What percentage of your wardrobe do you think you regularly wear?
If you guessed closer to 20%, chances are you’re probably right, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This statistic doesn’t seem so far fetched when you think about how easy it is to only wear the same three or four outfits on repeat, despite having a plethora of other options in our closets.
So how do you break the cycle and actually wear more of your clothes?
It all starts with making the transition to a slow fashion wardrobe.
Slow fashion emphasizes purchasing items of high quality and prioritizes garment care.
This means a slow fashion closet goes beyond which brands you purchase from- it considers the entire lifecycle of your clothes from manufacturing to end-of-life disposal.
For tips on how to best care for your clothes, check out this post.
Here’s how to create a slow fashion closet in three steps:
1. Organize Your Closet
You want to display your clothes in a way that you are able to see everything you have (or at least most of your pieces).
This may mean organizing seasonally so you have more space to display everything for that seasons, organizing by clothing type (ie. stacking sweaters, grouping all dresses and skirts), etc.
For a breakdown of how to quickly and efficiently organize your closet, check out the How to Shop Your Closet Master Guide.
Here are some tips to consider when organizing:
- If you notice that you tend to go to the same area of your closet or a drawer, rearrange your wardrobe to mix your least worn items with your most worn items.
Seeing them side by side will remind you that you have more options to wear than you think.
- Flip the hangers of recently worn pieces to visually see what hasn’t been worn yet.
- After wearing a piece, hang it in the back of your closet. This keeps the most easily accessible areas of your closet filled with fresh pieces.
Once you’ve organized your closet, check out these digital resources which will help you visually see all of your closet belongings going forward:
- Stylebook: Stylebook allows you to catalogue each piece in your closet, mark pieces that you love and see how often you wear them.
I love their inspiration section which gives you outfit inspo from fashion bloggers.
- Closet+: Closet+ has a calendar which is great for planning out future outfits.
I love the information breakdown the app provides.
It tells you when you’ve last worn an item, how many times you’ve worn it in total, how much you pair for it and what the cost per war breakdown is.
Such a useful feature!
- Forma: Forma allows you to try on clothing from a website or your own closet, allowing you to plan your outfits and ensure a clothing purchase will be able to pair well with what you already own.
2. Repurpose What You Aren't Wearing
Extending the life of your clothing however possible is the main principle of slow fashion.
With this in mind, as you go through your closet, you’ll likely come across pieces you don’t like/ don’t want to wear anymore, pieces that no longer fit/ have stains, etc.
Instead of tossing these clothes out, see if you can repurpose them by mending any rips or upcycling old pieces into new ones.
Here are some great resources to check out for upcycling inspo:
To repurpose clothing that can no longer be worn into useful household products, check out this post.
(This is a great way to extend slow fashion practices to the rest of your home, which helps make sustainability more of an effortless lifestyle instead of a conscious effort).
By this point, you should have an organized closet comprised of the pieces you love and you’ve repurposed the pieces that you don’t.
All that’s left to do is rinse and repeat!
Now you may be wondering… where does buying new clothes come into play?
No clothing lasts forever, so overtime you’ll need to replace some of your pieces.
3. Buy Less, Buy Better
My tip is to shop from sustainable retailers and invest in the pieces that you get the most wear out of- think outerwear, timeless basics and durable footwear.
Opting for high quality, durable items when it comes to what you wear most often will ensure they last as long as possible.
For example, I invested in a durable wool coat for winter five years ago and it practically still looks brand new.
Try to avoid purchasing items that are trendier since you’re likely to tire of them quicker.
To ensure your purchase is in keeping with the slow fashion ethos, here are a few questions to consider before you buy:
- Do I really need this?
- Do I own something similar already?
- What do I own that I can pair with this?
- Is this piece easy to care for?
- Is this piece made from sustainable materials?
- Does the brand have eco-friendly and ethical practices? A transparent supply chain? Production in small batches?
One ‘hack’ that has really saved me when I’m in the throes of an impulse online purchase is to leave the items in my cart and wait three days before buying.
Note: you’ll have to be signed in to your account beforehand.
This gives me time to think over the purchase and also save me money since some retailers offer a discount sent to your email to encourage a purchase.
A note about fast fashion: Due to the high cost of some sustainable retailers, fast fashion may be the only accessible or affordable option.
The beauty of the slow fashion method is that you can buy from fast fashion brands and still have a slow fashion closet.
Simply buy the best quality you can afford, always check out second-hand retailers first like ThredUp, buy less and keep those pieces in your closet rotation for as long as possible by mending and repurposing at the end of its life.
Have any tips on how to transition your wardrobe into a slow fashion closet?
Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,