Going green is something that many people think of as being an expensive lifestyle, but the truth is that a focus on sustainability can often help you save money. It’s true with reduced energy use, and it’s also true when you’re building a wardrobe. You don’t have to toss your entire wardrobe and start from scratch, but as you add to it in the coming years, use sustainable principles to build a wardrobe that will last longer, save you money, and help protect the environment.
Go Organic: Just as you would look for organic food to be more sustainable, shop for organic clothing, too. You’ll stay away from cotton grown with pesticides and end up with clothes that are well made and are likely to last longer. Many sustainable companies make organic dresses, sleepwear, shirts, pants, and even shoes. Check out what they offer, and you may be surprised at the great additions you can make to your wardrobe.
Shop Vintage: Many styles that were popular decades ago are back now, so don’t be afraid to check out vintage stores and browse the racks for clothes that you would love to give a second (or third) life. Clothes that make it into consignment and vintage stores are typically very well made and have already lasted for years of use, so this suggests that they’ll hold up a long time for you as well. Plus, you’re saving money off retail prices and being green by buying something that already exists rather than increasing demand on new clothing producers.
Choose Classics: As you build your wardrobe, try to stick to classic pieces that are well made and will last for many seasons. If you choose styles and silhouettes that have stood the test of time, you can be sure that you can wear them again for several more years. You’ll reduce your waste, and even if you spend a little more at the outset, you’ll be saving money in the long run. Of course, you can buy some trendy, inexpensive clothes too and pair them with classic items to create outfits that match today’s style.
Attend to Care: Once you have a great wardrobe, you need to take care of it. When you’re choosing items, try to avoid fabrics that are dry clean only so you can avoid the use of chemicals. Instead, wash clothes at home with biodegradable detergents, ideally in a front-loading washer with cold water to reduce your energy use. Then, instead of tossing them in the dryer, line dry your clothes. Not only will this use less energy, but you’ll also help the fabrics last longer.
Reuse Instead of Tossing: When you have clothes that you don’t wear anymore, consider whether there’s anything you can do to reuse them instead of throwing them away or donating them to a thrift shop. With some basic sewing skills, there are tons of creative ways to make old clothes new again, whether it’s turning a pair of jeans into a purse or cutting a scarf from a printed shirt.
Investing in a sustainable wardrobe takes time, but you’ll eventually come to the point where you’re happy with the quality and style of pretty much everything in your closet and dresser. Plus, don’t forget that the money you invest in building your wardrobe now is going to pay off later as you get to make fewer new clothing purchases. As people notice your awesome style, they may even ask for fashion advice, which gives you a chance to help them green their wardrobes, too!