Perhaps you are trying to pare down your own wardrobe and making due with more quality pieces?
In my world, buying more has been replaced with replace with quality, not quantity; and only when you need it. And I feel good about that too.
A few years ago the term bloggers, fashionistas and sustainability-lovers were using was “capsule wardrobes." Today we just call it the new normal.
If you are overwhelmed with closet chaos or just curious about the benefits of dressing with less and simplifying your wardrobe then we have some simple ways to get started. But first, we want to caution not to worry too much about “doing it right”. Instead let it be messy at first, as you figure out what works best for your body, and your lifestyle.
In my own closet, I have about 30 items.
I’ve been working on this for 10 years, so each year I either replace, save, or recycle. Most of the items have a normal life span of 5 years. On average though most of my clothes are 10 years or less.
Once you’ve started down the path take some time to figure it all out.
Keep only those items that add value to your life, look good on you and provide multiple uses.
I’ve found that before shopping I focus your attention on seeking out top-quality, long-lasting pieces. And I work hard to curb my emotional spending habits.
Keep a journal of your shopping habits for 3 months. See what lesson’s you can learn from that time.
Here are a few tips on accessories:
Clothing is one thing and accessories are another. They are usually smaller and less expensive (although some purses are as much as down payment on a car!
Nevertheless, accessories can add splash, shine or just simply change the look. Which is one reason why we are so jazzed about our eco collection. Quality pieces that update your look with a smaller footprint.
A scarf vs. necklace, a hat or purse that takes attention away from what you are actually wearing.
We can't say it enough that accessories should be treated in the same manner as quality vs. quantity so don’t go crazy on 100 different necklaces to update your look. Instead concentrate on getting accessories that accent your style.
By being alert to what you need, get the best bang for your buck by being as concise as possible. I can happily spend hours putting together an outfit, but I need my accessories to go with pretty much everything in my wardrobe and be ready to be grabbed at a moment's notice.
I find that I generally opt for shoes and bags in neutral colorways—such as black, brown or white. They also need to be practical, so that means shoes need to be comfortable and bags roomy enough to fit my life in (check out Lancaster)
PICK A METAL (OR MULTIPLE!)
When it comes to accessorizing your capsule wardrobe, jewelry should be your first stop. Just like you built up your capsule wardrobe, build up your jewelry chest with pieces in your favorite metal (think gold, silver & brass).
Here are the perfect jewelry pieces to add to your capsule wardrobe:
- Simple stud earrings, think a faux (or real) diamond or round metal beads.
- 16 or 18′ inch necklace in gold or silver.
- One sleek bangle.
FIND THE PERFECT HANDBAG
You have a closet full of essentials, but what about the essentials that you have to carry on the daily? Dig in deep and pull out the handbags in there now:
Here are the best handbags to add to your capsule wardrobe:
- One good place to start is adding a large, versatile tote for the workweek.
- A small, crossbody can get you through the weekend (or a night out).
- If you’re feeling a little more daring, try a handbag in a bright color—like cobalt blue, mustard yellow or even, fuschia!
ADD A SCARF TO YOUR COLLECTION
- Take a cue from the French and add a Letol scarf that adds vibrancy to any outfit.
- Scarves can be belts too! Take a silky thin scarf and thread it through your belt loops of your favorite jeans!
When it comes to accessorizing a capsule wardrobe, look for accessories that either add color to your capsule wardrobe or blend in seamlessly!
Ever wonder about how your favorite clothes are made? Do you examine labels to learn the makeup of fabrics? Maybe you do this in the grocery store and don’t realize that you should be doing it for clothing and other textiles as well. Unfortunately in clothing, shoes & accessories, like food, you get what you pay for.
In earlier blogs I’ve done a deep dive in organics and I wanted to continue the education. Maybe you've heard of “tencel” but didn't really know what it was? More and more you can find bathing suits made of a lycra fiber created from recycling water bottles. I had to find out more. Wouldn’t finding ways to curb the environmental pollution caused by textile production start with finding new ways to produce fabrics that don’t require toxins and large amounts of water, and which minimize harm to the local ecology? Could recycled water bottles do that? I first had to parse out the different options.
