6 simple tips for building a greener wardrobe

22 April 2019
By Fashion Quarterly


Keep the pedal well away from the metal when it comes to chasing trends, says Terri Dunn, who shares simple tips for building a greener wardrobe.

Mastering the art of a sustainable wardrobe and parting ways with trends is no small feat; especially with the latest fashion on the market, *adding to cart* has never been easier. Swap out once-worn-forever-torn pieces with staples that will last the distance.

Here are our top 6 tips for building a greener wardrobe:

1. Look out for lemons

The world could sustain for several decades with the amount of clothing available to us right now, yet our thirst for fast fashion remains insatiable. If someone asked you to select the pieces in your wardrobe you’d want to wear for the next 50 years, how many would you be able to conjure up? How many do you think would actually last? Our guess is not many.

Curb your consumption with this in mind by investing in quality over quantity and envisaging yourself holding onto pieces for decades to come. Think versatility and durability. In the wise words of Dame Vivienne Westwood: “Buy less, choose well, make it last.”


2. Servicing & maintenance

Looking after the contents of your wardrobe as you would you vehicle is paramount to protecting its longevity. If your windscreen wipers started wearing out or your fan belt needed replacing, you wouldn’t just park your car outside the nearest wreckers and call it a day.

Go to lengths to preserve the pieces in your wardrobe – follow the instructions on the care labels, wash your garments less often, and have buttons and zippers replaced when they wear out. If you’re not prepared to put in the elbow grease to service it – or pay someone else to – perhaps you shouldn’t purchase a piece in the first place.

Keep reading: This cost-per-wear calculator figures out if the item you’re about to purchase is really worth it

3. Buying new versus used

Everyone knows brand new cars depreciate as soon as you drive them off the lot, and fashion trends behave in a similar way. However, by the same token, the market for used vehicles is still a thriving one, and moving on from a certain item of clothing or going for the KonMari method of tidying up doesn’t warrant chucking them out.

Instead, donate them to charity, drop them into a second-hand boutique or investigate textile recycling initiatives in your area and give your joyless junk a fighting chance at another life. You never know, you might just stumble on someone else’s unwanted snakeskin Chloé trousers for a fraction of the cost while you’re at it.


4. Your unique buyer’s checklist

If you’re in the market for a seven-passenger crossover, don’t let your head be turned by the convertible coupe – develop your sense of style and stick to it.

Granted, when there are hot trends at every turn, it can be difficult to cultivate a sense of style amid the noise, so look to your lifestyle, values, circumstances and existing favourites to keep you on track. Oversized woollen teddy coats may be the height of chic in the northern hemisphere, but they’re unlikely to serve much of a purpose in an Auckland winter.

5. Turn off at the next exit

Breaking up with trends is hard. But what it does do is force you to assess which garments ultimately form the foundation of your unique style. From here, you can add building blocks that support each other and provide countless options.

Rather than giving your wardrobe an overhaul each season, you can then simply update it with one or two statement pieces that will work hard with your existing ones.

6. Cut & polish

Last, but not least – if you feel your closet has lost its shine, don’t automatically give in to an impulse purchase. The power of a new fragrance, lipstick or hairstyle to breathe new life into your look cannot be underestimated.

Watch: How to reduce your fashion footprint

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This article originally appeared in Fashion Quarterly, Issue 1, 2019.

Words: Terri Dunn
Photos: Getty Images

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