A Sustainable Girl’s Guide to Fashion

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I have loved dressing myself since as long as I remember. I have listened to a lot of the Dressed Podcast from IHeartRadio, and I am realizing that clothing is something that defines who we are to the outer world, as well as can speak volumes about our society. 

One thing I remember was getting voted as “Most Unique Style” in my senior year of high school, so whatever that means. And it’s now forever cemented in my high school yearbook. I look back, and over the years, my style has certainly changed. From wearing skirts and dresses every day (seriously, I wore jeans like twice in high school), to that basic sorority college girl to where I am now (which I describe as outdoor gal retro chic) But honestly, it’s hard to contain myself into one genre of fashion. Because some days I’ll dress like a total tomboy complete with dad jeans and a collared tee and Vans, others are 60’s vintage floral dresses, and others are out-there Patagonia patterned shorts and a tank complete with my Smith Wildcats to everything in between. But here are my tips to creating a sustainable closet full of stuff you’ll actually wear. 

 

Thrift Shop

I mention this in like all my blogs ever because it’s seriously one of my favorite activities that doesn’t include the outdoors (holla at me if you want a thrift shopping partner in SLC). It helps keep clothes in a circular loop, because fast fashion is one of the leading causes of CO2 emissions, and this problem isn’t emphasized enough. Thrift shopping can be just as cheap, but it helps keep all that awesome clothing out of the landfills. 

DIY and Altering

So now that you have shopped at the thrift store, know that you don’t have to keep that piece of item that way forever. Whether you just bought something or it has been sitting in your closet for a while and you want to switch things up, know that clothes can be altered. Here are some things (from easiest to a little harder) that I have done to switch up the styles of my closet: cut dresses into tops, make long sleeves into short sleeves and vice versa, add patches to jackets, add flared paneling to jeans, add fringe to, like, anything. It may just be the creative part of my brain, but when I see cute clothing, I usually thing: I can totally make that. So head to pinterest and Instagram to get inspo. Plus, you get a one- of – a – kind piece that no one else has. 

Limit Yourself

I love retail therapy as much as the next gal, but I usually limit myself to one or two items of clothing per shopping trip. It helps me get items that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE. I’m happy to say that I don’t think I have ever actually returned an item. Find pieces of clothing that make you want to rip off the tag and wear it LIKE RIGHT NOW, because that’s usually the stuff that will stay in your closet forever. Plus, I like riding my bike to thrift shop, so that helps me limit my items.

 

Invest in Quality Items

I have started to be more conscious about even what I thrift shop. I am even finding myself steering away from Fast Fashion brands like Rue 21 and Forever 21 because they are usually made of cheaper polyester fabric that piles easy and won’t last very long. I’m on the look out for brands like Patagonia that I already love for the quality. 

Versatility

As I have transitioned into a “big gal job”, I have noticed myself getting more items that I can wear at work, as well as wear to other outings. Having a basic and versatile closet can help you create new outfits out of a few pieces, which helps the illusion of having a bigger closet. My staples include Levi Vintage jeans, simple tanks, and collared t-shirts. 

But Also Quirky Stuff

Yes, it’s good to have a classic closet, but I wouldn’t be me without some staple weird items. Like seriously, I think the clothes that I end up wearing the most are pieces I got as kind of a joke to myself. This included fun patterned rompers, and funky shoes. 

Say No To Bags 

You use reusable bags shopping for groceries, so why not do it here too. Honestly, thanks to my one item rule, I normally can head to the thrift shop without a bag. I don’t remember the last time I took a bag from a store (whether it’s thrift or retail), because those bags would usually just pile up in my closet (anyone else hoard PACSUN and Victoria’s Secret bags in junior high??). 

Resell 

I love having access to all the awesome reselling places in Salt Lake City. Portland had a great amount as well. From Plato’s Closet to Uptown Cheapskate, and Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads for actual brick and mortar stores, to ThredUp and Poshmark online, there’s endless options to share your old closet with others. 

Clothing Party 

Trying to resell clothes sometimes ends up with them buying like three things, so if you want to get rid of more clothes, try having a clothing swap party with your friends IRL. Everyone brings stuff that you don’t want anymore, so everyone gets a fresh closet without spending a dime. 

Donate 

Why throw clothes away, when you can give it away to those that are less fortunate. I would go for trying to find women’s shelters or programs that give to women and girls that have been victims of sexual assault after getting tested in the hospital. It helps more than you know. 

 

I’ve cut out meat, dairy, eggs, grocery sacks, and other items from my life in order to be more sustainable, but shopping is one thing that I can’t seem to shake. So, by limiting this activity, it helps both my wallet and the Earth, but also makes me feel confident as I go about my daily life. 

What’s your favorite thrifted item? 

Your Full-Time Plant-Eater and Thrift Shopper, 

AJ

All clothing items featured in this article are sourced from a sustainable brand, second hand, or gifted to me.

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