First off, lets categorize the array of available fibers.
1) Grown naturally in Nature:
Under this category you’ll find wool, cotton, hemp, bamboo, silk. They are natural but can be found in a wide availability of quality. Some can be grown “sustainably” or grown in clear cut forests that actually denigrate the environment. For example, cotton is the most pesticide intensive crop in the world so most of the t's and jeans you wear are killing bees. The development of genetically modified cotton adds environmental problems at another level. That’s why 100% organic cotton is so effective in eliminating these issues.
Linen is made from flax plant and usually always using natural nontoxic dyes. That makes it a good choice for clothing. But ofcourse it wrinkles.
Wool on the other hand derived by animals can cause environmental damage and lead to poor treatment of animals. So what are you to choose from?
2) A human made fiber: Rayon, Nylon and polyester
Recent studies have shown that polyester, nylon and acrylic fabrics give off thousands of tiny plastic microfibers when they are washed. These fibers travel through our sewage systems and end up in the ocean where marine species can ingest them. The irony is that now we are finding that these plastics can be found in the fish that we eat – meaning we are consuming tiny bits of plastic that came from our clothing. Gross.
Also, made from petrochemicals, these synthetics are non-biodegradable, so they are inherently unsustainable on two counts.
Rayon (viscose) is another artificial fiber, made from wood pulp, which on the face of it seems more sustainable. Non sustainable practices however, such as clearing of old growth forest and/or subsistence farmers are used to make way for pulpwood plantations. Often the tree planted is eucalyptus, which draws up phenomenal amounts of water, causing problems in sensitive regions. To make rayon, the wood pulp is treated with hazardous chemicals such as caustic soda and sulphuric acid.[i]
Derivatives of Rayon are Acetate Acrylic & Lycra.
Acetate replaces silk in lower priced items. There are a lot of benefits to the end use of the garment (water resistant, wrinkle free, price) that has made it so prevalent. Acrylic replaces wool. It’s non-allergenic, dries quickly, draws moisture away from the body and is washable. Lastex developed in 1949 by DuPont Chemical and found under the brand name Lycra is weaved into many products to make them “better fitting”. Say hello to your athletic-wear funding the Koch Brothers who now own the brand. [ii] Also, after too many washing's the fiber breaks down and it is often just thrown into landfill.
Nylon is used for netting, carpets & of course hosiery and also found in bathing suits & fleece. Unfortunately, Nylon manufacture creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Essentially, making these fibers uses large amounts of water for cooling, along with lubricants which can become a source of contamination. Both processes are also very energy-hungry. Think about that when you go to buy your 10th fleece item.
3) Sustainable and Recycled fibers
Lyocell or brand name TENCEL® is a sustainably grown wood product. Because it is a proprietary fabric it is only made by one company in Germany. The company earned Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Additionally, the chemicals used in Tencel are non toxic. [iii] For a fabric that has the smallest possible ecological footprint, choose brand-name or another lyocell fabric manufactured in Europe or the United States.
Fabrics found in bathing suits and winter fleece such as rayon, nylon and spandex can also be made using recycled fibers. These fibers are made from recycling plastic beverage bottles. The process is energy intensive but the finished fibers are soft and strong polyester thread that is then woven into fabric. Same fabric as before but keeping those pesky water bottles out of the landfill and oceans is a smart choice.
My research also found out that bleach and chemical dyes (used to color fabrics) are toxic using a combination of man-made dyes and dioxin-producing chlorine compounds. I had to google “dioxins” and was horrified with what I found. On the World Health Organizations website “Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.” [iv] Turns out that dioxins don’t ever degrade and they collect in fatty tissues of animals. (That’s you and me) Ok, so even natural fibers can be tricky to navigate.
Also consider the other materials used in clothing and shoes & accessories like
Leather (with polluting tanning and dying processes, as well as intensive farming impacts and animal rights issues) and PVC – a notoriously toxic material.
