When it comes to general sustainability, odds are you’re guilty of a few infractions. Maybe you keep the water running while brushing your teeth, or maybe you’re addicted to shopping at fast-fashion stores for things you don’t really want or need. Whatever the case, you’re not alone—we all do it. The good news is that there are plenty of easy, practical habits any fashion lover can adopt that’ll make a serious impact on the planet without drastically changing your lifestyle.
Read on for 10 easy tips to be a tiny bit more eco-friendly when it comes to fashion!
1. Take a fast fashion break. As difficult as it may be, try taking a hiatus from fast fashion for a few months and consider investing in organic and/or sustainable garments. Elizabeth L. Cline, the author of last year’s buzzy book “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” keeps a running list of stylish sustainable and ethical retailers on her website, which is a good place to start.
2. Repair your shoes and clothes. Instead of tossing worn-in shoes, take them to a shoemaker to get them cleaned up, resoled, re-dyed, or re-heeled. Same goes for clothes—a good tailor can mend or repair almost anything, as can places like Denim Therapy for those jeans you thought were beyond salvation.
3. Check out Greenpeace’s Detox Fashion Manifesto. Here’s something you might want to sign as a show of support for the organization’s Detox initiative, which urges consumers to challenge brands and demand that they create fashion free of toxins. (The good news: a number of companies, including H&M and British retailer Marks & Spencer are already at work pioneering green chemistry, and phasing out some majorly harmful substances).
4. Turn old fashion into new fashion. Before you toss an old or ripped pair of jeans, consider turning them into cool, perfectly distressed cutoff shorts. Likewise, have a tailor shorten an oversize top into a cool crop-top, a long skirt into a mini, or a dated blazer into a sleeveless vest.
5. Need to give a gift? Create unique wrapping by using glossy magazines you already have, newspaper, or brown paper grocery bags. Not only is this method environmentally friendly, but it looks way cooler than store-bought generic paper.
6. Swap or sell your unwanted clothes using cool sites and apps like Bib & Tuck and Poshmark. Of course, donating them works too.
7. No more wire hangers (sort of.) Since wire hangers aren’t viable for all recycling programs, ask your dry cleaner to take them back when you’re done. Invest in skinny velvet hangers instead.
8 Look into the Slow Fashion movement. This was originally intended to reject all mass-produced fashion, but has since evolved and can be practiced by buying trend-free quality garments that will last longer and can be repairable. Of course, it also might not hurt to start implementing the movement’s biggest precept: buy fewer clothes, and less often.
9. Decorate differently. Adorn your your apartment with plants to improve air quality, or use old blankets, silk scarves or old garments to reupholster couch pillows.
10. Wash on cold rather than hot or warm water. This makes a big difference, and most modern washers do an equally fine job of getting clothes spic and span in cold. Likewise, try to hang dry items when you can—skipping the tumble dryer can nix around 60% of energy used on laundry.
11. DIY heating pads. Looking for uses for all the single socks you’ve amassed while doing laundry? When you’ve got aches or pains, fill a sock with dry beans or rice and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Voila, an (and free) heating pad.
12. Treat yourself. If you know you’re a bag, coat, or boot person, why not invest one on really good piece that’ll last you years to come instead of a bunch of cheap ones you’ll only wear a few times?