More people than ever are keen to start shopping sustainably. But when it comes to clothes shopping, where do you start? I’ve put together six top tips to help make things easier.
Six tips to make clothes shopping sustainable
Make considered choices
Before buying something think about whether you really need it. I know that sounds obvious but how many purchases have you made on a whim? I will often try to think of five different outfits that the new piece could be worn with. If I can’t pair it with items I already own then it goes back on the rail. This means I don’t end up with something that I have to buy multiple items before I can wear it. And, if it slots easily into my wardrobe then I’m unlikely to regret its style. I’ve previously written about the five outfit rule on the blog.
Take a look at the fabric it is made from. Will it become misshapen after a handful of washes? Does it feel poor quality? You want to be able to wear everything again and again, not just because you love it but because it lasts.
If you’re really keen to go clothes shopping then consider shopping pre-owned. Visit your local charity shop for a bargain -there’s plenty of hidden treasures- or try selling sites like eBay or Depop. As a designer shopping fan I love browsing Vestiaire Collective, Luxury Promise and Sellier Knightsbridge.
By buying second-hand you not only save money but you’re giving an existing item a new life. No new fibres have have been used to create it and you’re potentially saving it from landfill
Vintage shops are another place to try. How about swapping clothes with friends?
While I always remember to take re-usable bags when I go food shopping, this is something I need to consciously remember to do when clothes shopping. You can buy re-usable bags that fold up really small so they don’t take up much space in your handbag. It will really cut down your plastic usage if you can remember to take your own bag clothes shopping too.
I briefly mentioned taking a look at the fabric an item is made from before you buy it. Ideally we should be trying to avoid non-biodegradable materials like nylon and polyester and anything that has been treated with toxic chemicals. Look out for fabrics like organic cotton and linen instead as less water is used to produce them.
Something else to look out for is Tencel. Some stores have clothing made from Tencel so watch out for this on labels. It is a fibre produced from sustainably sourced wood by environmentally responsible processes.
Clothes shopping online
Supporting our high street is obviously very important, but if you’re like me you might not be keen on shopping in person at the moment. Obviously online clothes shopping is so much more convenient. Many eco-friendly brands actually state on their website what their delivery practices are like using recycled packaging.
If you do take the time to research how a brand packages and delivers items you can always take things one step further and email them about their practices.
Have a wardrobe clear out
I like to regularly like to keep on top of what clothes I have after making my wardrobe spark joy. If you have items in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn for a year then donate to charity or resell.
According to Wrap UK an estimated £140 million worth (around 350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year. Donating or recycling clothing is the easiest way to help prevent this avoidable waste.
If you’ve bought something in the past that you absolutely love but it just doesn’t fit quite right, take it to a tailor to be altered. Anything that is damaged can also often be mended.
I would really love to know if you have any top tips on how to shop more sustainable so leave a comment and carry on the conversation!