Build a Sustainable Wardrobe Without Breaking the Bank

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the environmental impact of the fashion industry. With the rise of fast fashion and the increasing pressure to keep up with the latest trends, many of us have fallen into the trap of buying clothes that we don't need or that don't last. This has led to a culture of disposable fashion, where garments are worn only a few times before being discarded.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Building a sustainable wardrobe is not only better for the environment, but it can also be better for your wallet in the long run. Here are some tips for building a sustainable wardrobe without breaking the bank.

  1. Take stock of what you already have

Before you start buying new clothes, take some time to assess what you already have in your wardrobe. Pull out all your clothes and try them on. Make a pile of items that you love and wear regularly, and another pile of items that you haven't worn in a while. Be honest with yourself about why you haven't worn these items and whether you're likely to wear them again. Use a tool like OpenWardrobe to keep an inventory of what you own and what you wear and to have your clothes at your fingertips every time you’re shopping.

  1. Sell or donate clothes that you don't wear

Once you've identified the clothes that you don't wear, consider selling or donating them. There are plenty of online platforms where you can sell your clothes, such as Poshmark, Vinted, and Depop. You can also donate your clothes to charity or drop them off at a clothing recycling bin.

  1. Invest in high-quality basics

Investing in high-quality basics is a great way to build a sustainable wardrobe. Look for items like t-shirts, jeans, and sweaters that are made from natural, durable materials like cotton, wool, and linen. These items will last longer and can be worn in a variety of ways, making them a great investment. We publish monthly videos on OpenWardrobe to give you tips on recognizing quality of garments and wearing basics in many different ways.

  1. Shop your friends’ closets

Shopping wardrobes of your friends can increase the utilization of pieces you both own and add new energy to your wardrobe. With OpenWardrobe you can open your wardrobe to your friends and they can open theirs to you. Then you can style pieces you own with pieces from your friend’s wardrobe to decide what you want to borrow. You can also style each other! By borrowing from friends you use “new” pieces without spending a dime. It’s even better than buying seconhand!

  1. Rent clothes for special occasions

If you have a special occasion coming up and need a new outfit, consider renting instead of buying. There are now many clothing rental services that allow you to rent designer clothes for a fraction of the cost of buying new. This is a great way to wear something special without contributing to the fast fashion cycle.

  1. Learn basic sewing skills

Learning basic sewing skills can help you make simple repairs to your clothes and extend their lifespan. You don't need to be an expert to sew on a button or fix a hem, and there are plenty of online tutorials and classes available to help you learn. 

  1. Avoid trends and focus on timeless style

Trends come and go, but timeless style never goes out of fashion. Instead of chasing the latest trends, focus on building a wardrobe of classic, versatile pieces that you can wear for years to come. Look for items that flatter your body type in colors that compliment your complexion and that can be dressed up or down.

  1. Take care of your clothes

Taking care of your clothes is essential for extending their lifespan. Follow care instructions on the labels, and consider using natural, eco-friendly detergents and fabric softeners. Air-dry your clothes instead of using the dryer, and store them properly to avoid wrinkles and damage.

Building a sustainable wardrobe doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. By taking stock of what you already have, shopping mindfully, investing in high-quality basics, renting clothes, learning basic sewing skills, focusing on timeless styles, and taking care of your clothes will create a sustainable wardrobe that you love!