The most sustainable shopping route of all lies in your own wardrobe …
Before you buy anything this season, “shop” your own wardrobe. According to a report by UK group WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) the value of unworn clothing in people’s wardrobes in the UK is estimated at around £30bn, around £200 per person. After years of impulse shopping and over-consumption, this is not surprising. But times are changing – and so are the habits of shoppers.
This season’s catwalks were filled with trends that are returning for the second, third or fourth time around. (Hello, Y2K dressing.) A few tweaks could make some pieces in your wardrobe wearable again. The last few seasons Victoria Beckham has made flared jeans look modern. One of the biggest winter trends? Chelsea boots. Instead of buying an updated pair, have an old one resoled. With some inspiration from the catwalk, you’d be surprised what new combinations you can come up with. (We’d also recommend you befriend your local tailor.)
By recycling what is already in your wardrobe, and not adding any further items, you’ll begin to notice that the weekly struggle of staring blankly at your wardrobe was the product of too much choice which left you unable to make a decision. But this idea only works if you have a clean slate to work with, meaning it’s spring clean time. Take every single item out of your wardrobe. Fill one rail with all of the items you actually wear regularly – you’ll be surprised how sparse this will be, usually around 30 per cent of your wardrobe. Next, separate the remaining pieces into four piles: clothes you want to keep, clothes to donate to charity, designer clothes for resale or consignment, and clothes beyond repair only suitable for textile recycling.
Heavy lifting over, organise your wardrobe in an ordered, accessible way. Make sure clothes have room to breathe, that you can see them clearly, that you have arranged clothes by category (dresses, shirts, trousers and then colour is usually best.) It’s then time to outfit-build with those pieces you haven’t worn or even seen in a long time. Shopping your own wardrobe can become as enjoyable as regular retail therapy but in the comfort of your own home, with your entire wardrobe at your disposal to try on different looks. You may find you now need a few items to “link” or refresh. You can shop consciously and carefully for these online.
The idea is to get to a working wardrobe that you can shop, full of items that suit your body, your lifestyle, and your personal style, so that you are never again left staring at a wardrobe full of clothes with “nothing to wear”.
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