Fun stuff. Ultimately, what we put on our bodies have as much as an impact as what we put in it so treat your body like the temple it is and look for those brands that use environmentally responsible and nontoxic materials and use processes & treatment of workers and animals with respect. You can count on the belts, scarves, hats, jewelry and other products at One Savvy Mother has been chosen for the lowest environmental impact. You can trust us. Shop Now
Well, we aren't actually advocating you drop Pinterest but we got your attention didn't we? This month's blog is about pairing your style with the right accessories. We've all bought something on a whim only to find that it goes with nothing in our closets. Here are 8 styles and how to get the best look from your accessories.
You're confident in simple tops & basic slacks. This is your style for work and play and you stick with low patterns, light hues & basic cuts.
Pair this style with a cuff bracelet and a trendy purse of coordinating colors.
You dress with exotic flair and you're leading the pack. The look is bold, mysterious & eye catching.
Choose accessories that have tribal or animal looks. It will give the look without all the fuss.
If your closet holds girly blouses, A-line skirts & cable sweaters you fall into the preppy style. You don't have to dress like a school girl though.
This style doesn't have to be plain. Choose pops of color & classic designs.
4. Bohemian (Boho)
This style is created with intricate patterns & exotic textures.
Choose accessories with fringe that can compete with the patterns or wear neutral that won't compete.
Good news! This style is trending for fall. So pull out your jeans & tees and pair it with a plaid shirt. Boots are optional
Don't forget the hat!
6. Girl Next Door
This look pairs classic design without the rush to be trendy. You don't go wild or exotic and the focus is on simplicity, stripes & tennis shoes.
Choose your accessories from classic designs but added flair for a little eye turning attention.
The polished and sophisticated look is a mainstay. You're an overachiever and your closet is no exception.
Pair your smart and snazzy blazers and pencil skirts with handbags as polished as you are.
This simple and modern look is not like shopping in the boys section but you won't find any lace or frills around. You're more likely to be wearing a graphic tee, straight leg loose fitting slacks and a pair of flats. Now that's how you do it girl-style.
Add a polished look with a belt.
Our favorite alternative to leather is cork handbags. With nature-inspired details and functional designs, these pieces were made with sustainable methods and materials that you can truly feel good about.
The Material: Cork
The high-quality cork fabric is made from the shavings of Cork Oak trees. Cork can be harvested every nine years without harming the trees. This makes cork a renewable, biodegradable and altogether sustainable material. What’s more, cork oak trees grow naturally without the use of any pesticides, watering or pruning. By buying cork you are supporting the continued value of these old growth forests.
The shavings are then made into a fabric by compressing a thick slice of cork with a natural fabric like cotton. In addition to being environmentally-friendly, it’s extremely durable, waterproof, stain resistant and easy to clean. Portugal is the number one producer of cork, as Cork Oak trees are native to the region.
The Production: Artisanal and Innovative
One Savvy Mother believes its brands should go the extra mile for the sake of the environment. That’s why the sourcing of cork is not the only material that makes the products sustainable. Other materials used are organic cotton, kelp-based “leather alternative” and leather. There is also an emphasis on facilities where all employees are treated fairly.
Not only are the workers paid a fair wage but with attention to detail and expertise of the artisans that we work with most of the production is handmade. Using methods that ensure that craftsmanship is learned and repeated we are dedicating the future to sustainable methods.
Functionality Inspired by Nature
What drives inspiration? Given that cork is the basis of the products, brands get inspired by nature and the fields of cork trees seen throughout the Mediterranean countries. Nothing short of the beauty of Mother Nature can be seen in all the designs. But don’t expect perfection; natural flaws are what make cork so beautiful.
Another design goal? Creating products that are truly useful. And then adding a dose of style. Handbags are lightweight, full of pockets, and the natural look of cork is so stylish.
Shop all Cork Bags (link)
By now you've heard of capsule wardrobe. Bloggers, fashionistas and sustainability-lovers are going crazy over small, curated closets that are rotated seasonably. The idea of it is to pare down your wardrobe to a designated number of mix and match items. Every season, you can purchase a few high-quality pieces to incorporate into your rotation.
There are quite a few tips out there on which shirts, jeans and booties to incorporate into each season’s wardrobe, but how does the wannabee-capsuler incorporate accessories?
