How To Shop Sustainably Stylish

2019 was the year that the fashion industry started to take sustainability seriously,  thanks to more transparency, our eyes are now wide open to the world of fast fashion which is designed for a quick turnover of profit and churning out seasonal trends. The effect that this amount of clothing production and waste has on the planet is staggering and the planet is unable to keep up with the demand on its natural resources therefore unless we make drastic changes, the world is heading for an eco-disaster.

Cotton production seems to be one of the worst culprits for heavy water consumption with around 10,000 litres of water needed just to make 1kg of cotton. Natural fibres such as hemp and flax are a great deal more sustainable than cotton; requiring less land space and water.

As someone who has been buying and wearing vintage for the last 20 years,  I am here to help guide you in the right direction for getting a more sustainable and eco-friendly wardrobe without sacrificing on style.

Start Slow:

There was a time when slow fashion brands were just a bit meh. Nowadays with more  slow fashion brands and eco-friendly designers emerging the choices are far from being basic and you can find really stylish fashion without sacrificing the planet, for a sustainable wardrobe to really flourish it is always better to avoid the latest ‘hot right now’ on-trend looks and choose classics that will stay stylish no matter what year we are in.

I personally love the marketplace Rêve En Vert which means “Dream in Green’ for some really stylish and highly curated collections from designers who operate their businesses with respect for people and the planet.

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Buy Secondhand. 

If you cannot afford to buy such quality items at full price, try buying secondhand or vintage, if you cannot bring yourself to trudge around charity shops or you don’t have time, try searching on sites such as EBay, Etsy and  Depop for some great secondhand designer, nearly new and vintage pieces.

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Charity shops are a great way to seek secondhand designer or high street items on-trend or classics but some people find it quite daunting to go round the charity shops, so here are a few of my tips to get the best out of your visit.

  1. Firstly to prepare yourself,  have something in mind that you are looking for, such as high waist trousers, or a silk blouse or a cashmere sweater. I find it easier than just aimlessly looking for anything that takes your fancy.
  2. Find out when they put out the new things, some shops are updating their stock all day but some shops just restock one or two days a week, getting in first when the fresh stock goes out is a good way of finding good stuff.
  3. Buy only the good high street brands or designers, for example, a secondhand Whistles blouse will last much longer than a secondhand Primark blouse. The fun thing about Charity shops is finding designer pieces, I have found designer pieces from the likes of Chloe, Nicole Farhi, Marella, Maxmara, Aquascutum and many more, my wardrobe is pretty impressive for a secondhand collection. I also mix in high-street garments from JIGSAW or Whistles and Zara, all second hand, I never buy new.

So you have got the sustainable dressing down to a tee but how do you make sure you are looking stylish? There are a few simple rules which will always give you an advantage in the style stakes.

  1. Rule number one, never buy clothes that are too small for you, there is nothing attractive about squeezing into something that doesn’t fit, it will make you look bigger than you are, a blouse that has some room to move maybe even a bit big but tucked into high waist trousers looks elegant and stylish.
  2. Wearing similar tones also gives you a more stylish look, neutrals or all black or all navy always looks smart and stylish,  never mix dark colours together like brown with navy or black.

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3.  Buy basics that you will wear again and again that are made of quality fabrics, the better the quality fabric the better your garment will hang and drape and look and feel. Viscose, Cashmere, Pure Wool, Silk or Cotton will always outweigh Polyester or Nylon in the style stakes.

So try venturing into a charity shop next time you want some ‘new’ clothes, and if you are used to seeing 10 of the same thing on the rack yes it’s going to be different, but you can really make a big difference just by making small changes to your normal shopping routine and you never know you might just be on style point and end up with a wardrobe of some pretty nice quality finds.