It’s wild to stop and think about how almost everything in your home represents the business behind it. The clothes that fill your closet are a representation of the brands or stores you purchased them from. Yes, you use your closet to express yourself… but what are the brands in your closet saying about what’s important to you? Not just what styles you prefer. We each have the opportunity to build a closet filled with ethical choices that help us express our style and our values. If you’re on a mission to have a more ethically filled closet, check out these 5 steps to help you on your journey.
Step 1: Clean out your closet!
Step one to having a more ethically filled closet is obvious: clean out your closet! I don’t mean throw away every article of clothing that isn’t from a brand your 100% positive is ethical; I mean take inventory of what you have, what you love, and what you don’t! Many of us have sections of our closets that go untouched for years. These could even be items that do come from ethical brands! A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it in the last 6 months (being mindful of what you do wear seasonally) -- it’s time to donate it. Think of it as giving that piece of clothing another shot at bringing someone joy. It doesn’t fit? Donate it. Haven’t worn it? Donate it. And please please please get rid of any articles of clothing that you are waiting to be a certain size to wear. Your clothes are meant to fit you and your body, not the other way around.
We found this blog super helpful when determining where to take items you wish to donate: 23 places you can donate your clothes other than Goodwill!
Step 2: Decide What’s Important to You
A huge part of shopping ethically is having a greater understanding of the products you are buying. Who makes them? What are their values? Where are they located? There are many things to consider when choosing which conscious fashion brands to support. Do you want to buy fashion that supports:
- A local business
- Woman Owned Brands/Businesses
- Minority Owned Brands/Businesses
- Animal Welfare (is vegan/cruelty free)
- Upcycling Products
- Dying with natural and organic materials
- A Culture that you desire to learn more about
- Someone you know
- Reducing our carbon footprint
- Restoring our oceans
- Partnering with Indegenious folks
- Helping children
- A charity that you know and also support
- Full transparency (allowing you to see true cost of items sold)
Many ethical businesses support a number of these things. Decide what’s most important to you and make a promise to yourself to allow your spent dollars to reflect those values.
Step 3: Know Your Style
Just as identifying what values are important to you is uniquely you, your style should be uniquely you. It’s hard when we live in a world where trends are constantly coming and going, but identifying a style that feels authentic to you will help you cut through the noise. An amazing tool for this? Pinterest. Create a style board for yourself. Be mindful of including colors that make you feel good when you are wearing them. You can look back to the outfits you’ve pinned and curate recreations from your favorite ethical brands. Additionally, knowing your style will help you buy pieces that you can see yourself wearing in a variety of different ways. If you can’t imagine at least 3 or 4 ways that you might style an article of clothing or an accessory, it might not be the best fit for your ethically filled wardrobe. (Pinterest is also a great tool for inspiration on how to style one item multiple ways!)
Step 4: Follow your favorite brands on social media
If you find an ethical brand that you love (like Ixchel Triangle!), there are more ways to support them than just buying their products. Not only will following your favorite brands on social media help them gain visibility, but it will also likely help you stay in the know! What does staying in the know with an ethical brand mean? Oftentimes, following on social media or subscribing to an email list will allow you to know first when sales are happening, new collaborations are dropping, and will give you the opportunity to provide feedback on what you’d like to see more of. Ethical brands are typically very community oriented, which allows them to serve their customers well.
Step 5: Don’t Forget, Less is More
We’ve said this before, but adopting a “less is more” mentality is something that each of us can do, today, for free. Reducing our household consumption will help save money, as well as the planet. Think about the life cycle of the item you are about to buy. Will it last a week in your home? A month? A year? Thinking about the entire life cycle of the goods you are about to buy will help you avoid spending unnecessarily and keep your ecological footprint to a minimum.
So, let’s get after it! Did you find this blog helpful? Let us know if you have any tips of your own in the comments section! Happy Ethical Shopping :)