Slow Fashion

5 affordable and achievable tips to create a more sustainable closet

Do you want to build an eco-friendly wardrobe and prolong the life of your clothes? Here are some of the best ways to help you create and maintain a sustainable wardrobe.

January 17, 2023

Creating a sustainable wardrobe doesn't just mean buying from sustainable brands or thrifting. There are many other ways to build a more eco-friendly closet by increasing the lifespan of each item of clothing and reducing your textile waste. Here are some simple tips to help you not only create but maintain a more sustainable wardrobe!

1 Skip laundry day

Women holding laundry basket

While cleaning a small load of laundry in your washing machine might not seem like a big deal, in reality each load has a profound impact on both our clothes and the environment. 

The more you wash your clothes, the shorter their lifespan, predestining them for landfill much sooner than necessary. A quick freshen up in the machine might seem pretty harmless, but even the gentle cycle can contribute to fibre erosion, changes in the fabric structure, and fading.

Most washing machines require high levels of energy and produce harmful wastewater which contaminates waterways with detergents and softeners. These chemicals may not have a marked impact on our wardrobe but they can pose a serious threat to wildlife and ecosystems. 

Before you pop your next load in the laundry, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. By reducing the number of times you wash a garment, both your clothes and the planet will thank you, helping you on your way to a more sustainable lifestyle.

2 Air dry your clothes

Clothes line hanging from urban apartment window

Don’t you just love the smell and feel of freshly dried clothes straight out of the tumble dryer? Unfortunately, tumble-drying can have a negative effect on our environment. 

Air drying is an excellent, eco-friendly alternative and uses no energy at all. A dryer, on the other hand, needs around 4 kWh of electricity for just one load of laundry, which produces around 1.8 kg of CO2, equating to around 20 minutes of driving in your car, and using four times more energy per load than your washing machine.

Simply cutting out or limiting the use of your dryer is a great way to reduce your carbon emissions. Plus, if possible, hanging your freshly washed clothes outdoors on the washing line ensures they’ll smell fresh and last much longer. 

Similarly to machine washing your clothes, tumble drying on a regular basis can damage fibres and shorten a garment’s lifespan considerably. Air drying helps you keep your favourite clothes for longer.

3 Research fabrics before you buy

On the prowl for a cute top or a much needed new pair of jeans? Before buying, be sure to  take a closer look at the fabric the garment is made up of. Knowing what your clothes are made of is a great way to help you judge how long they will last and where they will eventually end up at the end of their life.

Fabrics like polyester, nylon, and acrylic do not biodegrade and can have a negative impact on the planet. And, when not disposed of safely, they can release harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases as they gradually decompose.

Environmentally-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, merino wool, and wood-based fibres like modal and Tencel naturally break down and decompose safely over time with less impact on the earth. 

Whenever possible, try to invest in biodegradable and organic fabrics. By consciously choosing clothes based on the fabrics they are made from, you will slowly build a sustainable closet full of long lasting items you love.

4 Adopt a conscious consumer mindset

When it comes to clothes, every now and then I’m as guilty as anyone of a little impulse buying! So, let’s not punish ourselves with unnecessary guilt. If, as much as possible, we challenge ourselves to make more mindful decisions, we may be less inclined to throw away clothes as often, and will still make a difference. 

Shop with intent. Ask yourself: Do I really need this item? Is this item good quality? How long is it likely to last?  

By answering these questions, you’ll not only better understand the investment you're making, but be more aware of the environmental impact your purchases will make. 

If you believe each item you buy should bring you joy, you are likely to buy less, ending up with a more thoughtful, sustainable wardrobe full of items you not only need but love.

5 Become a minimalist

When it comes to creating a wardrobe that is more environmentally conscious, minimalism and sustainability go hand in hand. Resist buying numerous low-quality items to extend your wardrobe, and prioritise quality and longevity over quantity.

One of the best ways to build and maintain a more sustainable wardrobe is to simply buy less. In fact, adopting a minimalist attitude in every facet of life can help you limit unnecessary purchases and cut down on the amount of overall waste you send to landfill. 

Owning fewer clothes will allow for more space in your home, and let you get the most out of the treasured pieces you invest in. So, be a more intentional consumer and only buy what you need. Then you will have less detrimental impact on the environment, save your home from unwanted clutter, and, as an added bonus, preserve your bank account.

Looking for ways to become more sustainable in all aspects of your life, not just your closet? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Living More Sustainably.

Jasmine is a freelance writer and sustainable fashion enthusiast. After years of shopping in fast fashion stores and seeking out the latest trends, she discovered its quality, not quantity, that defines good fashion and style. She now curates a wardrobe she truly loves while staying true to her signature bright and bold style and channelling her love for fashion and eco-conscious ethos into her writing.

Jasmine Isabella

Jasmine is a freelance writer and sustainable fashion enthusiast. After years of shopping in fast fashion stores and seeking out the latest trends, she discovered its quality, not quantity, that defines good fashion and style. She now curates a wardrobe she truly loves while staying true to her signature bright and bold style and channelling her love for fashion and eco-conscious ethos into her writing.