5 Ways to Build an Ethical Wardrobe
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want."—Anna Lappe
When considering how to leave less of a "dirty fingerprint" on the world, how and what we buy might initially seem like the most obvious first change to make. While supporting ethical brands is important, it isn't the only thing playing a part in building an ethical wardrobe. Even if it was, it's irrational to think you can dump every single piece of clothing in your wardrobe and exchange them for ethically-made pieces immediately. The key is having a solid foundation to build upon, and supporting ethical brands with your hard-earned dollars is actually no where near the foundation! So, what's at ground level? I'm glad you asked!
1. Care For the Clothing in Your Closet
While this seems like a no-brainer, we are all a little guilty of taking poor care of our clothing at times. A few quick tips that I live and breathe by are:
Don't wash your clothing after every wear, unless you've taken a spill or it's been an especially hot day. Denim jeans can last between five-six wears before needing a wash! Before throwing a piece in the wash, take a peek at the tag. If it says "hand-wash only" (or if half your wardrobe does), try starting a "Hand-Wash Only" hamper for those pieces, and clean them by hand once-two times a month. Always adhere to tag suggestions, whatever they are. Let the more delicate pieces air dry. Basically, anything you don't want to risk shrinking, fading or pilling, air dry them.
If you take care of the clothes you own, then you won't need to shop as often. This is the number one easiest way to reduce your fingerprint in the fast-fashion world.
2. Shop with Intentionality
This one comes down to one simple reminder: only shop for what you need, only buy what you love 100%. Initially, you may feel like you're missing out on trends or fads. In reality though, you're treating yourself to a wardrobe that fully flatters you and can be worn through each season. Holding out for the perfect piece is worth waiting for because you see and feel the difference in the long run.
3. Prioritize Quality
A tip to live by: never purchase pieces made with synthetic materials. Each fabric is unique and offers different benefits, so choosing the most well-made ones can be tricky and might require a bit of research (a blog on how to spot the difference between well-made and poorly-made fabrics is in the works!). In addition to being eco-friendly with fabric choices, if you can afford to shop those items ethically then by all means, go for it! Regardless, the less-often you need to replace an item, the better. Whether buying ethically or not, the best way to reduce a dirty fingerprint is by buying pieces to last.
4. Buy Vintage
An affordable way to fill your wardrobe with pieces you'll love for a lifetime is by shopping at your favorite local or online vintage stores. You may not always find exactly what you're looking for, but it's a treat when you find that and so much more at a fraction of the cost. Search "thrift" or "vintage" in your Maps app and watch the local gold-mines appear! Remember, buying well-made clothing to last still applies, even when shopping vintage.
5. Shop Ethically
Ethical clothing brands are the future. No, really. Supporting them now means more will pop-up in the future, and will help build a stronger, more sustainable society, world-wide! It is absolutely true that every dollar you spend is a vote for the type of world you desire, so vote well! No matter your style preference, there IS an ethical brand out there (or five) with your name on it. Once you've nailed steps 1-4, come back here and search for our upcoming blog, "14 Ethical Brands You'll Fall in Love With" to find your new favorite ethical shop!