How to turn your spring clean into the start of a sustainable wardrobe

How to turn your spring clean into the start of a sustainable wardrobe

During these uncertain and confusing times, self improvement seems to be something many of us have adopted while indoors and, as spring is already here, a spring clean seems more than appropriate.

Going through your clothes as part of a spring clean can cleanse your soul as well as your wardrobe. It can mark a new age in your life or even just give your room more space. 

I’ve taken this time to go through my clothing and it feels amazing! However, I also found myself questioning my shopping habits and how ethical and sustainable my wardrobe is and could be. 

I found that I now have more awareness of my style and my shopping history, so I wanted to share how this can be achieved!

Let’s get sorting

First of all, I think it is important to look at your wardrobe and practice gratitude toward the clothing you already have. Sometimes, when in a huff while getting ready for the day, we take the clothes we have for granted.

When going through my clothes I used Konmari’s method of asking myself if each item of clothing “sparks joy”. This informed what I would keep and what I would give away or donate.

Marie Kondo, queen of organisation
Marie Kondo, queen of organisation

However, I want to share what you could to reflect on how ethical your current wardrobe is. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What clothes do you prefer most? (These may not be the ones you keep.)
  2. What clothes do you wear the most and what clothes do you wear the least? (Again, these items may not correlate with the clothes you give and keep.)
  3. What clothes have you had the longest?
  4. Where have your clothes come from – e.g. do they come from fast-fashion brands, charity shops, ethically conscious brands or are they hand-me-downs?

These questions will allow you to find out the following:

  1. What style, cut, and colour-palette you prefer in your clothes
  2. What clothing fits into your day-to-day life
  3. What clothes have served you the longest (possibly due to quality)

When you have reflected on these 3 points, you can then consider where you have purchased these items (e.g. ask yourself question 4.).

This will allow you to see:

1] Where your most and least prefered clothing comes from

2] Where your most and least practical clothing comes from

3] Where your best and worst quality clothing comes from

After going through your wardrobe you may look among your clothing and feel satisfied. This may be due to the fact your clothing fits your style and is as ethical and sustainable as you want to be.

However, at this point you may look at our clothing and realise your most preferred/ most used/ best quality clothing comes from sources that you know aren’t the most ethical or sustainable. While we wouldn’t want to fuel this line of production, it is true that having and maintaining a wardrobe that is ethical and sustainable can be daunting, difficult and expensive! 

The wardrobe we desire can seem more like a luxury than a necessity.

But this doesn’t have to be the case; there are many ways to slowly create the wardrobe you desire.

A very desirable wardrobe!
A very desirable wardrobe!

Here are some things you can do to pave your way to an ethical and sustainable wardrobe:

  • Invest in a sewing machine or learn to sew so that you can:
    – make your own clothing
    – reuse and turn old clothing into the garments you desire
    – mend old clothing
  • Shop with the intention of re-wearing and re-styling your garments over a long period of time
  • If you absolutely have to buy from brands that you don’t morally agree with, don’t impulse buy; reflect on the use of the garment and try and find something you will use for a long time
  • Go to charity shops
    – When going to charity shops with a certain item of clothing in mind (that isn’t an urgent buy), look through many local charity shops and try to find the best version of the garment (i.e. a cut that fits you and is comfortable)
  • Swap clothing with your friends and family
  • Shop at ethical and sustainable brands; find ethical and sustainable brands in your style and price range
  • Save for ethical and sustainable clothing that may be out of your budget

I hope this list has helped your ethical and sustainable journey! Remember this is all a process and no one can have the perfect wardrobe without time and effort.

I’d also like to remind you (as well as myself) to look after yourself, even more than your wardrobe, during these trying times. Stay stylish without sweatshops and, above all, stay safe!

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