Go green by mastering your wardrobe.
Eco-friendly production and conscious living has finally started to become a real priority for the fashion industry.
But, if ecological is to become a mainstream thing, the responsibility is just as much on the shoulders of the consumer.
The consumer creates the demand, which in turn shape how the manufacturers produce their products. Every time you buy something, you inform the seller of what you want, increasing the business for that particular item. So, if you choose ethical and eco-friendly products, you can change what will ultimately become mainstream ingredients in food, or even how your clothing gets made. We can even be a part of deciding how the workers creating these products will be treated.
We the people have the power to change the way of the world, and with great power comes great responsibility, so use it wisely.
Personally, I have given up meat, I keep my electronics til they "just can't" anymore, and clothing is no less important on the road towards becoming an eco-friendly fashionista... or person.
The good news is that there are now more options available for the eco-friendly shopper, than a shopping free year or going second-hand. Going green is trendy, and between recycled materials, 3D printing, and fabric grown from bacteria, It's no longer just a shiny dream. Sustainable fashion is in our near future. So, why not get a head start on it .
If you're already one of those who try to do your part to save the environment, it can still be challenging if you don't know where to start, don't have enough money, have a challenging physical feature, or just can't find one of the more "green" brands in your area. The hard part is to be eco-friendly and still manage to have fun with the ever turning wheels of fashion. But don't despair, there are some very attainable solutions to help you get that "dream wardrobe" without pulling for the "wrong team".
I have already written some pieces on time saving outfits, eco-friendly shopping, and personal style, and in the spirit of fellow designer and eco-enthusiast, a.k.a. my bff Mia, and her "shopping free year", I got inspired to start a little project of my own. "Eco-express yourself", as I call it, is a style-series on that it's possible to be fashionable and creative with your style, throwing last years (and beyond's) fashion into the mix.
The core of this idea is putting the stuff you already own to good use, recycling fashion instead of bying something new every time you want to look stylish. Such as altering outdated clothing, or storing things till the style comes back in fashion and you feel like using it again.
I have been doing this for quite some time, and I can tell you that to be able to do this right, you do need to have a good closet to begin with. So, that's why I will be sharing some info on how to get there.
I have been working on my wardrobe for about a decade and a half. The same as many, I'm sure. Only, the difference between my closet and the closets of many of the other people I know, Is that mine is still filled with clothing actually dated that far back. It also contains a lots of inherited items (dated 30 to 50 years back), and some vintage discoveries (unknown era). I know a lot of people who throw out everything they haven't worn for a year, only to state that they have nothing to wear soon after, followed by that they simply must go shopping for this upcoming event we're going to. It's a great idea for space saving and decluttering, and I'm sure that my way could possibly be the first step towards becoming a class-A hoarder. But, I do think we have something to learn from the "hoarder pioneers" a.k.a our parents (...Well, at least my parents..., who where thought frugality and re-use from their parents, who in turn experienced the hardships and shortages during the WW2 and never seemed to forget or fully adjust. No matter how easy and affordable it is to get almost anything these days, in what seems to be the hight of consumerism).
I have tried both, starting out as a really conservative shopper, and to no surprise feeling like I never had anything to wear (also, looking the part). Then evolving into understanding the importance of multiple choices and a well stocked wardrobe for successful dressing, which again started my "shopping era", buy first think later style. Finally, having that conservative consuming mentality on top of that, I couldn't get rid of anything, to the point of having to expand my closet or having a self-intervention. Not wanting to become a hoarder myself, I saw the need to change.
I ended up throwing out everything that was the wrong shape for my body type or not a flattering enough color.
Cleaning out the closet is a huge step towards mastering your wardrobe, and only after cutting my wardrobe in half, I was able to rebuild in a much more conscious way. You need to know what you actually have, to figure out what you need.
A few years later, I probably have the same amount of clothes that I had before the "purge", but the difference is that now I only have things I actually wear (or want to wear). I hardly ever buy anything new, because I feel like I have (more or less) everything I need. I have saved a lot of money on not buying the wrong things, and I honestly have something fitting to wear for pretty much any occasion right there in my wardrobe.
