A sustainable wardrobe, what exactly does that mean, how do you start with it and… why bother about that? It actually took me way too long before I was really aware of the usefulness of sustainable clothing. Not that I buy new clothes every week or because I flatten the Primark (never) or because I don't see the point in it. I just didn't know enough about it and secretly I had been participating in the slow fashion movement for years in my own way!
I now have an eye for sustainable clothing and I can hereby give you my 5 tips that may also help you to choose slow fashion.
What is slow fashion?
Slow fashion (not a very new term by the way), is the opposite of fast fashion. Fast fashion revolves around quantity and therefore compromises on quality. Slow fashion is about quality and asks you to reduce in quantity. Both actually symbolize very different lifestyles. Fast fashion is made in large quantities, is affordable and very sensitive to trends. While slow fashion is often made in smaller numbers, with attention, has a higher price and is often timeless. The slow variant also advocates production with attention for people, the environment and animals.
Why bother with slow fashion?
Slow fashion is the way to go for many different reasons. If you realize that we have to take (much) better care of our planet and everything that lives on it, a sustainable wardrobe is the right way to go. Exploitation, child labour, animal cruelty and pollution are simply not one of them. Nobody is happy about that...
5 tips to start a sustainable wardrobe
Hopefully you are convinced, because it is not very difficult. Here are 5 very good tips to start slow fashion today.
Tip 1 - Buy good quality clothes
Good quality clothing and accessories can be enjoyed for a very long time. It often costs more, but it also often lasts much longer than fast fashion. As a result, you buy less and less clothing over time. A good timeless piece of clothing is therefore really an investment. Characteristics of good quality clothing are:
- spare buttons, because that means the brand expects it to stand the test of time
- metal zippers instead of plastic zippers
- No loose threads and stitches, but quality stitching
- neatly aligned fabric patterns and therefore no crooked sewn pipe, etc
Tip 2 - Buy clothes made from sustainable materials
Pay attention to whether the clothing you want to buy is made of environmentally friendly materials. A sustainable fabric is naturally and/or organically grown and is made from natural materials such as wool, hemp and organic cotton, to name a few. These materials 'breathe', which means they are also good for your body and they are biodegradable.
In addition, there are other types of environmentally friendly materials, including fabrics that have been recycled such as recycled bottles or polyester.
You can also go for sustainable with children's clothing. The Petit By Sofie Schnoor brand, for example, is made from sustainable fabrics and made with care. Moreover, the brand gives a nice personal touch to timeless. This romper is a great example of that, which can be combined endlessly.
Tip 3 - Consider a capsule wardrobe per season
The term capsule wardrobe dates from the 1940s and is a selection of essential, preferably timeless and sustainable, garments that you can combine endlessly. Therefore, only buy clothes that you really love. My trick is that if I see something beautiful, sleep on it for a night or two and if I still think about it -and it fits what I already have- then I can consider the purchase. This prevents you from actually wearing your garments.
Note : By creating some sort of bond with your clothes, you're more likely to take good care of them and wear them over and over again.
Tip 4 - Take good care of your clothes
So you can also handle your clothing more sustainably by taking good care of it. Because good care extends the lifespan and ensures that you get the most out of your garments for as long as possible fetches.
For example, follow the washing instructions for each item of clothing. And some garments, like jeans, you really don't need to wash every time you wear them. Airing or steaming (in the bathroom) sometimes also works wonders.
Tip 5 - Buy second hand
Just because something has been worn by another before, doesn't mean it has reached the end of its life cycle. In the right second-hand shops you will find gems that have been rarely worn. For example, 15 years ago I bought my (still) favorite long black wool Dolce & Gabanna coat with a panther print on the inside, for only €75. I still feel overjoyed when I think about it. The jacket will soon be going to the dry cleaners again, so I'll probably wear it again this winter.
Often you can find second-hand clothes that are still in great condition and only got rid of them because the person no longer loved them, or because they have outgrown them.
There are many reasons to buy second-hand clothes, making them the perfect addition to any sustainable wardrobe. But stripping down (nice) thrift shops is also really fun (and is possible again, woohooo)!
Second-hand clothing addresses
Here are a few places I liked to shop (and will visit again soon):
- Second hand Rose - The Hague (that's where my D&G jacket comes from)
- Think Twice - Antwerp
- Cheap fashion - Rotterdam (oh, memories!)
And... do you know a nice address? Share it with us below!
In short: there are a lot of reasons to start with slow fashion. In the long run it's win-win for everyone anyway!
source: Mindful of the home
Author - Mariko Naber
Mariko is the happy brain behind Happlify. Together with partner Mark she runs Sell your stuff online, branding agency Loaded ink BNO and Atelier Naber . She loves feel good, random acts of kindness, meatballs, chocolate mousse, family time, zee, piña colada, sugar & spice and everything nice 💛