Some sources say that when it comes to a capsule wardrobe, jewelry, bags, hats and scarves should be limited. Others argue that changing up your accessories is essential to adding excitement to go-to styles. The choice is really up to you, but here are a few things to consider.
If you are going to limit your accessories….
Caroline Rector, the blogger behind un-fancy, is a huge advocate “the rule of three” when it comes to her capsule wardrobe. What is “the rule of three,” you may ask?
Let’s say you decide to limit your jewelry to three of each kind of accessories: three necklaces, three bracelets, three hats/scarves. Of the three necklaces you own, one could be a statement-making piece, one a simple piece and one is something in between.
For example, imagine how these three ethically-made necklaces could be incorporated into a capsule wardrobe:
If you aren’t going to limit your accessories…
You should still clean out cheap accessories that you’re not 100% crazy about. Capsule wardrobes are all about only wearing high-quality pieces that you’ll love. You want thoughtful pieces with stories behind them – not some trendy costume jewelry you bought on a whim.
Adding something new…
With capsule wardrobes, you’re only buying a few pieces every season. These pieces should be wardrobe-changing essentials that you’ve thought long and hard about. Accessories are the perfect item to update for multiple reasons: a single accessory can transform any outfit, it won’t add much bulk to your closet and it’ll take you into new seasons. After all, who doesn’t want to rotate between bold summertime necklaces and cozy winter scarves?
Of course, capsule wardrobes are much better for the environment than overstuffed closets. To make your wardrobe as green as possible, make sure that any accessories or garments you incorporate are sustainably sourced.
There is a tremendous stigma about older clothes that needs rethinking.
|Making garments last should be a source of pride|
Even paying for repairs by professionals is (most of the time) more economical compared to replacing items.
- Try learning to repair socks and getting shoes resoled. By doing this, you can make those clothes you love and wear regularly last longer, reducing the chances of buying new pieces of clothing that have a future in the back of your closet.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2014, more than 16.2 million tons of textiles were generated, but only 16 percent of clothing and shoes were recycled.
If all else fails and repair is out of the question then here are a few ideas to keep those items out of the landfill.
- Use old handbags for your daughters dress up time or as a bag for extra toiletries.
- Repurpose leather belts into a dog collar or fill an old pair of boots with sand and use it as a door stopper. Be creative with how you can use them. Etsy is also a great source of inspiration.
- Support local businesses in your neighborhood like tailors & cobblers. Not only do you extend the use of your items but bring valuable dollars to these mom and pop stores.
Finally, many of us have a closet full of old handbags, leather jackets & shoes. If you are like me there are some that have been repaired more than once. Sometimes the item is just too far gone. What can you do?
- Donate to artists and DYIers so they can "reclaim" the leather into new functional items. A quick google search will yield local donation centers.
- Have you seen Palomino Jewelry? Katie uses reclaimed leather & hardware from old handbags to create her jewelry designs. Check out Palomino Collection here
Do you have old furs that are taking up space in your closet and you want to rid yourself of them? Donate between January and April 22 (Earth Day) those furs to Coats for Cubs that use them in the rehab of orphaned animals around the U.S.
This project was a lot of fun to do. The point was to dissect outfits that I wear. Who made the apparel? How long have I owned them? Is it a good outfit? It's not that my closet is anything great mind you. What if it was like Barbie’s dream house closet? Now that’s a closet! But mine, well, just an ordinary closet unfortunately.
But that’s the point right? To show, to encourage, to teach how your closet can be more “green”. Right now, the apparel & fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry on Earth. Yes. Right up there with polluting oil and gas industry. The only way to change that is through the choices you and I make about how we dress & adorn.
So what are my takeaways?
- Quality over Quantity - When buying clothing, accessories & shoes buy the highest quality you can afford.
- Shop in your closet – Strive to wear what you already have at least 30 wears.
- Ask for better standards – Talk to your favorite store and let them know you care about how your clothes are made and from what material they are from. i.e. Ask for organic and no sweat shops.