This proves to me that well planned shopping, thinking quality over quantity, recycling your fashion, and creating a wardrobe, instead of being a modern type consumer, bying and creating waste as quickly as the "trend carousel" can spinn, telling us we "NEED" new things, is a way for me to "do my part" for the environment without having to give up feeling well dressed.
In short, If you want something new. Try to really think about if It's just a desire, or an actual necessity.
Below, I have set up the guidelines in an orderly fashion, for a "get straight to the point" overview.
THE GOLDEN WARDROBE RULES
The trick is to think of your closet as a collection, and only shop for what's missing. Never just buy something because it's pretty or cool. Take notice of what you really need when roaming through your clothes getting ready, and make a list. This is a good way of preventing that impulse shopping, based on your feelings for that random shiny dress you just got a fleeting crush on (that you'll never get to wear). The key is to build a wardrobe where you can find an outfit for any occasion, without having to go shopping. Even if it's for work, a birthday party, camping, or a wedding. Too many of us have the "I have a hundred party tops, and yet I have nothing to wear" kind of closets. Or, the "I only have work clothes, and nothing fancy". It's all about finding that right balance.
Instead, spare the environment the pollution, and save money on buying long lasting quality items. This way, you can rather spend your money on replacing basics (Also, more left for the occasional splurge on fashion fabs).
HOW TO MASTER YOUR WARDROBE?
Step 1. Figure out who you are, and what styles you like.
Step 2. What is your life really like? Do you need to be fancy for work, or wear sensible shoes?
Step 3. What flatters your face shape, body shape, type of looks, and colors?
Step 4. Make step 1, 2 and 3 work together and for you.
It's all about figuring out who you are, what you like, and edit until you find a way to make that style look good on you.
Step 5. Get rid of the items that doesn't do you justice.
When going through your closet, imagine you're shopping and remove anything that you wouldn't buy now.
Then consider if you'll ever feel like wearing that again, before you either store it or give it to someone else. If it clashes with either step 1 or 3, you will never need it, so get rid of it. Well, unless you can alter it to suit you. If it's only a matter being in conflict with step 2, I might come in handy at some point and you can store it for later.
Step 6. Yes, after you clean out the unfitting and unflattering items from your closet, you'll probably have to be a consumer and buy new stuff. But, this time be very selective, and think long term.
When you're in the shop trying on clothes, imagine that you're at home getting dressed. Would you actually feel like wearing this piece of clothing in real life? Do you already have something that covers this need in your closet?
Also, remember that fashion goes in cycles. In five to ten years those last years jeans could be the hottest thing again, so buy quality items and aim to reuse them. There are really only three good reasons to get rid of clothes.
1. It's not your shape or color, or your style at all (you will never wear that, so shop smarter next time).
2. They're so worn out there is no hope for a salvage.
3. Give those previously mentioned things away to charity or someone else who will have a greater use for it (recycle).
Everything else can be reused, altered, repaired, or stored for a later time.
This philosophy is what keeps my closet fully stocked, and the reason why I haven't had to stress-buy anything new for an upcoming event (not even for Halloween) for the last three years. I actually, hardly ever buy new things other than replacing worn-out basics and favorites, and the occasional fashion find that has been on my closet's "missing list "for at least 6 months. If you can't forget about it, it's probably worth owning. If you do forget about it, you never needed it in the first place.
Also, don't forget that you can borrow clothes from friends, and vise versa. It's a good way to get a trend or an outfit out of your system, without having to buy unnecessary things.
The photos in this post are of my bestie (and fellow designer) Mia Åkerlund and I. Everything we wear are about a year old or more, and definitely from a previous season. Proving that old trends can be reused for a current look. As a matter of fact, I've seen plenty of almost identical styles in shop's right now. So, they are litterally just as good as new.
Stay tuned for more looks from my functional closet-project, Eco-Express yourself, and Mia's shopping free year.
ETHICAL AND PERSONALIZED STYLE, FOR A "GOOD FOR YOU" WARDROBE.
Idealist style is a website and "slow blog" dedicated to ethical fashion and personalized style, including tips on how to find your very own "slow fashion" style by using color analysis, the body types system, and other slow fashion tips.»