, you don’t have to purchase an entirely new wardrobe.
Instead, you can fork out on just a few simple accessories to switch up your look a little bit, such as:
- Baseball caps
- Statement jewellery (earrings, necklaces, watches, rings)
- Hair accessories (headbands, scrunchies, head chains, clips)
- Scarves and woolly hats
- Bags and clutches
- Socks and hosiery
Look after your garments appropriately
If you want to ensure that all of the items that you’ve bought or already have in your Spring wardrobe are built to last then make sure that you take extra care to look after your garments and accessories appropriately, then you’ll have to replace them less often.
Ensure that you wash your clothes on a cooler wash of 30 degrees or below unless your garments have stains. Washing your clothes on a lower temperature will not only protect delicate garments but will also prevent colours from fading and is also better for the environment and will lower the costs of running your washing machine.
If any of your clothing requires being dry cleaned, then ensure that you take it to the dry cleaners instead of being tempted to wash it yourself (we’ve all been there, and it doesn’t work!).
About the author:
Charlotte Ross is a keen personal finance and lifestyle blogger and Content Creator at Multi Month Loans, based in Fitzrovia, London.