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A More Sustainable Wardrobe

It’s hard to resist the ease and affordability of fast fashion brands like Old Navy, H&M, and Zara, or the convenience of picking up a few new and needed, cheap t-shirts from Target or Walmart. But, as we look into the next decade and the important role of people as stewards of the Earth, what

It’s hard to resist the ease and affordability of fast fashion brands like Old Navy, H&M, and Zara, or the convenience of picking up a few new and needed, cheap t-shirts from Target or Walmart. But, as we look into the next decade and the important role of people as stewards of the Earth, what are the greater costs when it comes to these quick and easy purchases. The fast facts on fast fashion from Google have that the fashion industry produces 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollutes the oceans with microplastics. That’s quite the burden for a poly/rayon blouse at $29.99, no?

However, bringing eco-friendly practices to your closet does not have to be a massive undertaking. There are a variety of ways to rethink, refresh, and reuse your wardrobe without sacrificing style, your budget, or Mother Earth. Here are a few sustainable fashion tips to try out for 2020 and in the years to come.

First, consider shopping sustainable brands. Fashion has come a long way from the “granola” collections crafted from hemp. Retailers across many price points are making strides to produce ethically sourced and sustainably manufactured garments. Even the aforementioned H&M has a “Conscious-Sustainable” section in both the Men’s and Women’s departments. Everlane produces stylish basics made to last, with transparent pricing that shows the true cost behind all of their products, from materials to labor, to transportation. Target just introduced the activewear collection, All in Motion, which incorporates sustainably sourced materials. For workwear, check out ADAY Clothing, which makes shirts and pants from recycled materials for seasonless wardrobe staples.

Sustainable brands usually have a higher price point than their less viable counterparts. For more budget-friendly options, consider buying secondhand. Shopping at vintage, consignment, and thrift stores keep perfectly good garments out of landfills and save you money when updating your wardrobe. Secondhand sites like ThreadUP and Poshmark are online thrift “stores” where you can browse by size, brand, and cost. You can even find luxury consignment online at TheRealReal, and Luxury Garage Sale for designer finds at a fraction of their original price.

If you are handy with a needle and thread, consider upcycling or making your own clothes. You can hit up JoAnn Fabrics for patterns and fabric, or try online at Lekala Sewing Patterns, which features customized patterns for the, particularly deft seamstress. Want to breathe some new life into garments you already own? Then check out Sew Squad for simple repurposing patterns to turn tired maxi dresses or boring button-downs into a soft tee or cozy wrap dress.

Lastly, take care of your clothes. So often, clothing is wasted because it’s thrown out when there’s a small rip or pull. Damage is especially common in lower-quality clothing. But when you invest in finer-made pieces and repair items to extend their lifespan, you’ll reduce waste and keep your wardrobe looking flawless.

Beyond a sewing kit, also pick up a travel steamer to refresh garments instead of washing them after every wear, a stain remover, and a fabric depiller. These handy tools will help you maintain your clothes and set you on the path towards a more sustainable wardrobe.

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