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It takes 2,000 gallons of water to make one regular pair of jeans. Yeah, you read that right, and if you’re anything like me this statistic probably scares the sh*t out of you. I mean, how many pairs of jeans do you own right now? How many have you owned in your whole lifetime? Probably quite a few, I know I have.
There’s a lot more encouragement to dress sustainably nowadays, which is really great! It might sound daunting and like a hassle at first, but it really doesn’t have to be. If you follow these simple & easy tips, you’ll be the queen (or king) of dressing sustainably in no time. 😉
1. Buy Secondhand
Did you know that it takes 2,700 liters of water to produce one cotton T-shirt? However, if you buy a shirt secondhand, you save 2,700 liters of water. That’s why buying secondhand is highly recommended when shopping to dress sustainably, especially if you’re working up to it and just getting started.
You can find clothes that you would typically like and wear, and for a cheap price! Plus, it’s so much fun to go thrift shopping. You can even make a day out of it and invite friends! It’s a really great alternative to buying new, but just make sure you’re taking care of the clothes so they last a while and you won’t have to keep buying more.
Some well-known secondhand stores include Goodwill and Poshmark, but you can also google secondhand/thrift stores near you.
I also wrote an article on 7 different online thrift stores that you can find here!
2. Buy Only What You Need
A good tip to remember when practicing sustainable fashion is to only buy what you need. I know sometimes you might be tempted to go for a shopping spree, but by the end of it you’ll most likely end up with a bunch of clothes that you’ll only wear a handful of times and then never again.
I’m not saying that everyone has to have a super minimal wardrobe, but just be mindful of what you’re buying and if you actually need it.
3. Wear Your Clothes
Didn’t I tell you this was simple? The kindest thing you can do for your clothes is to wear them. I know we’ve all been there; we buy something we think we really like, wear it once or twice (or not at all), and then it goes to waste, which is the opposite of what we want to do to dress sustainably. This also kind of goes hand-in-hand with buying only what you need. If you only buy what you need, and have fewer clothes, you’ll be more likely to wear them.
4. Take Care of Your Clothes
You’ll notice that a lot of peoples’ advice to dressing sustainably is taking care of your clothes. That’s because the better you take care of them, the longer they’ll last you. Most clothes have a little tag with symbols that tell you how to properly clean them. Here’s a website that tells you what all the symbols mean.
It’s also better not to wash your clothes too often as they will wear faster. The Guardian has a good post on how to know if you’re buying quality items and tips to properly take care of them.
5. Shop Sustainably Focused Stores
There are some really great clothing brands out there focused on making the fashion industry sustainable. They make clothes from either recycled material and/or ethically sourced material and focus on using significantly fewer resources.
Many brands claim to be sustainable, especially well-known brands, but make sure you do your research to see if that’s actually true. If they don’t have clear, well-organized, and specific information about their materials, labor, emissions, and what to do with their clothing after it’s worn out, then I wouldn’t buy from them. It should also show details on their factories, certifications, and exact fiber mix. These will usually be under a “Sustainability” tab on their website.
Basically, it should be fairly easy and straightforward to tell if they are actually sustainable and not greenwashing.
Good On You is an app that allows you to see how brands measure on their sustainability scale and it makes it easier for you to discover other ethical and sustainable brands around the world!
Brands Focused on Sustainability
Here are a few of the stores I know of and think their clothes are so cute:
- Organic Basics: They invest in quality fabrics that are good for the environment and also use recycled material for most of their clothing. They only partner with trusted certified factories. (Has men and women options)
- Wolven: Their garments are made with certified Recycled P.E.T fabric made from recycled water bottles. Their clothes are free from harmful and toxic chemicals. They are also carbon-neutral. (Has men and women options)
- Arnhem Clothing: They choose only the best and most sustainable fibers derived from renewable wood pulp. They use organic and BCI certified cotton fibers, which eliminate the use of toxic chemicals. The only synthetic fibers they use are made from recycled materials. Their garment bags are compostable and made from corn-starch. (Has women and children options)
- Girlfriend Collective: Their packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable. They use recycled material to make their products and manufacture in an SA8000 certified factory that guarantees fair wages, safe and healthy conditions, and zero forced child labor.
6. Shop Handmade & Small Businesses
If you’re looking for clothes, or honestly any other item, you should also check out handmade items from small businesses. These items are more sustainable because they are made in small batches and can sometimes be one of a kind. They aren’t made in huge factories and require much less energy and resources to be made.
Not to mention you’re supporting individual people and their art. You can find a lot of these stores on Etsy.
7. Get Informed
Thankfully, it’s a lot easier to stay informed nowadays. If you want to know the environmental impact of a brand, all you have to do is some research. More and more brands are learning to operate with sustainability in mind, so it’s much easier to dress sustainably than it once was.
It’s always good to do your research and ask questions if you’re unsure. You can email the brand any questions you have, and they should give you all the answers! If they don’t or their answers are vague, then that’s a red flag.
Also, be wary of social media brands that claim they are sustainable but don’t actually have anything to back it up. There are a lot out there doing this, believe it or not. If a brand isn’t being transparent about how sustainable their production process is, it’s probably a sign that it isn’t. As I mentioned, you can always email them with any questions you have about the brand’s sustainability.
Thanks for reading 🙂
I really hope this helped you get started in dressing sustainably. These are just a few tips that you could start practicing today. Feel free to share this post with friends and family to get them involved! We can all use a little more sustainability in our lives. 😉
You’re gonna do great and I’m so proud of you for being a part of the change! 💚
If you have any more tips or any questions, please share them with us below!
Until next time my loves,