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5 Steps To A More Conscious Wardrobe

If our clothes say so much about who we are, why is it that we know so little about them?

You may have been putting off transitioning into ethical fashion because it sounds like too much money and too much work. A thoughtful and conscious wardrobe is something that will take years to curate, and remember that we're striving for progress, not perfection here.

Here are 5 steps you can take to change the way you approach fashion:

1. Buy Less

  • Distinguish between Want and NeedIn this age of digital marketing and social media, we are constantly bombarded with messages that we "need" a lot of things, but if we slow down and gain some perspective, we'll quickly realize how much excess we live in. While you're at it, unsubscribe to all marketing emails and your credit card will thank you for it.

  • Keep a list: It's easy to lose track of just how much you're buying with online shopping, so it helps to write down a list of everything you're purchasing (and coveting) and how much you're actually spending (and saving).

  • Go On A Shopping Fast: Pick a realistic time frame that works for you (it can be a week, a month or an entire season) and do a #nobuy. For some extra inspiration, read A Bunch Of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy by Sarah Lazarovic.

  • Repair, Not Replace: Just because something shows a little wear and tear doesn't mean it's destined for the trash- pick up some basic sewing skills or send it to the tailor to be mended. Give it a new lease of life by repurposing or upcycling it into something else!

2. Buy Used

    • The Law of Diminishing Satisfaction: Get over the mindset of constantly having to have new things- continual consumption will actually result in negative incremental satisfaction. Buying used equates to reduction in manufacturing, production and packaging, which is better for the environment.

    • Enjoy the treasure hunt: There is something exciting about finding a gem amongst something discarded or neglected, and the idea of creating your unique #OOTD that is not a carbon copy of a catalogue or magazine spread. Besides thrift stores and vintage boutiques, there are plenty of websites and apps you can shop secondhand, including (but not limited to) Ebay, Thredup, Second Time AroundPoshmark, Tradesy and The Real Real.

    • Purge Consciously: Before you pat yourself on the back for your latest KonMari purge, bear in mind that fast fashion trends and shortening seasons lead to as much as 84% of your unwanted clothing ending up in a landfill or incinerator. Instead, get a group of family and friends together and do a clothing swap instead!

    3. Buy Quality

        • Fewer, Better Things: Adopt a luxury shopping approach and choose style over trends, focusing on premium materials and craftsmanship. Choose to invest in quality pieces and consider the cost per wear instead of buying fast fashion, and regular maintenance will translate to years of additional wear. 

        • Aim for 30 Wears: This idea comes from Livia Firth, Creative Director of Eco-Age (and wife to Colin Firth), encouraging you to buy only what you love and commit to wearing it at least 30 times. This is a simple idea that has saved me from making many impulse purchases over the last year.

        [Credit: Sarah Lazarovic via Huffington Post]

        4. Understand Your Labels

        • What is it made of? The general rule is to choose natural fibres like cotton, linen, hemp and wool over synthetic materials like acrylic and polyester, but there are also biodegradable man-made fibres like viscose, rayon, lyocell and tencel that are environmentally-friendly. Beware of anything static or wrinkle resistant, stain proof or moth repellant, because these are usually treated with chemicals. 

        • Where is it made? Garment workers work long hours but are often not paid a living wage, not just in developing countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam but even in Downtown LA. Choose brands that practice transparency in their supply chain and worker conditions, and challenge those that don't. 

        5. Support Indie Brands

        • Small is better: Independent brands have a greater oversight and control over every aspect of their supply chain and operations, and when you shop from them you are supporting the dreams of a small business owner (and some of them will grow to become big businesses, yay!). 

        • Demand action: Get in contact with the brands you shop from and ask them #whomademyclothes for a cleaner, safer, fairer and more accountable fashion industry. 

        Want to learn more? Here are some additional resources:

        "Fast Fashion isn't free. Someone somewhere is paying." - Lucy Siegle


        1. This is such a good list! :) I am trying the 3 wers challenge this year and I've decided to do a no-spend for 6 months too, to just enjoy what I own for a while!

          Hope you have a great weekend coming up :)

          Away From The Blue Blog

          1. I haven't attended a formal no-spend myself, but I give myself a budget to stick to each month so that keeps me in check ;)

            Thank you so much for stopping by and have a great weekend too!

        2. SUCH A GOOD READ! Thank you so much for this thoughtful post, Tricia! I feel like as moms, we need to take the lead on this, especially because we have great influence over our family’s consumption habits. Definitely taking all these points with me as I shop for the holidays!


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