How to build a sustainable wardrobe

As we find ourselves in another lockdown, we can see a shift in focus from one-off, trend-led pieces, to items with intention and a real use. However, there’s still more to life than joggers and an old tee, because clothes we love are scientifically known to make us feel happier. With that, and plenty more time available, this is the perfect time to build a sustainable wardrobe- full of basics, things we love and no non-necessities, with those dopamine levels in mind.

Lockdown hint- now there’s no excuse for not clearing out that wardrobe. Whether you’re a hoarder or changed sizes, it’s a long and arduous process, but think of all that extra space at the end of the cupboard-shaped tunnel! Aside from this, take a look at a few more easy ways to get started in creating a sustainable wardrobe in lockdown, or any time.

How to build a sustainable wardrobe Ganni

  1. The 30 Wears Test

Livia Firth, the founder of Eco Age kicked off ’30 Wears’ that quickly became the #30wears challenge, and spread throughout the fashion world. The emphasis of this is to think ‘Will I wear this more than 30 times?’ as you pick up an item of clothing in the shop or browse online. The resounding answer to so many pieces is surprisingly a no, so this feels like a mind cleanse, as well as a wardrobe one. The sneaky way to answer ‘yes’ to this one is to choose timeless, quality pieces that will last for years.

  1. Shop ethical and sustainable brands

There are plenty of ways to shop ethically- choose brands that buy from countries with strict labour laws like the UK or US, or check up on their policies for fair living wages and conditions for their employees; ask #WhoMadeMyClothes started by Fashion Revolution. Alternatively (or preferably, as well) pick items of clothing made sustainably with the likes of organic cotton, Tencel, lower water usage and recycled materials. The great thing about sustainable brands is that there are both trend-led and classic pieces available. If your purse strings are tight, why not start simple with bamboo socks or an organic cotton white tee?

How to build a sustainable wardrobe AllSaints

  1. Mend your clothes

We’ve all heard of ‘make do and mend’, but do you do that with your clothes? Little things like holes in socks, missing buttons and broken zips are often so easy to fix, and don’t need throwing away. If you’re nifty with a sewing machine, why not take a look at the clothes you don’t wear because they don’t fit perfectly, and fix them up too? Petite or tall guys and gals in particular may be used to hemming clothes, but if you’re not you could always see how much a tailor would cost to fix up a few pieces- sew good (we’ll see ourselves out)!

  1. Donate your clothes

If, like me, you hoard your clothes because it’s still in good condition, or it will fit you one day  when it realistically hasn’t for years, donating those old clothes is the perfect way to get rid of those clothes. For many people, it’s second nature to donate rather than throw away, but did you know 350,000 tonnes of wearable clothes are sent to landfill every year in the UK alone? You don’t just have to donate though. Depop is big money these days, so why not clear out your wardrobe whilst making a buck too? Alternatively, send your clothes to Thrift+ if the hassle of uploading to Depop is too much; they’ll do the work for you, and you earn Thrift+ credit for every sale! Finally, if something is damaged can’t be fixed, charities like Shelter can pass clothing on further.

  1. Rent your clothes

The ultimate sustainable wardrobe is filled with basics, simple pieces and capsule pieces. So where do those trend-led jackets, jumpers, jeans and dresses fit in? With renting, of course. With statement pieces and stylish looks without the price tag or environmental footprint from the wear-it-once culture, renting your clothes is a stylishly sustainable way to wear clothes. It’s not just about occasion outfits either- The Devout offer everyday wear at great value with 5 pieces a month for just £79. Nice.


Do you have any more sustainable wardrobe tips for our readers to check out? Leave them below in the comments!

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