How to define your style to save time, money, and the environment.
Updated: Jun 10
Last week, I had the pleasure to be featured on My Clothes, My World, a team of environmental educators in sustainable fashion, as a speaker during the Fashion Revolution Week. The topic of discussion was: how defining your style will help you save: time, money, energy, and the environment.
Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world. And unless you've opted for a nudist lifestyle, you're prone to being part of the problem.
The good news is, we can all be a part of the SOLUTION too!
To quote Emma Watson: “As consumers, we have so much power to change the world just by being careful with what we buy.”
Image by Alexandra N Muntean
On this Instagram Live, we chat with fellow Fashion Takes Action ambassador Alessandra (@alimuntean), who is a passionate activist and content creator on the topic of vintage and sustainable fashion. It was so much fun sharing what we both learned through our own journeys.
The first and least expensive way to be sustainable is:
1. DEFINING OUR STYLE
Without defining our style, we will be prone to buying pieces that do not fit the vision we have of ourselves. Once we figure out a few basic guidelines for our personal style, it becomes a lot easier, less stressful, and saves us time, money, energy, space, the environment, and I could go on...
The first homework when you become a client is: reflect on your style.
What is your ideal lifestyle? (occupation, family, country)
What are your hobbies? (do you like to spend time outdoors, do you enjoy the theatre and formal events?)
Do you have any fashion icons? (this could be stars, a family member or friend, anyone you admire)
Pick 2-3 adjectives that you want to represent. (mine are comfortable and chic)
I then use this information to create a mood board for clients, you can create one too!
If I can offer my help or guidance, contact me here.
2. SHOP IN YOUR WARDROBE.
It's not for nothing that I always start by doing a wardrobe audit with my clients. It's important to be aware of what we already own, what we can repair, and what can get a second life. Some things you might not have known how to wear, and with my guidance and perspective, I can show you how to use each piece you own to the best of its ability.
To exercise this, I recommend putting every single piece of clothing you own on your bed. It doesn't all have to be at the same time, if it's your first time doing this, I would suggest you break it down by category, for example; all your bottoms, all your tops, and all your layering pieces.
3. GIVING THINGS A SECOND LIFE
The second most sustainable way is to give things a second life. That can mean donating it to someone who will make better use out of it, or transforming it so you can enjoy it in a different medium! I've taken clothes my mom no longer wore and tailored them to fit me. We've made pillows or pillow covers out of sheets that have a rip in it. Cropping a long oversized sweater you only wear to bed, so you can make it work for daily use. There are lots of hacks to items you already own so you can wear them more often.
4. CLOTHING SWAPS
This is an awesome opportunity to get together with a few friends, exchange clothing that would be better loved in another wardrobe, and remember your friend every time you wear it! A clothing swap is a get together with a few friends who hopefully share your style and size, you can each bring a clothing bag, a few pieces, or however many items you
Did you know you can have a digital swap?? Host a zoom call with 3-5 friends, each picks a few pieces (ex: 5), and showcase them. Ship them out or do a contactless porch pick-up. It's like going shopping but for free and pieces you love stay in your inner circle! Win Win Win!
5. BUYING SECOND HAND / THRIFTING
Second-hand buying is great because it saves some items from ending up in a landfill and gives them a second life. More often than not, the pieces you find thrifting are unique and you can find great quality for a fraction of the price. When buying second-hand, consider asking these questions:
Is it made from a sustainable fabric? Cotton, wools, and linens are natural fabrics. These usually last longer, need to be washed less frequently, and decompose at the end of their journey.
Do I know how to properly care about this piece? Pinterest is always my best friend when I am uncertain.
Does this piece work with at least 3 outfits I can create out of my current wardrobe?
Always consider doing some research on the thrift store itself. There are a few which are for-profit, and others that help charities.
6. BUY FROM SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
Buying should really be your last step.
If you need to replace an item that you wear all the time, or you're looking for a timeless piece that you'd like to incorporate into your wardrobe, then sure, buying can be justified.
It's always important to do a little bit of due diligence research on the companies you vote for with your dollar. A great resource to check out a company's sustainability factor while online shopping, is Good On You. They provide a rating based on the company's transparency.
It's important to note that many companies use greenwashing as part of their marketing plan. We've seen an increasing amount of companies using these tactics but not providing further information on whether their employees are treated and compensated fairly.
It's important to note that buying sustainable items can be a privilege in itself. It can be more expensive to acquire upfront, however, I truly believe that you ultimately end up paying less when you consider the Cost Per Wear (cost-per-wear equals the item’s price divided by the total number of times you wear it.) and the time and energy it saves you by having a piece for much longer.
Plant a tree when you shop. Let me introduce you to a must-have Chrome Extension, OurForest, that plants a tree on your behalf at chosen retailers. They even have a list of sustainable, ethical, and natural brands, which you can cross-reference with the Good On You directory (we love a well-informed consumer!)
As a stylist, my goal is to educate my clients, my friends, and my followers about how easy it truly is to start implementing sustainability in your wardrobe. If you have learned something new today, or if you're implementing one of these steps already, let me know in the comments below!