The textile and clothing industry has the second most significant impact on the environment, which is why more and more people are looking to make changes in their purchasing habits.
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However, sustainable fashion can seem like a monumental task. So, to help you get started, read on for five small but impactful sustainable style habits.
1. Choose quality over quantity
One of the easiest ways to begin making more sustainable style choices is to shift your purchasing mindset from quantity to quality. In other words, forego instant gratification for long-term satisfaction.
When you purchase an item from a non-sustainable high street retailer, you will immediately feel good and will like having something “of-the-moment.”
However, this will be a fleeting feeling. Unfortunately, “fast fashion” pieces are designed to fall out of trend and built not to last very long. After all, these retailers want you to go back soon to buy more!
Therefore, by choosing quality over quantity, you are more likely to invest in fewer pieces that you can wear for an extended period.
This habit will help you to avoid impulse purchases, have a closet full of pieces that you genuinely adore, and save the planet. Plenty of reasons to save up for and buy that Balenciaga bag!
2. Consider materials
Before you purchase something new, get in the habit of reading the label. It is a small thing, but being aware of the fabrics you buy can make a big difference.
Generally, cotton is considered a good material due to its natural, plant-based properties. And, cotton’s durability helps you to invest in fewer, better pieces as you can be assured that they will last a while.
What’s more, cotton is exceptionally breathable and doesn’t retain odors, which is ideal for reducing your laundry load! Hemp and linen are two other sustainable options.
On the other hand, materials such as polyester and acrylic are the least sustainable materials. Polyester can take up to 200 years to decompose and requires multiple chemical processes.
Acrylic is a synthetic material which means it cannot biodegrade. Additionally, it can’t be recycled and needs toxic chemicals and vast amounts of energy to be created.
3. Examine your washing habits
You may be surprised to learn that a quarter of a garment’s carbon footprint comes from how it is cared for.
Therefore, by examining your washing habits and looking for ways to make it slightly more sustainable, you can dramatically reduce your clothes carbon footprint.
And, it isn’t just the planet that will benefit; it will also help your clothing to last longer.
For more sustainable washing habits, you want to opt to wash less, wash at lower temperatures and dry clean only when (truly) necessary.
By washing your clothes less and using colder water, you are reducing the amount of energy required, while also preserving the fabrics.
Try only to wash clothes when you have a full machine load. In the interim, you can air them out or steam them instead.
Dry cleaning utilizes damaging chemicals that negatively affect fabrics, the environment, and your skin. So only use this service when you have no other option.
4. Look for second-hand items
A simple yet (very) fun approach to a more sustainable style is to start looking for second-hand items.
By opting to buy from thrift and vintage stores, you are consuming outside of the fashion cycle, and you are also more likely to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Purchasing second-hand items helps to keep them out of landfills and extends their lifespan. So, the planet wins, and you can curate your own personal style, too!
When you go thrifting, make sure to wear an outfit that is easy to try things on with – like a skirt, a neutral-colored fitted shirt with a loose blouse over the top. A combination like this will help you mix and match when trying on items.
Shapes and sizes have changed over the years, so it is best to try on everything that catches your eye first. If you love the color, pattern, or detail of something, you can always get it tailored to fit you perfectly.
Each time you enter a thrift or vintage store, try to keep an open mind and get creative!
5. Rent items for special occasions
Instead of buying a new dress or jumpsuit for each event you are invited to (and then only wearing it once), opt to rent a luxury outfit from a website such as Rent The Runway and Poshare.
That way, you can try out a new trend, or add something fresh to your wardrobe, without having to spend lots of money. Plus, you aren’t adding to the amount of clothing production.
Alternatively, many women like to sign up for a subscription clothing rental service where you receive a box of items each month.
This is an excellent idea because you can have your core closet made up of high-quality basics (such as Adidas shoes) and then use the changing rental pieces to accessorize and jazz up the outfits. That way, you always feel like you have new things!