I love fashion! I mean the only reason I actually watch the Oscars, Emmys or any of the award shows is to see all the fabulous outfits and the beautiful, talented people wearing them! Following my favorite influencers, reading my favorite fashion magazines and following the current fashion trends is my favorite pastime.
Ultimately, following fashion trends is not just what I love to do, but it’s my business too. And here’s what I’ve found. Fashion historically mirrors current events, movements, changing norms and ideals we are experiencing in our world, politically, economically, technically, and culturally.
Right now, we are embarking on a worldwide effort to “go green” and become more eco-friendly in all that we do. We have come to realize that Earth is our only home, and we need to care for and protect it for future generations. Almost every nation, industry, and home is taking steps to take part in this effort.
The fashion world is no different and is beginning to think about how to be more eco-conscious. Designers and artists are beginning to choose more natural, renewable, or recycled materials in their fabric and clothing. Manufacturers are choosing methods that use fewer natural resources and less harmful, toxic manufacturing processes as they make our beautiful garments.
As a retailer, I believe in supporting these efforts by bringing eco-friendly clothing options to you as they become more widely available and affordable. In a fast-fashion world, this has been a slow process, with fewer style options and a steep price tag. So what’s a girl to do when you want to be fashionable, but also be kind to the world?
That’s what I want to share with you! How to how to be eco-friendly + fashionable… eco-fashionable! As the world works to become more environmentally friendly, you can create your own eco-friendly wardrobe, WITHOUT losing your unique sense of style and expressing your individuality.
Let me show you how in a few simple steps!
Step 1: Start with the Basics!
We’ve all been there, staring at our closet jammed full of clothes and saying to ourselves, “I have nothing to wear!”. The solution: be more intentional about the clothes you purchase.
“Minimalism is about intentionality, not deprivation."
It’s not about having less clothes but making the clothes you do buy, count! The basics are staple pieces that stand the test of time and are versatile enough to wear for multiple years, seasons, and occasions. This is a great way to stretch your wardrobe, giving you tons more styling options and outfits, with the same number of pieces! So when shopping, focus on the longevity of each piece of clothing you intend to purchase.
Now, getting to the basics, aka the things everyone should have in their closet… A good pair of blue jeans, a quality white tee, black tee, neutral button-down shirt, neutral cardigan, a denim jacket, a leather jacket, a little black dress, a pair of boots, sneakers, sandals and black leggings. If you are active, sporty, and engage in fitness activities, think about first buying neutral gear that you can mix and match with your casual wardrobe as well.
These items may be basic but DO NOT need to be boring! The goal of crafting your own eco-friendly wardrobe is to build the foundation with these staple pieces. And each piece can have its own unique cut, shape, color, trim and style!
For example, one basic every woman should have… a pair of jeans! A “good” pair of jeans is unique to each of us. Skinny, straight, bootcut, flare…high-waisted, mid-rise…..distressed or non-distressed, light, medium or dark wash….black, blue, or white….or a sprinkling of all of these.
Color and trim also set some basics apart! Black, white, tan and navy are traditional neutrals making them a great canvas to build an outfit with. But I know many women whose outfits always include animal print, their “signature” color pink, purple or red, and feminine touches of ruffles, sparkles, or lace. Color and trim add to the individuality of each basic garment in your wardrobe!
Whether it’s a tee, little black dresses or any of the other “basics,” they should absolutely reflect you and your style in every way. So while everyone should have the basics, these basics will not be the same for everyone and add to your unique style!
Step 2: Think Quality Over Quantity
When growing your wardrobe and being more eco-conscious, buy the best quality you can afford. The goal is to regularly wear more of your clothes, more often, for a long period of time instead of having to throw pieces away! This way you spend more money building your wardrobe with new pieces and less money buying replacement foundational items.
We’ve all experienced it! Our favorite basic tees fade in color or stretch out so they have no shape. Our super trendy jeans with fringe are no longer trendy 6 months later. Our favorite leggings or sweater get fuzzies all over and look sad. Our favorite items no longer look new and beautiful so we throw them out and spend money to replace them.
When it comes to clothes, you get what you pay for. Paying more for better fabrics, timeless styling and a great fit is more economical in the long run. You will have a bigger wardrobe, with more styling options, resulting in less waste! When you buy to build and grow you’re your wardrobe rather than spending money on replacing existing items, it’s a win for you and a win for the environment!
Step 3: Sprinkle in Accessories!
There are two terms in fashion….slow fashion and fast fashion.
Slow fashion is all about quality, longevity and producing and consuming less. Fast fashion is all about current popular trends and collections introduced quickly, made popular by models and celebrities, mass marketed and produced for quick sale.
Slow fashion are all the things we’ve talked about in this blog so far: how to make more outfits with fewer clothes + how to make those clothes more versatile and last longer in your closet. Those great quality foundational pieces can make all that happen.
However, fashion should still be fun! We all want to indulge ourselves in some of the latest modern fashion trends. We all want our own personality to shine in our outfits and style. We all want to add some color, sparkle, pattern and variety to our look! Accessories are the way to make that happen!
“Accessories are what, in my opinion, pull the whole look together and make it unique.”
