As summer months wind down, you might be planning visits to popular clothing stores so you can restock your fall wardrobe. Before you find yourself in line at a register with your hands full of sweaters, boots and jeans, consider some creative ways to make your wardrobe more eco-friendly.
Many items you find on shelves are factory-made with synthetic materials, dyes and harmful chemicals. Also, natural resources are overused to make fabric for items such as T-shirts and jeans. For example, it takes about 200 tons of water to produce a single ton of fabric, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). With our four green tips, you'll learn to make sustainable shopping choices.
Invest in eco-friendly fabrics.
Although it's typically more expensive, purchasing eco-friendly fabrics is worth the investment. Items made from materials such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton are natural and meant to last for the long haul. If you're on a budget, only purchase wardrobe basics made from natural materials. Keep an eye out for simple button downs, blazers and sweaters. This way, your everyday look is versatile enough to get the most out of your pricier purchases.
Head to a local thrift store.
Not only are most thrift shops affordable, but they're also a jackpot for finding unique and lightly worn articles of clothing. While some are hesitant at the thought of wearing someone else's blouse or pants, be confident in the fact that you're doing right by the environment. These stores typically don't package and ship items to other locations – it's all local! Also, since items cost less than those at traditional clothing stores, you get the chance to experiment by purchasing bold items and styles of clothing you might not usually purchase.
Don't know if you're located near a thrift store? Try purchasing gently used clothing through popular mobile apps such as thredUP, Poshmark, Tradesy and more.
Donate used clothing.
At first thought, it may be a lot easier to toss your old clothes in the garbage. The Atlantic reported that people in the United States recycle only about 15 percent of their used clothing. The difference – more than 10 million tons of clothing per year – makes its way to landfills. Your clothing donation can change lives and help reduce your carbon footprint. Try to find a crisis nonprofit or free store in your area so you can be sure to help those in need. Otherwise, donation companies such as Goodwill also accept clothing at donation sites, stores and through donation bins. They'll also use a portion of their revenue to better the surrounding community.
Fix, don't toss.
Sewing and repairing clothes may seem a little old-fashioned, but these are timeless skills that can help green your wardrobe. Repair holes in your favorite shirt or create your own coat from worn and torn pieces of your wardrobe. Now's the chance to become your own fashion designer and make unique statement pieces that'll last you longer than expected. On the other hand, some people might opt for the help of a professional to bring old clothing back to life. Rather than giving up on worn-out items, head to a local alteration shop or shoe repairer.