When you think “eco-friendly” wardrobe, something totally unsexy probably comes to mind. You know what I’m talking about–those old-time Birkenstocks, baggy burlap-feeling dresses, or some other form of “hippie” gear. Well, put aside those preconceptions and consider that an eco-friendly wardrobe has more to do with the approach to building and maintaining your wardrobe rather than some ascetic ban on the pleasure of feeling good while you’re looking good.
Here are some suggestions from The Green Teen by Jenn Savedge (Kedzie Press) for planet-lovers of all ages who like to dress well.
1. Fix It.
Try taking a fresh look at what’s in your closet to see what can be fixed and what can be reconfigured into something great. Learn how to sew a button or patch a hole (or make a hole); or re-tailor worn-out duds by turning a last year’s pants into shorts or an old dress into a skirt.
2. Consider “Preloved.”
Most thrift shops are a treasure trove of amazing clothes in every shape, style and color. “Preloved” duds save money and reduce the use of new materials while keeping the old items out of the landfill.
3. Seek Out Organic.
When you have to buy new, look for clothes labeled 100 percent organic. Cotton, linen, wool, bamboo, and hemp can all be grown organically and used to produce green clothing. (Did you know that one-quarter of all the pesticides used throughout the entire world are used in the production of cotton?)
4. Keep It Fair.
A $5 T-shirt may seem like a great deal, but you have to remember the environmental and social costs required to make this garment so inexpensive. Look for clothing that has been independently verified as “sweat-free.”
5. Give Them a Second Life.
Don’t toss your clothes in the trash. If you can’t use it, and none of your friends want it, pass it on to a local charity or thrift store. If it is simply too worn out, cut it up to use as rags around the house.
6. Don’t Get Taken to the Cleaners.
Avoid the extra hassle and wasting money by buying clothes that do not have to be dry-cleaned. If you absolutely must have something dry-cleaned, look for a shop that use greener methods such as wet-cleaning or liquid CO2 to reduce its toxic load.