If you are trying to make your wardrobe more sustainable, the most important thing is to determine which aspect of sustainability matters the most to you. And that’s not to say that all aspects aren’t important, but you need a starting point. For example, maybe you care that your clothing was made by an ethically run factory or maybe you just care about the environmental impacts of the fabric being used. Pick your focus and then you can build a sustainable wardrobe that truly reflects your values and expand over time.
Step 1: Perform An Ethical Closet Audit
Moving towards a more sustainable wardrobe people feel like they just need to throw their entire closet away and start from scratch. Throwing stuff away is actually part of the problem. I would start by performing an ethical closet audit first. I won’t go into too much detail as I have a previous article dedicated on how to conduct an ethical audit, but tossing your clothes out is environmentally damaging and is one of the major issues with fast fashion culture.
After you perform your ethical closet audit, separate your clothing into four piles: clothing you love, clothing you may wear, clothing you like but it doesn’t fit well, and clothing you won’t ever wear again. After you have created your piles give yourself a few weeks to decide if you still want to keep anything before donating them or reselling them.
Step 2: Invest in a Tailor
I can’t begin to express how useful a tailor is. I’m sure I have mentioned this in other posts as well. A lot of your discarded clothing can be saved by simple mending. If you can mend them yourself, great! Because free is obviously better, but if you don’t know how to sew and mend clothing you can easily find a local tailor within your budget.
Take your “clothing you like, but doesn’t fit well” pile and decide if you love it enough to spend money having a tailor correct the fit so you can actually start wearing those pieces. If you don’t love it as much to spend money, try to find ways to re-purpose those items. For example, a lot of my old cotton based clothing turns into cleaning rags or makeup remover cloths. You can always head on over to Pinterest for inspiration so you can start your own DIY projects.
Step 3: Take Inventory of What’s Left
Once you know the items you’re actually wearing in your wardrobe, it’s time to locate the gaps. What are you missing? These are typically foundation pieces that should be included in everyone’s wardrobe. For example, are you missing a white button up blouse? Maybe you don’t have a little black dress for date nights? Try to also take stock of the things you wish you had while getting dress. Try writing those things down so you know what to look for during future shopping trips.
Lastly, don’t get distracted by trends during this process. Try to notice the styles in your wardrobe you naturally gravitate towards. Make a mental list or write those pieces down as they will now become your investment pieces. So when you are out shopping you know which styles you love and which ones you don’t. There’s nothing worse than buying the entire outfit on the mannequin because you’re unsure of what style means to you.
Step 4: Buy Less, Choose Well
We all know the infamous Vivienne Westwood quote. Buying with intention is an essential part of creating a sustainable wardrobe. Once you know what you like, how you plan to wear it, and why you are buying it you can shop smarter, not harder.
Once you’ve streamlined your closet and taken stock of what pieces you need, start thinking about three other ways you can style that item with other items in your wardrobe. Remember, multiple wears is key! And I personally strive for 30 wears or more. If I can’t envision at least 30 wears, I’m more than likely putting it back.
Step 5: Shop Responsibly
Buying from ethical and sustainable brands is not always possible due to cost. Which is totally understandable. Please do not feel bad if you cannot purchase from a sustainable brand right away. Our minds have been essentially brainwashed by the fast fashion industry to accept cheaply made clothing. What we forget is that making clothing is not cheap or at least it’s not supposed to be. You’re supposed to be paying for the fair labor, quality fabrics, and ethical treatment of all individuals involved producing the garment.
So if you are financially able and are clear on what you like, it’s time to go shopping! Focus those hard earned dollars towards the brands that really deserve it. They are going the extra mile and have chosen to be a sustainable brand. Going against the grain is not easy, so vote with your wallet.
A great tool that I use all the time when shopping is the Good on You app. They have done all the hard work for you by researching and rating brands. The app will tell you clearly if they’re a sustainable brand or a brand you should avoid due to their unsustainable business practices. I also appreciate that they have a detailed explanation as to why each brand received their rating. Of course, you should do your own research but it helps to have tools to help with your search.
Good luck with starting your sustainable wardrobe journey! Feel free to leave a comment or send me a DM via Instagram if you have any questions or just want to chat about style and sustainable fashion. Until next time…
We can truly become our own worst enemy when it comes to our style. The #1 thing that destroys a women’s sense of style are her own mental roadblocks. These mental roadblocks make us second guess every decision we make. When working with clients to develop their personal style, here are some key mental roadblocks I run into and help my clients overcome.
I just want to lose a few more pounds…
I’ve touched on this before, but it is very common and normal to feel like you don’t want to spend money towards developing your style and wardrobe when you feel you’re not at your desired weight. No more excuses or wasted time. No matter your size, shape, income, or lifestyle; you are beautiful and deserve to look and feel your best right now.
