Shopping eco-friendly is nothing new – thrifting is one of the best ways to be eco-friendly and it sees a resurgence every few years as the ‘hot new trend’.
But making your wardrobe more eco-friendly and fashionable takes some work. Thrifting takes some talent, a whole lot of patience, and some re-envisioning, upcycling your clothes takes some skill, and finding eco-friendly designers/stores can be pricey.
So here are some of my tips for making your love of shopping a bit more eco-friendly.
- Thrift stores. I love thrifting. Sifting through rows and piles of clothes until you find that gem to take home is a thrill. But it’s hard. So take your time – don’t fret if you don’t find what you’re looking for. It’s easier if you walk in without expectations. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you don’t know that what you’re holding isn’t it! Go with an open mind. That really long skirt could be turned into a great strapless sundress with a simple belt around the middle. That shirt with the ridiculous sleeves could be turned into a fabulous tank top for summer. Know how much you’re willing to pay for it. Some thrift stores are more expensive, but their stuff is higher quality. Be realistic. I also find that I’m more likely to spend less money when I shop at a thrift store because I know I’ll have to do some work to make it fit my style.
- Upcycle. I love upcycling. Basically, this is repurposing an article of clothing to get more wear out of it. It can be as simple and hiking that skirt up to your armpits and tying a belt around the middle, or as complicated as taking a shirt apart and putting it back together as a skirt. Know your creative limits, but take some risks! If you’re not wearing it much anyway, what’s the harm in trying something new with it? Take a class or two in sewing to get the basics and go from there! You can also search for great easy patterns and tutorials of how to re-make a piece of clothing – check pinterest or craftgawker for great ideas!
- Clothing swaps. I think this is a great way to find new things. My roommates in college would clean out their closets and I would go shopping in their throw-away piles. I always came away with something new to add to my closet! Swapping with a group of friends is great, and opening it to people you may not know (like an extended friend-of-friend-of-friend circle) can bring in more items to choose from . It’s a great way to meet people too – nothing says ‘new friendship’ like stripping down in someone’s living room!
- Buy less. I know it seems simple, but when you weigh the cost of that new shirt against the environmental and social impact making that product has, it gets pretty weighty. And has convinced me to put that shirt back on more than one occasion.
What are your eco-friendly shopping tips?