Will my new wardrobe cost the Earth?

It’s time for a new wardrobe. My next birthday is a big one (and I don’t mean 40). My shape is changing and so are my style aspirations. Add to that I’m only five foot with curves. Oh yes, one more thing; Sustainability.

The clothes I choose must be ethically sourced. Clothes with a conscience. You know; not being responsible for buying fashion items which cause misery in sweatshops around the world. The question is where to start?

I discovered there’s a lot of change going in in the clothing industry, which provides us, the discerning shopper with more choice. Here’s a quick guide to creating a personal panache whilst following the heart.

Choose classic styles which suit your body shape, so you can wear them again and again.

Develop your clothing capsule. Staples for every occasion from gym to formal dinners.

Wash less frequently and at lower temperatures. Every time you wash, fibres are lost, shortening the life of the garment. Reduced energy will save you money too. More about this on WRAP’s website ‘Love Your Clothes’

Find out which shops ‘do better.’  There’s a wide range of brands making strides to be sustainable. At the top end, Stella McCartney and Ferragamo are just two such names proving that elegance and environment can work together. Everyday basics can be sourced from some high street shops such as H&M Concious and Zara Join Life especially if you’re on a budget.

Download this fantastic app called ‘Good on You’ which ranks hundreds of brands on social and environmental criteria. It is one of the easiest apps I have come across and also provides suggestions of alternative similar brands which may ranks more favourably.

Purchase ‘pre-loved’ clothes from shops like Violet in Harrogate which stocks high fashion ‘as good as new.’ Look for these shops in more affluent areas to find more exclusive brands.

For special occasions, hire your ‘wow-factor’ outfit from a dress agency like Chic-by-Choice, Girl Meets Dress or  Hire the Catwalk  That way you won’t get caught out wearing the same old special dress for every event you are invited to.

You can even rent your Ascot hat from Headwear by Claire in Alwoodley or Get Ahead Hats in Long Marston, you won’t have it forever cluttering up your valuable shelf space, never to be worn again.

These are just a few pointers to get you started. As consumers, we don’t need to be part of the problem. With minimal effort, we can all make clothing choices which make us look good on the outside and feel good on the inside too.

Michelle Marks is a sustainability consultant who runs Coral Mountain, which helps small, medium and large companies look after the planet, whilst ensuring profitability.

 

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