I don’t have the money…
Having all the money in the world cannot bring you style. You can get your entire outfit from Salvation Army or Goodwill and look like a million bucks. It’s not about money, it’s all about how you put the pieces together. At the end of the day, you either have style or you don’t. Most of my wardrobe nowadays comes from thrift stores. There are many clothing options now at every price point. So stop using money as an excuse to not start developing your personal style. Some of my favorite pieces are under $10. Don’t fall asleep on thrift stores and bargain shops.
I don’t want people to stare at me…
If you’re typically a person that does not care for attention then having people stare is an understandable fear. I’ve had clients say “If I start dressing better, people are going to stare and think I’m trying too hard”. I hear you and I get it, but isn’t that putting someone else’s needs over your own? Change is hard, but it will be even harder if you’re always worried about what others think. Your happiness should be first and foremost, period. Don’t let this mental roadblock stop you from having impeccable style.
I don’t know what looks good together…
Style can be taught. To some it may come easier than others, but overall you can teach yourself how to build stylish outfits. Pinterest has been such a game changer for me when it comes to developing my personal style. It’s even a tool that I use when working with my clients. I create a Pinterest mood board for each client that we review together and they must approve the board before I start shopping. Compiling a collection of outfit inspiration can easily be recreated. Once you start to get the hang of putting outfits together you can even put your own unique spin on it.
There are many things that can keep you from starting your personal style journey and all of these fears or concerns are valid. But what is important is how you react to those fears. It’s a mental game and sometimes you just have to tell your internal thoughts to shut the hell up and just go for it. In the end you will be happier that you did.
What are some other mental roadblocks that stopped you from starting your personal style journey? Leave a comment or send me a DM via Instagram. Until next time…
Style doesn’t come easy for everyone, but everyone does have their unique personal style. Defining your look can be intimidating, but does not have to be difficult. It’s all about taking baby steps and I’m here to guide you along the way. Here are some easy steps you can follow, so you will be styling and strutting in no time.
Start with the Basics
A good foundation is the key to building a strong wardrobe. You must start with your basics. I talked about some good quality basics in last week’s post, but when building your new stylish wardrobe your basics have to extend into investment pieces. So your basics are jeans, t-shirts, and tank tops but your investment pieces are skirts, slacks, blazers, and blouses. When you are looking to add new pieces to your wardrobe your basics and investment pieces will be the perfect starting point.
When trying to develop your personal style try to pay special attention to what the women or men around you are wearing. And ask yourself what is it about their outfit that drew your attention? What do you dislike? When you see someone walking down the street and you can imagine yourself in the same outfit you’re heading in the right direction. These are key style indicators that you should pay attention to.
Remembering what you see while you’re observing can be difficult especially if you are always on the go. I suggest to open up a quick note page on your phone to keep track of the outfits you liked while out and about. Also, since style is so visual utilize Pinterest. I swear I’m probably on Pinterest more than I’m on any other social media platform. Creating style mood boards are not only fun, but extremely helpful for me when I get dressed in the morning. You might not have the exact same pieces in the Pinterest photos, but I’m sure you can get creative and find something similar. That’s why personal style is fun!
In an earlier blog post, I discussed why ignoring trends is useful and developing a style uniform is the way to go. But for the purpose of this guide, I think people often combine fashion with style. Not realizing they are two separate things. Following all the latest fashion trends by constantly rotating your wardrobe does not mean you have defined your personal style. The issue is that people think that style is materialistic, but it has nothing to do with the quantity of trends you have in your wardrobe. Then end goal should always be to create a unique style that represents you and should not be influenced by what’s “hot” and “trendy” right now.
Try Something New and Copy Till You Nail It
When you first embark on your personal style journey, don’t be afraid or ashamed that you copied someone else’s look. How else are you going to learn right? The world of fashion was built on taking inspiration from somewhere to create something beautiful. You are essentially doing the same thing when you take inspiration from someone’s personal style.
You should feel good about what you’re wearing. I don’t know how many times I have heard people buying things because it was in season or on trend, but they have no idea how to style it. Therefore, they never wear it. Money down the drain. Trying something new and changing your look can be intimidating or even scary for some. These feelings are 100% normal because you’re putting pressure on yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. All I ask is this, give yourself the freedom to explore and try something new. That’s truly when you will start to jump into a personal style that speaks to you.
I really hope you enjoyed this guide to personal style. If you have some other tips or tricks that you’ve used to develop your personal style leave a comment below or send me a DM via Instagram. I love keeping the conversation going about fashion and style. Also, you have any other guide topics in mind let me know. Until next time…
Mynka is a personal wardrobe stylist sharing some style tips, outfit inspiration, and using this blog as a platform to continue the important discussions surrounding sustainable fashion.