When I first got in to minimalism and capsule wardrobes, I was delighted at the discovery of a system that would save me time, money, and make my closet and clothing decisions more efficient. I found bloggers with great tips for how to restyle things so that living with less clothing never got boring and bloggers who had tips for staying organized and keeping things at a minimum.
There was one thing though…even at the beginning of my journey, I noticed that almost all of my favorite bloggers opted for a wardrobe color palette of black / white/ denim. While I certainly see the virtues of this color palette – the ease of mixing and matching, the ease of shopping, since these basic colors are almost always in style, etc. – my heart did not swell and rush to embrace this color scheme. It just didn’t feel like me.
As time went on and the world began to realize the toll that fast fashion and hyper-consumption is taking on our pocketbooks, our psyche, the volume of our fabric waste that must be dealt with, and the lives of workers overseas, many of my favorite bloggers said “No thanks!” and went about researching and promoting brands who are responsibly made. While the term “responsibly made” is pretty vague, here are some possible components of a responsibly made garment:
- Made locally, in the country in which you live
- Made with sustainable materials
- Made in ethical work conditions
Sounds like something you want to get behind? Yeah, me too! However, once again, something felt off for me. As more and more bloggers hopped on the responsible clothing train, I noticed that gradually, the differences in their individual styles seemed harder to distinguish, and I felt like every blog I visited was showcasing the same articles of clothing, which all have the same oversized, flowy, minimalist aesthetic…and, you guessed it. It just didn’t feel like me.
If I were to really break it down, I would say that my clothing has four main purposes:
1 | To cover my body in a way I find comfortable and appropriate
2 | To provide protection against the elements
3 | To assist me – or at very least not hinder me – in accomplishing whatever tasks I have for the day
4 | To be a visual representation of my authentic self to those around me
One of my primary purposes in starting this blog is that I feel that I’m not alone. I think there are probably a lot of people going “Yeah, responsible fashion is awesome!” but due to either the expense of these items or their very narrow aesthetic (or both!), we’re left with a heart for a great cause but the dissatisfaction of not fully being able to embrace it. If that’s you, I feel you.
I’m hopeful that the responsible fashion community will eventually offer a wider range of aesthetic styles. Until then, here are a few ways I try to be a responsible consumer, even if I’m not fully on board with responsible brands yet:
1 | Shop less
By being intentional about the items I own and the items I bring into my life, I have significantly reduced my overall demand for clothing. It feels like small potatoes, but every little bit helps.
2 | Make things last
Extend the life of your clothes by taking care of the things you own. Since downsizing my closet, making sure things don’t wear out too quickly is crucial. I wash almost everything on the delicate cycle and hang it up to dry. When things do start to wear out, make do and mend – I’ve managed a lot of little repairs with some basic sewing skills
3 | Shop secondhand
Eventually, you will have things wear out. Try shopping at consignment and thrift stores to further reduce demand for new items and extend the life of what’s out there. From your local Goodwill and Salvation Army to websites like thredUP and Poshmark, there are lots of options to find what you’re looking for. While this can take some time and dedication, it can also yield some fantastic finds that you might not have been able to get at regular retail stores (I’m looking at you, high-waisted trousers!) for cheap!
4 | Clothing swaps
This isn’t something I do much of, but if you’re lucky enough to have good friends nearby who have similar figures to you, have everyone gather up the clothing they’re just not feeling anymore, brew up some tea or a pot of coffee, and host a clothing swap. You might find a few things to refresh your closet, and maybe get some ideas on a new way to style an item you’ve fallen out of love with.
Whew. Lots of words today friends. Let’s do a fun outfit post next week?
In the meantime, what are your thoughts on responsible shopping? Do you do anything to be a more responsible consumer?
See you next week!