Auditing Your Closet: A Sustainable Wardrobe Without Shopping
by Sica Schmitz | Posted on January 27 2017
Sustainable fashion has a reputation for being difficult and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The simplest, easiest – and yes, cheapest – way to create a sustainable wardrobe is to start with what you have.
As a Sustainable Stylist I love helping my clients shop for beautiful ethical clothing, but before we start adding anything new, I like to first see how we can use their current closet to create their dream wardrobe. Once we’ve gone through these 6 steps, then we can start adding more.
DITCH WHAT YOU DON'T LOVE
We hold onto a lot of things for a lot of reasons. That dress we hope to fit into one day, that scarf from an ex, those shoes you haven't worn in 3 years but what if you need them the future (?). These items might have served a purpose at one point, or we hope they will in the future, but if they don’t fit into your life right now, aren’t comfortable, or have painful memories attached, they don’t belong in your closet. Save room for things that make you feel beautiful, confident, empowered, and happy, and let everything else go.
TAKE IT IN, UP, OR OUT
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, but most clothing doesn’t. Fortunately, that’s where tailoring come in. By taking the time and (small) investment to hem your pants, take in a waist, let out a leg, or add an extra snap or button where needed, your clothing will be so much more useful - plus it will look like it was made for you.
NEVER HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR
Even with a beautifully curated closet, it’s totally normal to occasionally have things get forgotten in the back or have those days where you just feel like nothing works. By making a wardrobe plan it will take the guesswork out of what to wear. Photograph your favorite looks to reference, hang items together that you always wear together, and set an easy schedule to stick to (maybe you always wear skirts on Fridays?). You can even hire a stylist or find apps to help!
CREATE A UNIFORM
Some of the most brilliant, creative people stick to their own personal uniforms (Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Michael Kors, for example). Plus I do too. Your personal uniform is an outfit that fits mosts parts of your lifestyle, works most days and is easy to duplicate. It's what you can throw on and go, any day you're short on time or inspiration. This does not mean that you need to wear your personal uniform every day (or even every week), but it's a great fallback for those days you just don't know what to wear or are running late.
SHOP YOUR CLOSET
We all love that new clothing feeling, and believe it or not, you can find it in your own closet. Create a section for anything you haven’t ever worn, or haven’t worn in the past 6 months, and next time you have the urge for some retail therapy visit your own private boutique. However, if you’re never going to wear an item, revisit the first step.
HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS
Loving and respecting your clothing is an important part of having a sustainable wardrobe. A few things every closet needs are:
- Appropriate hangers: my favorite are velvet hangers, which don't take up a lot of space and help keep things from sliding on the floor
- Steamer: basically nobody likes ironing (except for my mom, who somehow finds it relaxing), but steaming is a fast and painless way to make your clothes look fresh and crisp. This is my absolute favorite steamer which I have used for years (plus it's great for traveling)
- Accessories storage: shoe storage, belt storage, jewelry storage, get the right tools to organize what you have. Just remember that no amount of organizing will fix having too much stuff!
- Stain Remover: life happens, and a quality (non-toxic, cruelty-free) stain remover will keep your clothes from paying the price