Can you be fashionable and sustainable?
Admit it. Whenever you think about sustainable fashion, you picture shapeless hemp clothes paired with hiking shoes. At least I did when I decided to adopt a greener lifestyle. I truly believed it was going to be harsh on my closet and that I was going to have to compromise on style. I wondered: Is it even possible to be fashionable and sustainable?
Spoiler alert… You absolutely can! In order to answer that question, I like to look at what happened to my wardrobe over the years and even if it’s far from perfect, I think the answer is definitely yes.
You can be fashionable and sustainable!
I used to think that in order to continue dressing in a fashionable way, I was going to have to shop as often, but from sustainable brands. I was so wrong! Without a doubt, the most drastic change I made was to simply buy less and wear the clothes I already had. I went on a (forced) shopping ban. I already knew that certain pieces never, ever run out of style. Like trench coats, blazers or a little black dress. Turns out that building your wardrobe around such pieces is a foolproof way to always have something to wear. What they have in common is that they are simple, versatile and can easily be mixed, matched and accessorised. Instead of shopping everytime I wanted a new outfit, I started to pair those pieces in new different ways.
Clothes are meant to be played with
I learned that basics and neutrals can go a long way. Have you noticed that a lot of the time, trends are more about how you wear your clothes rather than what you wear? Think about the way you tuck in a shirt or how you layer clothes. Even if brands try to sell a new look, most of the time you can recreate something very similar with your old clothes.
Trends come and go
Speaking of new looks. Have you noticed how fashion is cyclical yet? Whenever a new trend appears, it has probably been done before and you already have bought something very similar in the past. You just don’t remember having it. That’s why shopping your own closet is always a good idea. And if you don’t find anything in the style you’re looking for, vintage and thrift shops or even second-hand platforms are a great option. Can you think of a better place to find unique and bold statement piece with a loud tacky print?
Being fashionable and sustainable is not only about buying stuff
We live in a world where everyone is trying to sell us something. Nobody is going to tell you that it’s just as important to learn how to care for your clothes. Remembering to read the labels, how to wash different types of fabrics, how to store them or how to mend and repair clothes is just as important. It extends their lifespan. The same logic applies to transformations. Nothing stops you from offering your clothes a second life by altering them or up-cycling them into something completely different.
Knowing what works for you makes everything easier
Once you have figured out your personal style, what you’re comfortable in and learned about your actual needs, you won’t be buying clothes that will sit in the back of your closet forever. You probably don’t need countless knits if you live in a warm country just like you don’t need 10 different pairs of stilettos if you have to stand or walk all day. Do you prefer vintage clothing or would you rather support small brands? Do you need more business attire or casual clothing? Being aware of what you really wear will save you from many impulse purchases. Once you know what works best for you, you get to decide how you want to make your closet more sustainable. There is is more than one way to achieve it!