So you’re looking to switch to a sustainable wardrobe. A wardrobe created from ethical clothing curated in a thoughtful way. But where do you start?
Recently, I was asked what advice I would give to someone who is just starting to build an ethical closet. Thinking of what I would tell myself a year ago that would save myself a lot of time and frustration inspired me to write an article to share a couple tips that I learned from creating mine.
Moving to a sustainable wardrobe can feel overwhelming. At least it did for me when I decided to stop buying only from fast fashion about a year ago.
Clothing from ethical brands can be more expensive and it’s naturally not as quick as buying clothing from fast fashion brands hence the term. It’s definitely a change in mindset and habit. So, by sharing my experience and tips today, I hope it can help those of you reading make starting a sustainable wardrobe feel easier and less overwhelming.
Some things to point out first:
- Anyone can start one
- It doesn’t require a lot of money
- It takes time and self reflection
Okay, let’s get started!
4 Tips for Creating a More Ethical & Sustainable Wardrobe
1: Start with a capsule wardrobe of your current clothes
The first and most important step is to really figure out your personal style before you do anything. The best way to do this is by wearing what you already have for a month or two. Really figure out what you do and do not like about the clothes you already have.
A lot of clothing waste and dissatisfaction comes from not knowing what type of clothing you feel good in. I used to buy things I thought I liked or trends I thought I wanted to follow only to find I never wore them. These items would then sit in my closet taking up space until I finally decided to donate them.
Closet tip: when you’re trying to figure out what you like to wear, move the clothes you wear most often and enjoy wearing to a separate part of your closet. Eventually, the things you like will be filtered out from the ones you don’t like as much.
2: Research Ethical Brands
Don’t feel the need to start buying clothing from ethical brands right away. Start by using Pinterest and Instagram to find ethical brands you like. Use hashtags like #ethicalfashion #ethicalstyle and #shopconciously to find ethical clothing people are wearing.
Give yourself time to learn about ethical brands that really stand out to you. Some brands to start with:
Once you know where to shop, you can create an ethical wardrobe wish list and make a purchasing plan for creating your dream sustainable wardrobe.
3: Add wardrobe basics
There are some amazing ethical brands selling wardrobe basics at very affordable prices. This is where step one comes in. You should now have a better sense of your personal style and what makes you happy.
Ask yourself what your wardrobe basics and closet essentials are.
For me, they’re jeans, t-shirts, button ups, comfortable loafers, and feminine blouses. Stores like Kotn, Organic Basics, and Everlane have affordable t-shirts and tank tops. Everlane and Mott & Bow sell affordable pants and jeans.
4: Sell clothes you don’t wear to fund your new closet
I always try to sell the things I don’t wear to fund new clothing purchases.
I use sites like Poshmark to sell online and donate to places in person such as Buffalo Exchange. It’s a great way to generate and save money to buy items off your ethical wish list.
Right now, I’m trying to sell old clothing I don’t wear so that I can purchase a really beautiful feminine blouse which costs about $150 to $200. I’d much rather spend my money on one top I’ll wear all the time versus a couple I kind of like.
There you have it! Four steps for starting your own sustainable wardrobe. To summarize:
- Create a capsule with you current clothes to really define your personal style
- Research ethical brands and create an ethical wardrobe wish list
- Start with defining and buying wardrobe basics
- Sell the clothes you don’t wear to fund future purchases
What tips did you find helpful when you first started moving towards a more sustainable closet? Let me know in the comments below!