- Buy less – If you shop less, you’ll have more money to buy quality (see #1) but don’t feel guilty when you do shop just buy “right”. i.e. Shop OneSavvyMother.com because you know the products are made right and stylish.
- Support Eco fashion – Put your money where your mouth is and move away from luxury designers until they change their dirty ways. Support the young industry of Eco fashion designers & retailers instead.
- Buy Consignment – Go thrifting for jeans, jackets & shoes. You can buy great items for a fraction of the cost of new and you'll be supporting #30wears.
Leave us a comment about how you'll make a difference and opt in with your email address so we can stay in touch. We’ll give you $25 towards a purchase at One Savvy Mother.
Thanks for reading #greenyourcloset and shopping onesavvymother.com.
Be sure and check out @slowfashionmom on Youtube or catch the first four blogs in this series:
Welcome! In this project, SlowFashionMom (see Youtube series link below) and OneSavvyMother are teaming up to bring you an introspection of our closet. We’re dissecting & bisecting our closets – with the intent of learning and teaching about how we can all be more ecofriendly with our apparel, shoes & accessories. For four weeks we'll look at how many times we've worn the clothes, how long we've owned them and what materials the apparel is. We hope our lessons will inspire you to also look at your closet differently. Please let us know what you think in the comments below.
Part One: I chose my December 31, 2016 outfit for week 1.
The day before New Year’s Eve, my daughter and I went for a stroll on Newbury Street in Boston. I wanted to find something special to wear for New Years’ Eve, and I wasn’t alone. All I saw were sales at Zara. Lined up 30-deep, ladies were queuing up to buy new “Going Out” outfits. Who wouldn’t be tempted? You’re getting ready to hit the scene, there are new trends, and the stores were all running special promotions! Even I was tempted to grab a $30 top that would be “festive” for the party I was going to. I went into a few independent retail stores but didn’t find anything that was right. Neither did anyone else. Everyone was at Zara. Follow the herd, Americans….or not!
Along the way, my daughter picked out something for me. The flashy, deep V neck long sleeve flowy thing begged for me to pick it out and wrap it up. I resisted! Instead I examined it closely (I found loose seams), looked at the pattern (boring) and examined the fabric (polyester), and decided against it.
We looked in a high-end consignment shop, too, but didn’t find anything particularly awe-inspiring there either. Plus, I felt ignored by the sales team, who were obviously not interested in helping me shop. I am one of those rare birds that rely on salespeople’s knowledge.
- I went shopping in my closet. I pulled out a dress that my mother gave me 4 years ago. I had not worn since last spring, and I’ve only worn it about 5 other times. My mother however wore it allot before passing it along. Because I don’t wear it often, it feels like a special occasion outfit. I try to wear each piece of clothing at least 30 times, but this feels like a good exception to make.I still wanted to wear something special to ring in the New Year! So here’s what I did:
- I showed off my shoulders: The dress has open shoulders -- better to show off my 3 month old commitment to BarMethod classes! And I’ve seen that open shoulders are “in” right now, too. I got to showcase a new asset, AND be on-trend.
- I made a colorful exception: I hate wearing black clothes, but almost everything my fashionista mama hands down is black. If my mom gave it to me, I know it will be good quality, contemporary, and beautiful – even if it’s not something I would have picked for myself.
- Cotton blend: The dress label is New York 77 and material: is 95% Viscose*, 5% Elastic. Because Viscose is a more processed material than cotton, it is even more important to keep it in circulation. Another names for Viscose is Rayon.
- I updated the look: I wore leggings (Label: Isda & Co., Material 60% Viscose, 23% Nylon, 12% Polyester, 5% Elastic) and a trendy pair of impractical leather boots (also a gift from my mother- thanks mom!). Quite possibly I've worn the leggings over 30 times. I've had them 3 years and only own 2 pairs of leggings. I rely on them all fall/winter & early spring). I've had these boots for 2 years and haven't found many places to wear them. I feel guilty sitting in my closet so any chance I'm not walking a long distance I try to wear them. (No Sex In the City for me walking blocks on 3 inch heels). They'll go out of style before my #30wears and I've told my mother not to ever buy me anything impractical again.