Yves St. Laurent
Accessories exponentially increase the number of outfits you can put together with the clothes you already own! With your wardrobe of quality basic foundational pieces that you love, plus a few on trend pieces, you can use accessories to style your outfits to suit the occasion, the setting, the weather, the statement you’d like to make and your unique personality. Scarves, belts, hats, the most amazing shoes, or a little or a lot of jewelry can change an outfit from conservative to sexy, from professional to edgy, from romantic to sporty.
Build a wardrobe of accessories just like you build a wardrobe of clothes. Balance between buying affordable trendy jewelry and higher quality foundational accessories, just like you did with clothing. I love to buy less expensive bold, statement or seasonal jewelry, while spending more money on my foundational silver hoops or pearl necklace. Adding in handcrafted items to support your favorite local artisan is a great way to have a look that is uniquely yours!
Step 4: Organize Your Closet
"Opening up your closet should be like arriving at a good party where everyone you see is someone you like."
Amy Fine Collins
Sometimes we buy new things when we already have something similar in our wardrobe. Sometimes we wear the same outfits because our clothes aren’t organized in a way that allows us to quickly see all of our outfit possibilities. Sometimes we shop because we swear we have nothing to wear, when in reality, we have lots of things to wear but we don’t even realize it.
Taking time to clear out clothes you no longer wear and organize the clothes you do have by color and style may seem a little over the top. But it’s a huge way to be eco-conscious, reduce waste and avoid unnecessary purchases by simply maximizing what you have!
When you know what you have and its organized in a way that lets you quickly put together outfits, including accessories, quickly, your wardrobe will suddenly seem much bigger and more versatile. I just personally did this, and I spent three hours saying time and time again thinking, “I didn’t realize I had this and it’s so cute”! It’s like finding money in the pocket of a pair of jeans or an old purse…..which by the way, happened as well that same day!
Step 5: Recycle, Repurpose, & Donate
When it’s finally time to say good-bye to fashion in your wardrobe, recycling, re-using and repurposing is another way you can protect our environment. There are lots of ways you can do this and you probably already are! Reselling your clothing and accessories on Poshmark, a local consignment shop or on a Facebook buy/sell group, helps the environment and your wallet!
Donating your clothes to a friend or a local charity that will allow your clothes to be loved by someone else is a great way to help others in your community. Repurposing your clothing in creative ways to use for cleaning, crafts, or projects is another option, especially for those pieces that have been overly loved and are on their way to the landfill.
Step 6: Care for Your Clothes!
“Based on the amount of laundry I do each week, I’m going to assume there are people living here I haven’t met yet.”
I have a friend who loves to do laundry. Seriously. She loves to do laundry. She is definitely unique in that way because in all my life, I’ve never met anyone else who likes to do laundry, and that includes me.
However, small changes in how you approach your laundry can make a big difference for the environment, reduce your energy bills, save you money and in some instances, make your life easier!
So here’s some tips that are easy + increase the longevity of your clothes!
1. Only launder clothes that really need it.
Typically, I wear my jeans multiple times before I need to wash them. Tops or dresses that I wear only for a couple of hours can be hung right back up in the closet. Lots of laundry does need to be washed every time we wear them, but some don’t. So save the environment and indulge in your hatred for doing laundry by choosing to not wash clothes that don’t need it! Instead, immediately hang them up for the next outing! You will use less energy, have less work, and your clothes will stay looking newer, longer!
2. When you do wash your clothes, wash most of them in cool or cold water.
Sure, I wash my undergarments, workout clothes, towels and sheets in the hottest water possible, but for the remainder, I wash them in cold/cool water. When it’s possible, this is another win for you and the environment! You use less energy per load and clothes are less likely to fade or shrink, keeping them newer, longer!
3. This one’s a biggie. Air dry your clothes.
Whether you hang them to dry, lay them flat, or use an old fashioned clothesline in your bathroom or outside, air drying your clothes is good for the environment, good for your wallet and good for your clothes. Clothes shrink, stretch and pill in the dryer, Avoid the dryer and your clothes will look newer, longer. So save our planet, your money and your clothes by air drying!
Here’s an extra tip……when I air dry my clothes, sometimes they are stiff and wrinkled. In those cases, I just throw them in the dryer for 2-3 minutes with a slightly damp towel and they come out soft with much less wrinkles and no damage!
EmilyAnna Boutique – Our Commitment to Sustainability
As retailers, we want to do our part to support sustainable fashion and protect our planet. That is why we wrote this blog, to help all of us understand what we can do to balance our love for fashion with our love for our natural world.
Our intent is to continue to learn and provide education to our customers about the sustainable fashion trend and to bring sustainable fashion to our customers. Over the year, we will be:
1. Introducing more sustainable fashion pieces including clothing made from bamboo, Modal, Recycled Polyester or Tencel fabrics which are all eco-friendlier and generally made in the United States.
2. Adding a bigger selection of good quality foundational pieces in both Missy and Curvy sizes so that you can easily add these pieces to your wardrobe.
3. Introducing more unique, sustainable, and handcrafted accessories to our line including sterling silver, gold plated and natural materials. We will be focusing supporting women owned artisan businesses here in the United States.
4. Provide more curated outfit ideas on our Social Media and Website to show you how to create multiple outfits out of your basic foundational pieces.
Let us know what suggestions you have for our fashion community on how to be more eco-friendly in our fashion choices in our VIP Facebook Group!