Guest post by Heidi Strom Moon of the Closet Coach.
Every Earth Day, articles are written about “green” and sustainable fashion, from Bono’s Edun line to those totes that proclaim (perhaps a bit too loudly?) “I Am Not a Plastic Bag”.
Many make a single green fashion purchase and consider it their contribution for the year; they’ve done their “duty.”
But truly eco-friendly dressing goes a deeper than that — and is almost as easy as tossing your recyclables in the ubiquitous big blue bin. In fact, if you’re already trying to live green, you can take a cue from the well-known 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Listed first, in spite — or because — of being the most difficult to achieve, “Reduce” calls on us to use less stuff in the first place for multiple reasons.
So, the fashionista says with a tremble, does this mean you want me to … shop and buy less? It seems daunting, but think of it another way: all of the top stylists will tell you to transform your wardrobe by first editing (reducing) your clothing inventory, and then carefully supplementing the remaining pieces with a few, well-chosen, high-quality, classic items.
So this idea of reducing isn’t so new after all. The hardest part is focusing on key foundational items and ignoring the constant allure of the cheap, the trendy, and the on sale right now.
Reusing takes a little more ingenuity. As you take stock of the contents of your closet, and remove the items you rarely wear, are there any that could be brought back to life? Are they in need of mending? Could your trusted tailor transform the silhouette into something more current? Could you rescue a boring or worn-out sweater with the artful application of buttons or beads?
Recycle is a close cousin to Reuse when it comes to clothing. After all, you can’t place last season’s trendy top in the big blue bin.
But if you can’t reuse an item and make it wearable, can the fabric and materials serve another purpose?
Stockings with holes are often recycled by transforming them into practical applications. And Dad used to tear his old T-shirts into strips to use for waxing the car.
Going a step further, garments can be recombined and redesigned entirely. In addition to recycling your own garments, you can shop for new items that are made from reclaimed materials–such as the tops and dresses from Armour Sans Anguish and numerous other Etsy stores that embody the reuse and recycle ethos.
Finally, consider these principles not so much a new way to live, but a proud return to yesteryear. Ask any grandmother who lived through the Depression or World War II how they made do when materials or money was scarce. To them, the 3 Rs weren’t a slogan; they were a way of life.