- I bedazzled the ensemble: For the first time in almost a year, I didn’t wear One Savvy Mother jewelry! Instead, I wore a long strand of pearly glass beads that are about as sparkly as I can get. I've also owned them close to 10 years and before that they were...you guessed it - my mama's! I paired it with my long tin can earrings I won in an Instagram contest this summer (thank you @teresamooremoore). Of course I grabbed my Lancaster clutch in white to add some contrast and enhanced the contemporary look I had going. Plus it was useful in holding phone, license and lipstick – all I needed for a fun night out!
That’s Week 1. I'll see you for another three Tuesdays and a wrap up. Be sure and watch @slowfashionmom on youtube and follow us on Instagram @onesavvymother and @slowfashionmom.
*Viscose Rayon is similar to cotton but takes 11 more steps to turn it into a fiber. If you want to learn more I rely on http://www.barnhardtcotton.net/blog/know-fibers-cotton-vs-viscose-rayon/ for my information.
To see my partner on this project check out her Youtube series at: https://youtu.be/cj176HqjF3A
or follow us on Instagram:
When I go into a grocery store these days my stress level increases. Not only does the prospect of racing through aisles, sorting through a myriad of prices, ingredients & products make me queasy, but adding to my anxiety is the wondering how each product is made and how it came to me. What do I then do? Well of course, I study the packaging. If an item comes in plastic, a warning siren goes off in my head: this product has a problem.
I’ve put together 10 of the best suggestions for avoiding plastic at the grocery store. If it motivates you to give up just one product I will feel that I’ve succeeded in reducing plastic in the world.
1)SWITCH OUT ONE PRODUCT: One day I went shopping with the goal of not buying anything in plastic packaging. I came home with fresh veggies & bulk rice, beans & nuts plus a dozen eggs. No milk, no bread, no fish or meat, no ketchup, or snacks. Well, needless to say my family was hungry that week. Since then I’ve heeded the advice of my friend and neighbor who did something similar when she decided which items to buy organic: Think of the top 10 items you buy weekly and change your habits on just one (or more if you are feeling strong). Switch to a glass jar or buy bulk rice instead of the kind in plastic bag or pasta sauce in a glass jar instead of plastic
2)USE REUSABLE BAGS: We are all in the habit of using big bags to tote groceries home with, but what do you do with the collection of smaller bags that are used throughout the store? Invest in reusable grocery & veggie bags. Instead of plastic produce bags, I use mesh bags that are easily washed for produce and bulk purchases. They go right back into the car after use so I have them for the next time. No plastic bags for me. Our town has now banned plastic bags & so has Cambridge MA, San Francisco, NYC and many other cities! It’s coming to a town near you so get your reusable bags ready.
3)Look for alternatives. I used to buy ketchup in a plastic bottle. Now, I’ve found a tastier brand that comes in glass. Pasta sauce, salad dressing – if it’s on a shelf there’s probably a glass-packaged option. You’ll be surprised at some of the alternatives out there. Look at the packaging as well as the product.
4) Think outside of the Coop: Buy your eggs from the bank. NO! What am I saying? A bank doesn’t sell eggs right? Well at least mine does. Situated conveniently in the same area as the grocery store, I zip over to the bank for a dozen FRESH eggs. I even return the previous egg crate to be reused. If that’s not an option, switch from eggs that come in plastic or Styrofoam carton to the ones in cardboard. Then use the crates for a fire starter, art project, or recycle bin.
5) Don’t buy what you can make: Bake a few loaves of bread and keep them in your freezer. Make your kids jello instead of buying in plastic cups. Make your own ketchup, chicken stock, pasta sauce, salad dressing – they all take minimal effort, taste better, and are healthier choices.
6) Buy a larger container of things that come in tubs & use your own storage cups. For example, buy a large yogurt and send your kids to school with a reusable container instead. You can do the same with nut butters, hummus, jams/jelly, and more. Do you need string cheese, or will a block of cheese cut up into smaller portions work?
