When I decided to green my wardrobe a few years ago, one the first things I did was share my new-found knowledge with others.
I didn’t want to come across as an evangelical on the issue, so I brought it up only with those who I thought might be genuinely interested in the topic. Typically I’d begin by asking them asked what came to mind when they heard the words, “eco-friendly clothing.”
Overwhelmingly, the most common things I heard were: “expensive!” followed closely by “hippies” and last but not least, “unrealistic.” (Bear in mind this was from people who declared themselves committed environmentalists.)
If they thought this way, then I could imagine how others felt.
My goal is to shatter many of the myths and misconceptions that surround eco-friendly clothing.
My hope is that if people can get past these, they will see that it is fairly easy to build a green wardrobe and can actually be cheaper than going the traditional route.
The myth is that going eco-friendly requires one to get rid of their current wardrobe and replace it all organic, eco-friendly fibers. Simpy put, this is totally wrong. While fiber content is important, having a truly eco-friendly wardrobe means keeping the clothing out of the landfill as long as possible. It makes absolutely no sense to discard perfectly good clothing.
Therefore, even if all your current clothing is mass-produced and made largely of synthetic fabrics, it is far better to keep them until they wear out, than to replace them now.
Once these old clothes do wear out, they can be replaced by an eco-friendly alternative. While most clothing that is certified organic tends to be more expensive than their conventionally-made counterparts, many eco-friendly clothing lines tend to produce better constructed products that therefore, last longer.
In the long term, a $30 organic t-shirt may last longer than a $5, paper-thin one that was on sale at the local chain store.
Furthermore, don’t underestimate buying second-hand clothing. Even if it is a conventionally made garment, it is still an eco-friendly choice because the item is being used again rather than being discarded. (My own wardrobe is a mix of second-hand and organic clothing.)
It’s takes too much time and trouble to find eco-friendly clothing.
A simple Google search will shatter this myth in a heartbeat. It’s easier than ever to find eco-friendly clothing in all price ranges.
From workout clothes to formal wear and everything in between, it’s available.
Furthermore, for those interested in second hand clothing, nothing can beat eBay. And for those who think eBay is too much of a hassle to navigate, check out sites like thredUp.com which is nothing but quality used clothes and accessories for men, women and children.
It’s all or nothing.
I have a confession to make: despite my commitment to eco-friendly clothing, most of my bras and underwear are conventionally-made. A major part of this reason is due to the fact that it is hard to find a bra that fits me properly and those that do, are not green brands. As far as the underwear goes, pretty underthings are an indulgence of mine and it is hard to find eco-friendly brands that look nice and don’t cost a ton.
Still, I try not to feel too bad, because at least I am doing more than most.
Therefore, even if we can’t be 100% eco-friendly, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. This is a case where every little bit really does make a difference.
Greening one’s wardrobe is easier than ever these days, and it is one of the small things that really can make a difference to the environment. (Just the amount of pesticides and water that goes toward the growing of conventional cotton alone is staggering.)
Therefore, the next time it’s time to shop for new clothes, keep the following in mind.
Having an eco-friendly wardrobe no longer means that one is doomed to terrible clothing choices or that one is a hippy, though of course, there is nothing wrong with that. Rather, it means you care enough about the planet to take into consideration the impact that your clothing choices make and frankly, that is sexy, no matter what clothing you use to dress your body.
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: Zeynep Sude EMEK/Pexels