Want to be the queen of fashion, but also want to be kind to the environment? Then here are some tips for making your wardrobe more sustainable, while not having to give up your love of clothes.
1. Buy Second Hand
Not only is buying second hand a more sustainable way of buying clothes, it’s also a really fun, rewarding experience. Although you may have to sift through a lot of mismatched racks, it’s all worth it when you find that unique vintage skirt with your favourite colours printed on it, or that stunning jacket that would have been way too expensive in a retail store.
There are some great clusters of op shops around Stones Corner, Geebung, and most likely somewhere near you. And if op shopping isn’t quite your thing, you can try Swop Shop (there is a store in West End and on Adelaide Street in the city) for a more curated selection. They also give you store credit if you donate clothes to them, so it’s a win-win.
You can also head to Suitcase Rummage in Brisbane Square (it’s on every second Sunday of the month) or Her Wardrobe markets (which is on every Sunday at Mt Gravatt) for a nice day spent outdoors, looking through other people’s funky second-hand clothes.
2. Buy Clothes That Will Go The Distance
The best thing you can do is check the labels to see what the garment is made from. Natural, good quality fibres such as cotton, linen, silk, wool, and some forms of rayon will last you almost a lifetime. Try to avoid synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon and spandex. These fibres waste a lot of water and dye, and won’t last long in your wardrobe.
Also make sure to feel the garment’s density. If it feels light, flimsy and the knit or weave of the fabric is too loose, holes may form and it may become misshapen after washing. Also check inside the garment for details such as loose threads, sloppy hems, and loose stitching. This means the garment has been made cheaply and will not last. On the other hand, if the inside of the garment looks clean and finished, it shows that the item has been made with care.
Lastly, examine your own clothes to get a sense of what garments have aged well, and then look for these qualities when shopping for clothes.
3. Try To Avoid Trends
Instead, try investing in classic pieces that you can mix and match with anything. Also, look for pieces that genuinely make you happy, and pieces that you know you’ll always love and wear, regardless of the trends.
The beauty of fashion in Australia in 2020 is that a lot of people seem to be wearing and creating their own style, no matter what the trends are. And thanks to the growing popularity of second-hand and vintage shopping, styles and prints from pretty much every era are on trend. This makes wearing what you like, instead of following a set trend, a whole lot easier.
4. Buy From Local Boutiques Or Markets
Supporting local designers is a great way of encouraging slow fashion, and the movement of knowing where your clothes come from and who makes them, with the added bonus of adding unique and beautifully made pieces to your wardrobe.
Markets such as Etsy, Support Local, or Finders Keepers at RNA Showgrounds are a great place to find local, handmade clothing and discover and support local makers. BrisStyle markets all around Brisbane, as well as Young Designer Market on Little Stanley Street are also great markets to check out.
5. Shop Less Often And Don’t Be Tempted By Sales
I know it’s a hard one, but go shopping only when you need something specific, and avoid aimlessly walking around the shopping centre, or going window shopping, because that will almost always turn into an impulse purchase. More importantly, don’t be tempted by discounted prices. If you’re buying an item purely because of the good price, then you’re usually better off without it.
Also make sure to unsubscribe to those pesky emails that also temp you with good deals. You should always ask yourself if you need an item, and how often and for how long you would be wearing it. If you know you’ll love and wear it for years to come, then go ahead. But if it’s something that may not even be your style or go with anything else in your wardrobe, then leave it behind, no matter how tempting.