We’ve talked in previous posts about the benefits of buying vintage or second-hand clothing (aside from being sustainable, there are so many good finds!). But while we love a good hunt through a vintage store, we know that it’s not for everyone, at least not all the time. There are certain situations when you really need (or, let’s be real, want) something brand new. So what to do then?
The good news is that you don’t have to throw your ideals out the window in pursuit of a new outfit. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Avoid fast fashion
Ah, the $12 dress. Not to name names, but most of us can relate to buying these by the armful at age *ahem* 21. The appeal is easy to understand — so cheap! — but the consequences are significant. Cheaply made clothing, meant to be worn once or twice and then thrown away, is a nightmare for the environment, and to make matters (much ) worse, this clothing is almost always made from toxic materials. Which brings us to…
Look for eco-friendly fibers
Polyester, acrylic, nylon, and all synthetic fabrics are the ones you definitely want to avoid. They’re made from plastic, and plastic is - say it with me - causing massive problems for the earth. Instead, check labels and gravitate towards clothes made from linen, bamboo, hemp, or organic wool. In other words, you’re looking for fabrics that are made from natural fibers and are biodegradable, which greatly reduces their carbon footprint.
Look for clothes made from recycled materials
In lieu of the materials mentioned above, you can also find brands that are recycling plastic and making something new. One example is fleece, which is often made from recycled plastic bottles.
Invest (in less)
We get it: it can be daunting to think about spending more money on clothes than you absolutely have to. Instead, we encourage you to re-frame the way you think about the money you spend on clothing. Rather than spend $12 for a cheap dress every single time you need one, find something sustainable and well-made that you’ll be able to wear over and over again. Invest in pieces you really love. Build a wardrobe you want to keep, instead of one you cycle through every six months.
Get to know your local tailor and cobbler
Speaking of keeping clothes you love… this is another way to do that! Even the most sustainable and well-made clothing may get snagged here or there. Rather than give up on something when it gets a rip or tear, take it to a tailor and have it repaired. [add a line about getting shoes repaired here] You’ll be supporting a local business while keeping your well-loved clothes from the landfill.
Go forth and shop sustainably!