Can you be chic and green at the same time? If you dress like an eco fashion queen, you can! Here’s how, thanks to our sponsors at GD Environmental, waste recyclers who are urging people and businesses to stop throwing away millions of tons of clothes every year.
1) Shop at vintage and value outlets before you buy new. Plastic-free guru Beth Terry told me that when she wants new clothes, she just means “new to her,” not necessarily bought new at the store. I’m right there with her. I needed a dress for a friend’s wedding recently. I found a gorgeous beaded gown at our local vintage shop, and it only cost me $30.
2) Shop at online consignment shops. Online consignment stores like thredUp offer thousands of brands, styles, and sizes at a highly discounted price. Plus, you can ship your own clothes off to them and make a little money back that you can either use to purchase other clothes on ThredUP or redeem them for cash on PayPal.
3) Borrow or exchange. That’s what girlfriends are for, right? And sisters, neighbors, people in your social network…you get the idea. Going skiing but don’t have ski pants? Surely someone you know does. Need an ugly sweater for a holiday party? Put out the word. Especially think about borrowing accessories like purses, belts, scarves, gloves, shawls, and other items that can work regardless of size.
4) Buy clothes made from recycled materials. I’ve stopped recommending clothes made from recycled plastic bottles. Micro plastic pollution in the ocean has become a huge environmental problem, and tiny clothing fibers are one factor. But other materials are being recycled into couture, including rubber tires and even coffee.
5) Look for ethically made, Fair Trade Certified clothing. There are so many benefits to buying Fair Trade clothes, we did an entire post about it here. Some of the best reasons: it’s better for people, since no little kids are allowed to work their fingers to the bone making you a pair of shoes or knitting you a scarf. It’s very stylish and trendy. And it’s increasingly available, especially online at stores like Nomad, where this dress comes from.
6) Make it vegan. Shoes, coats, jackets, belts, purses, jewelry, they’re all made without using animal products, either leather or animal tissue products. I have shoes made with hemp uppers and rubber soles, sweaters made from hemp rather than wool, and purses made from cotton and hemp rather than leather.
7) Order organic. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the world’s insecticides are used to grow cotton, though not all of the insecticides sprayed stay on the crop. A lot of it drifts for miles and lands on other food crops and residential areas. Still, it takes one pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to conventionally grow the three pounds of cotton needed to make a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. When you buy clothes made from organic fabrics, you take pesticides out of the equation.
8) Learn to sew. Sewing your own dress, pants or shirt will give you a new appreciation for what it takes to produce a garment. But if that sounds like it will require too much skill, talent or time, at least learn how to sew a seam, put back a button, or patch a tear. These are very easy repairs to make and will extend the life of your clothing significantly. If you really don’t feel like you can tackle something like sewing back on a button or repairing a seam, your local dry cleaners can probably do it for you. But before you give up, check out these Easy Sewing for Beginners videos.
9) Set your own style. The fashion industry has developed so that it moves fashion trends in and out of stores faster than the seasons change. This practice has led to clothes that are made poorly, often by people working in sweat shops, because it’s expected that they’ll quickly be replaced by whatever the newest fashion trend is. You’ll be an eco fashion queen if you set your own style, based on a look distinctive to you and well-made clothes you can dress up or down depending on your mood, event, season, and style.
Want to recycle your own clothes? Check out our post, “It’s Easier Than You Think!”
GD Environmental: Wales’ Leading Waste Management Company, GD Environmental, plays a vital role in helping larger companies achieve their green missions by operating an environmentally friendly waste management company which recycles 96% of waste and diverts 100% of waste from landfill to recycling. If you’re based in Wales, and looking to improve the sustainable performance of your business call GD Environmental today on 01633 277755 or visit www.gd-environmental.co.uk.
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