Clothes. You're probably wearing them right now. But, where do you buy your clothes? Do you own a vast wardrobe filled with outfits for every occasion, or are you more of a capsule wardrobe kind of person? Do you know where your clothes really came from or where they end up when you donate them or give them away? Our clothing choices may seem like a small matter, but style and fashion actually have a huge role in our economy and our environment. Fast fashion defines the world we live in right now: styles that come and go with each season, cheap quality that wears out after a few washes, and the ever-present societal pressure for us to own more. Fast fashion is bad for the planet, for people, and for animals - but the good news is redemption from fast fashion to an ethical wardrobe is possible! Here are 15 ways to ditch fast fashion and stop ditching clothes every
Define your style (or what you want your style to be)
Are you a strictly jeans and t-shirt kind of person or do you love to dress up? Do you live in avant-garde clothing or do you prefer to keep it a little more low-key? Whatever your style, narrow it down to make the process of building an ethical wardrobe easier. And if you don't know what your style is, ask some friends or coworkers! Once you've defined what your style is it will make deciding what to keep and what to buy in the future easier.
How many times have you bought something, only for it to sit in your closet for years? Yes, that one sundress with the Popsicle design is adorable, but how many times are you really going to wear it? Find the items in your closet that haven't seen the sun enough and donate them or re-purpose them.
Organize your closet
Keeping a neat and tidy space will help you not want to buy more things! So Marie-Kondo your closet and drawers. Buy some matching hangars, line the drawers with contact paper, do anything to make the space feel more like your own - and more under your control.
Research clothing companies
Now comes the important step: doing some research. While some companies make their ethics clear others hide their processes to keep consumers in the dark. One site I use for all my ethical need-to-knows is http://www.ashleepiper.com/lbb - Ashlee Piper, a Refinery29 contributor, has put together a great list of companies you can feel good about buying from. And when they say your dollar is your vote, take it to heart - the money we spend determines corporate actions. So buying from ethical businesses will help not just your closet but your world.
Shop secondhand first
Have an event that you don't have something to wear for? Try some secondhand shops! Thrift stores, consignment shops, vintage stores - all great ways to find something to fit an occasion while eliminating consumer demand for new products all the time. Plus, remember what I said about getting rid of clothes you never wear? If you need a formal gown, secondhand is a great way to make sure that you aren't blowing hundreds of dollars on something you'll be wearing for a few hours. Check out Rent the Runway, too, for clothes you simply rent for an occasion!
Don't buy cheap
When you do need to buy something new, look for quantity over price. I'm a broke college kid so I know that it can be hard to resist the temptation of a cheap pair of jeans and a cute top from Forever21, but knowing that the quality won't last long helps me decide to buy pieces that may be a bit pricier but will last a lot longer.
Take it one step at a time
We have been so integrated into a way of life where we have to buy new all the time, so don't expect to change those habits overnight! As with any lifestyle change, it will take a while to build a good relationship with ethical clothing. Commit to shopping secondhand first and to only buying what you know you'll get your money's worth out of. Happy shopping!
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