A sustainable wardrobe is a collection of clothes that have been curated with quality, versatility and wearability in mind. Beyond that, it refers to fabrics derived from eco-friendly resources, such as sustainably grown fiber crops or recycled materials. Sustainable clothing includes the use of secondhand, thrifted items, along with upcycling and recycling.
This movement stands in stark contrast to fast fashion, cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand.
Sustainability in fashion is a concept that aims to motivate consumers to be more mindful about the decisions they make. Goodwill Central Coast stands proud as a beacon of sustainability, turning secondhand clothing into jobs within its communities while keeping unwanted items out of landfills.
On average, each U.S. consumer throws away 81.5 pounds of clothing every year. That’s an estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste — equivalent to 85 percent of all textiles — that end up in landfills.
As every choice we make matters, creating a sustainable wardrobe goes a long way to help reduce the negative impact the fashion industry has on our planet.
Here are 10 easy steps to help you on your way:
Change your shopping habits
It’s important to change your mindset, purchasing items that you need, not just like. Reducing impulsive shopping at malls and large chains is not easy at first, but once you see the viable options available elsewhere it becomes a common sense issue. Instead of splurging on a dress for a wedding, which you will only wear once, invest in timeless pieces that you can wear every day — such as a good quality pair of jeans, comfy shoes or a versatile coat. Try applying the “30-wear test” before you purchase anything, whether we are talking about clothes or accessories. Ask yourself, will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?
Discover the joys of thrifting
Buying secondhand is one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable practices out there. Buying secondhand clothes is a great option for giving new life to your wardrobe. Goodwill offers so many treasures, many of them name-brand items in perfect condition. Shopping at Goodwill supports a circular fashion model, in which clothes aren’t thrown away, but reused. However, some people find themselves overwhelmed and unsure about what to pick or, rather, how to pick. You need a discerning eye to spot the best finds, the willpower to stay within budget, and a lot of patience while checking every item; those are just the basics. Ask a GCC associate for assistance in finding gems within your budget.
Sort and support
Decluttering your closets and organizing your wardrobe, as well as your jewelry box is a must. Clear everything out and start sorting. Carefully analyze each piece in terms of condition, fit, trend and separate them in different piles: keep and donate. Check the labels for materials and keep the pieces that are made from natural fabrics like linen or organic cotton. After you are finished with the clothing, don’t forget to go through the same process with your accessories. Donating to Goodwill triggers an amazing process that clothes others, provides jobs and protects the environment.
Seek out timeless pieces
Creating a sustainable wardrobe means simplifying your arsenal of clothes and accessories to a few trusted sustainable pieces. A big part of this process is assessing the wearability of each piece of clothing you buy. You have to actually wear an item to make it really sustainable. Try to stay away from highly fashionable pieces, as they tend to go out of style very quickly. Basic T-shirts, the mandatory good pair of jeans, classic dresses, or timeless coats can be easily mixed and matched to create a few different looks. Opt for pieces that can easily make the journey from summer to winter. Before you purchase any new item, think of the ways you can wear it in different seasons. If you can’t transition the item from hot to cold weather, it might not be the right piece for you.
Repair your clothing
Besides donating unwanted clothes, learning how to repair the clothes you want to keep is an important step. Instead of purchasing a new piece every time the zipper from your favorite jacket gets broken, take it to a tailor and have it fixed, or learn how to do it yourself. This will infuse some life into the clothes you already own, and it will help you keep treasured vintage pieces wearable.
Borrow one-off items
Have you been invited to a fancy event, but all your special occasion dresses are either outdated or don’t fit anymore? The thought of buying an expensive piece of clothing you may wear only once is daunting. Instead, ask your friends and family members if you can borrow something already hanging in their closet. It’s a great way to help reduce the negative impact fashion has on the environment. Like all of the solutions mentioned, it creates a win-win situation. And that’s what Goodwill is all about!