There’s more to having a conscious closet than just neutral colors and minimally designed clothes. Though that’s definitely an appeal for a lot of people. Slow fashion shouldn’t just be an aesthetic, it should be the alignment of beliefs and values with action.
Curating a conscious closet is a slow effort and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s putting your money in brands that value you as a consumer, our planet, and the hands that make their clothes. But you might be wondering how to curate a conscious closet. One that lines up with your values and beliefs.
I started curating a conscious closet about 3 years ago and haven’t looked back since. Here are my best tips!
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How to Curate a Conscious Closet:
1. The Closet you have is the most sustainable one
I’m sure you were thinking that I was going to tell you to start shopping ethically and be done with it. But actually, the clothes in your closet right now make up the most sustainable wardrobe you may ever have.
Everything in your closet already exists. (Obviously.) Whether it was made ethically or not it’s already been made. Throwing them all out would add to the never-ending textile pollution problem. Plus repurchasing an entire closet with ethically made clothes would be expensive and also add to the pollution problem.
But how? Well no matter how sustainably a garment is made, resources still need to spent to create that item. Even if your ethically made jeans use a mere fraction of the amount of water that unethically made jeans use, it’s still water that wouldn’t need to be used at all if you just wore what was in your closet.
The resources have already been spent on everything you own. In order to make it worth it, you need to use it to its full extent. Don’t toss out that shirt you bought from forever21 last year, be gentle with it, and make it last another 5 years.
Learn to repair and repurpose your clothing, and at the very end of its life, learn how to properly dispose of it.
2. How to quit fast fashion
So you’re taking care of your current wardrobe, but what happens when you outgrow something or need something new? Do you just run to the mall and get a $5 replacement? Not exactly.
It’s time to quit fast fashion and start embracing slow fashion. But what does that even mean?
Well, fast fashion is fashion that is produced ethically and very quickly. It’s the model of designing, producing, and selling clothes within a matter of weeks. At the cost of the planet and garment workers.
Slow fashion can mean a few different things but it’s the opposite of fast fashion as the name suggests.
Slow fashion is clothing that was made ethically and sustainably and takes a lot longer to produce because no corners are being cut. They take their time and don’t abuse their workers into working faster to get the job done.
It’s also the act of purchasing clothing at a slower rate. As consumers, we’re so used to new trends popping up every week, and sales happening every day that we’re purchasing clothing at an alarming rate. The average person purchasing 65 garments annually. There are 52 weeks in a year which means that sometimes we’re purchasing more than 1 piece of clothing a week.
That’s a lot. And I used to be a Shopaholic.
In order to quit fast fashion, we have to break some fashion mindsets.
A) Get off the trend bandwagon
Fast fashion is built off of trends with new trends literally arriving every week or so. And just as quickly as they’re in, they’re out again. So then what do we do with our almost brand-new clothes that are no longer in style? We usually throw them away or donate them, (where they’ll most likely still end up in a landfill) and purchase the new week’s trends.
How do we combat this? We gotta ditch trends. Focusing on simple and timeless pieces that will still be in style not only next week but in 5 years.
Trends we’re invented to make money. Don’t let them take your cash and ruin the planet in the process. I know the new trends look cute and fashionable, but you’ll probably end up hating it in a few months.
Malls are super convenient. Most of us have one in our towns or cities and they’re usually just a quick drive away. Point is, if you want something and you go to the mall you could have it that same day.
You can’t really do that with ethical fashion. Sure if you’re living in LA or a big city there might be an ethical brand that has a physical store, but it’s rare.
If we’re shopping ethically we have to place an order and wait anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. We’re creatures of impatience and we love convenience.
it’s very easy to get into the mindset of “oh it’s just this once, and I actually do need it right now” but this can be dangerous. Once turns into twice turns into 10 times.
I’ve done this myself. And sometimes it’s actually true. We can’t be perfect all the time or ever for that matter. I’m just warning you to not get into this habit.
C) Don’t treat your clothes like they’re disposable
A lot of people view their clothes as disposable items and so, so many pieces of clothing are tossed into the trash every year.
There’s a quote by Joan Crawford that I absolutely love and I think is a good reminder for all of us. It says…
“Treat your clothes like the good friends they are.”
Our clothes are our good friends! They see us through the good and the bad times. They deserve to be treated like you want them around for years and years.
D) Stop looking for sales
Anyone else guilty of this? I used to always keep my eye out for sales so I could justify purchasing more or purchasing things I didn’t need.
Usually, when we’re on the lookout for sales, we usually have the intention to buy things we don’t need because, why not? They’re on sale anyway!
This is a hard mindset to break but in order to quit fast fashion, we have to stop shopping sales just because they’re on sale.
I used to be proud to tell someone I got something cute on sale, now I know I better and I know that paying more is putting money in the pockets of those who sewed it and protecting the future of our planet at the same time.
3. Where to start
I get it, it can be overwhelming when trying to curate a conscious closet. So where do you even start?
Well, see point 1. Start by caring for your existing closet with the intention that your clothes will last for years and years.
After that, the next most sustainable option would be to start thrifting and purchasing second-hand clothing!
It’s kind of the same idea, all those pieces already exist. So give them a loving home because most clothing donated to thrift stores still end up in landfills.
It can be easy to fall back into the fast fashion mindset when thrifting because everything is so cheap. Try to only purchase what you need. Don’t just shop to shop.
From there, replace and grow your wardrobe with ethical and sustainably made clothing. Again, don’t shop just to shop. You won’t find many sales or trends in the ethical fashion industry. But it’s still a good rule to only shop for what you need.
This way your closet is filled with clothes you actually need and will wear.
4. The price
There’s no denying that ethical fashion is more expensive. And I use that term loosely because it’s only expensive compared to what we’ve been taught to pay for fashion.
But when you don’t cut corners, when you do things right, and pay your workers a living wage at every step of the process, it’s going to cost more.
We’re used to buying clothing that exploited people and the planet. So it can take some adjusting but reframe your mindset. Ethical fashion isn’t expensive, it’s fair.
So how can you afford it?
Save up. Find the pieces you need in your wardrobe and start saving. This will not only help you value the clothing more but also help you stop impulse buying.
Here are some of my favorite, affordable ethical clothing brands:
Curating a conscious closet takes time and a real conscious effort. We have to abandon everything we’ve been taught of fashion and consumerism. But it’s possible and it’s so worth it. For people everywhere who are suffering in sweatshops, for you, and for this planet we call home.
Thanks for reading! I hope this gave you some helpful tips on how to curate a conscious closet! Please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living and ethical fashion inspo!
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