7 tips to be more fashionably sustainable
At Styled Seattle, we think a lot about sustainability as it relates to shopping and building a wardrobe. In honor of Earth Day, I shared some of my best advice to anyone who wants to be more eco-conscious when it comes to their wardrobe.
1. Reuse shopping bags. I see a lot of people bring their own reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, but I almost never see people bring their own bags when they go clothes shopping. It’s also OK to politely decline having your purchases wrapped in tissue.
2. Avoid “Single Use Outfits.” We all know the term “Single Use Plastics”, like a plastic water bottle you use once and then toss. "Single Use Outfit" is a term I use for something you wear once and then inevitably purge it your closet. Rental services like Armoire and Rent The Runway can be a great way to borrow something for one situation. I also recommend organizing a Girlfriend Clothing Swap; invite your friends to each bring about 5 items they never wear and trade.
3. Seek out sustainable materials. There’s a lot of cool innovation in the use of recycled materials in clothing. Rothy’s was a pioneer in using recycled plastic to make shoes and accessories, and this year they will achieve Zero waste at their factory and incorporate Twice-Recycled products (meaning they’re recycling old Rothys into new Rothys). Summersalt swimwear uses recycled plastic materials in their swimsuits, which are five times more durable than regular suits and will last longer.
4. Support water-conscious brands. Factory production has a big impact on the environment due to water consumption. Denim is famously one of the highest users of water (around 1,500 gallons are needed to make just one pair of jeans!), Levi's has saved more than 3 billion liters of water and recycled more than 2 billion, and uses more than 20 water-saving finish techniques during the final stage of production. Something you can do at home? Wash your jeans less. Most denim experts recommend washing your jeans after 15-20 wears.
5. Take care of your clothes. I purge a lot of closets, and most of the pieces are stained, tattered, washed improperly, or somehow ruined. Always check the care instructions on a garment before you buy it and take the steps to launder it properly so you can wear it for a long time. `
6. Thrift! Shop second hand and donate your unworn clothing whenever you can. During the pandemic I got really into online thrifting using ThredUp and Poshmark. I love being able to send my unworn clothes, get shopping credit and shop from thousands of secondhand items to find exactly what I want.
7. Shop with intention. Ultimately, the best thing you can do for your closet, and the planet, is to only buy things you really like and use for years. Before you venture out to shop, spend 10 minutes in your closet to review what you already own and make strategic additions rather than random pieces.