A Simple Guide to a Sustainable Wardrobe
Updated: Sep 29
A sustainable wardrobe means that what you own causes as little damage to the environment as possible and it can also continue to exist in a particular condition for long, without major interventions. Keep in mind that the change does not have to happen in an instant, it is all about a process that takes time to perfect. To make it easier for you, I’m going to show you the most important three steps to follow, if you plan to have a sustainable wardrobe.
Learn to take good care of what you own. Clothing care is often overlooked when talking about having a sustainable wardrobe.
- Wash at a low temperature, at about 30. This will make your clothes go much further, as lower temperatures help the fiber resist more and it also requires less energy in the process. Of course, you should also check the tag as it comes with washing instructions. Some only need handwashing and some require low temperature by nature.
- Use eco-friendly detergents, like laundry detergent strips. At only 3 grams a strip, which is the needed quantity for one laundry load, saves lots in transportation, packaging, deposit and the impact on the greywater.
- Hang instead of dry, if possible. The heat from dryers can cause shirking or can damage the fabric. By hanging, you’ll use less energy and get clothes with a unique fresh air smell.
- Wash less. You don’t need to wash your clothes as often as you think, or after just one use, especially your favorite pair of jeans. While it normally depends on how much you sweat, there are some materials that require less washing in the first place. Wool or Silver treated fabrics have antibacterial properties, they don’ need to be washed very often, and they help at keeping odors away longer. Note that for certain wool garments, airing instead of washing works even better. This habit will not only help you save some money, but you’re also contributing to reducing water and energy consumption.
2. Wear. Revisit your closet and investigate
Start by looking into what you already own and decide what you like, what you’ll need and what you’ll never wear again. Make a pile for each category.
- Clothes you love. Look and these pieces that you decided to keep, and find the gap. Think of timeless pieces, which fit your style and would bring you joy to wear for years to come. Do not focus on the annual trends, as everything is changing at such a rapid pace.
- Clothes that need a fix. With basic repairs, like sewing a button or a patch you can prolong the life of each garment. If the material is too delicate or too thick, or if it needs some alteration to fit, visit your local tailor and have it fixed. You won’t regret giving your clothes a professional repair, just like a spa day for clothes.
- Clothes to donate/sell/recycle, because nothing goes straight in the trash
If one piece of cloth is no longer wearable, recycle it. There are more and more stores that offer vouchers in exchange for a couple of recycling clothes. If you simply don’t like it anymore, then find a charity to donate to or sell.
3. Quality not quantity
If we’re going to be talking about shopping, let’s shop the right way.
- Buy long-lasting versatile clothes, which are ethically produced. These are clothes that will pass the test of time on any given day.
- Buy second hand or vintage, especially when you’re looking for a statement item. These shops are just full of treasures.
- When buying new, look for sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton, recycled fabrics, resistant fabrics or new types of fabric, like Lyocell (also called Tencel), which is made of wood pulp, and therefore is fully biodegradable.
- Stop buying clothes made of plastic. Synthetic clothes take a long period to decompose.
- Look for good quality basic pieces of clothing, that you can mix and match in many seasonal outfits.
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