8 Easy Ways to Shop Sustainably - Without Compromising Style
Updated: Jan 29, 2022
Something that I am passionate about and one of the main reasons I began Lila Rose Wears is to inform you on how to choose and collate sustainable items to create your perfect wardrobe. You don't have to compromise style to dress sustainably, and to help you with that - I have created a few simple tips. You might find yourself choosing pieces so carefully that you end up saving a lot of money! There are three main things that come to mind when I consider how good a purchase something would be: if it is ethically sourced, the materials it is made from and how likely it is that you will be able to wear the item more than once.
Learn some important terms that you might hear:
Basic: an item that goes with many others in your wardrobe and can be worn over and over e.g. a white tee or good pair of jeans rather than items based on a trend everyone is following.
Ethically sourced: the fabric has been sourced or product has been made by a company that pays their workers the correct rates and follows international laws.
Sustainable fashion: fashion that does not harm the earth because it is made out of materials that don't cause strain on environmental resources. Products should be made from materials that eventually biodegrade back to the earth when they are finished being used.
1. If you're going to go clothes shopping, before leaving the house you should make a list of items that you've found yourself looking for in your wardrobe constantly but don't have. Stick to the list when shopping and don’t stray away from those items to purchase something you don’t need.
2. Do your research: Choose stores that you know use sustainable materials and promote ethical practices. Some Australian brand examples:
And some international examples would be:
Attire the Label
3. Do your best to choose capsule items - for example, you are more likely to wear a black, white or grey item more than something that has an eccentric print or colour for certain seasons, due to its versatility. Although you may find a jacket that has a bold print or colour you love, that is great, just make sure that you have lots of basics to wear with it. To learn more about how to choose capsule items check out my other posts here!
4. If you’re looking for a certain type of item, for example, a skirt, it's best to choose a classic shape with no long slits or cut out patterns that can only be worn with certain items or on certain occasions. Also, that type of skirt might go out of style soon and you'll find yourself less likely to wear it. It's essential to choose shapes that can be worn with almost all of your other pieces. If you need some inspiration, you can find some of my favourite winter staples here.
5. One of the easiest things you can do to make sure that you’re shopping sustainably is to check the fabric details on items before purchasing them. Always avoid fabrics such as polyester and nylon unless they are recycled. These fabrics put a strain on environmental resources to make and also will not break down after you are finished using them. I would suggest opting for organic cotton, linen, bamboo, viscose, silk, merino wool, cashmere or recycled fabrics. There are many more environmentally friendly options as well.
6. AVOID BUYING SOUVENIR CLOTHING: When out at attractions and theme parks where unsustainable merchandise is being sold everywhere, avoid buying clothing that you may only use once and then throw out in your next closet clearance. The items are made from polyester and cotton (that isn’t organic and can be harmful to the earth) for cheap prices meaning they probably aren’t even ethically sourced. I’d suggest opting for something a little more like a pen!
7. Talk to yourself more: every time I go to buy something, I hesitate, I do feel comfortable buying basics like organic cotton tees, but I usually take the time to consider if what I want is a good 'investment'. I use the term investment to describe a piece that can be worn for years to come and will last a long, long time. It’s easier to save money and shop less frequently when you really consider what you want to get from the item.
Is this an impulse buy? Maybe I should wait a day to decide or go back home and check if I own anything similar.
Will it be able to be worn with the majority of other items in my closet?
Will this item go out of fashion soon? (Consider colour, print, style)
Is the item of good quality and sustainable fabric e.g. good thickness, no piling or pulling
Is it worth the money I have saved up for?
Does the item affect the environment in any negative ways and am I supporting a brand that creates positive or negative changes?
8. See if you can buy the item you want on a second-hand website - lots of people sell items in great, perfect or brand new condition. It is a more sustainable option because it means you are still getting the product you want, but the company does not need to produce another item whilst others are getting wasted. You might find something you like for half the price too. I think if you do some shopping around on luxury pieces, you might just find a good deal.
I hope that this article helps you to shop sustainably in the future and collate your perfect wardrobe