7)Make a commitment not to buy bottled water. This is the dumbest thing Americans do. There are water fountains everywhere. Bring your own cup or water bottle. According to Brita, the water filter company Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year.
8)Buy in bulk: Rice, beans, nuts, granola, flours, grains & even candy are sold in bulk. Each of is generally packaged in plastic wrap that cannot be recycled. Instead, use those mesh bags and bring home this less expensive alternative, at an amount that is right for your family. Now you’re saving money and the environment at the same time!
9)Make a commitment to join in #plasticfreejuly. Sign up now and you’ll receive a reminder and tips when its time. http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
10)I know it’s tempting to eat your way through yummy store samples but be mindful of those plastic onetime use cups. Ask it they can give it to you on a paper napkin or ask management to try for paper cups instead.
I want to wish you a Happy & plastic free 2017 and best wishes for a greener you! Tell us what you do to avoid plastic. What are your tips? How about asking not to take those annoying elastic bands?
What you wear is an insight into your worldview. Just like food, friends, and hobbies, your wardrobe choices express your beliefs, feelings, and outlook.
The clothes we buy impacts the changing world around us. Our clothes tell a story about our lives and what kind of world we want to live in. What story do you want to tell?
We use the term Fast Fashion for low-cost clothing that mimics luxury fashions and reproduces collections en masse. These companies compress the fashion production cycle from months to days. They hire thousands of designers to pump out catwalk-style garments and complete production in time to distribute the clothes to stores within weeks. For example, you can buy a knock off of that dress you saw on a celebrity at the Oscars within a week of the Academy Awards broadcast. It wasn’t always a mass-consumer-obsessed market, though.
The role of a tailor or dressmaker changed in the early 1900s. The industrial revolution allowed us to produce clothes that were both cheap and chic, a delight which human history had never seen. Buying clothing based on what was fashionable had never been feasible on such a scale. In the past, people placed emphasis on repairing their hand-made clothes, rather than keeping up with fashion trends. Even through most of the first half of the 1900s consumers would take good care of their fashion investments, and make careful decisions about purchasing new clothes. Today’s trend takes things a step further: rather than repair, people buy popular, disposable clothing. Due to globalization issues, improved high-volume production abilities, and the ability to make relatively low-cost high-volume fashion purchases, we have traveled far from the original concept of clothing: to protect our bodies from the elements.
There are many reasons Fast Fashion should make us feel uncomfortable:
- Pollutants: Fast fashion is one of the worst causes of pollution in the world. The mass production of poorly-made garments using cheap synthetic materials is taxing on the environment, both to produce and to dispose of.
- Peer pressure: Women feel self-conscious because fast fashion promotes the over-consumption of frivolous clothing. There is constant pressure on women to stay trendy, even when these clothes do not fit well or suit a woman's style.
- Quantity, not quality: We forgo quality in favor of quantity. The timeless pieces that were once closet staples are now exchanged for ill-fitting clothing that changes from season to season.
- Poor factory conditions: In 2013, the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed and exposed the horrendous factory conditions the workers were enduring. This brought attention to how fast fashion functions so cheaply.
Here’s what you can do about it:
- Check your labels: Be aware of where your clothing is made.
- Before making a purchase: Do you already have something like it?
- Repair, don’t replace: Do you just need a repair or do you need a new piece?
- Vote with your wallet: Shop from vendors who share your worldview.
One Savvy Mother strives to help you tell a beautiful story with what you put on your body each morning. Our sourcing policy is very selective.
- We give eco ratings that reflect positive production ethics.
- We sell gorgeously designed accessories from environmentally conscious designers like ReWilder, which repurposes materials that were on their way to the landfill.
- We provide stylish statement pieces from designers that employquality and durability with a distinct style, like Katie Mawson out of England.
- And we love Project Have Hope’s dedication to bringing education, skills, and income to women who need it most.
When you choose simple, beautifully crafted pieces that are timely but independent over fast fashion’s latest trends, you not only look great, but you feel great, too. Your clothing choices make very powerful statements about who you are and what you stand for. Make the relationship you have with your clothes authentic and expressive of the positive change you want to see in the world.
designers mentioned in this post: