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Sustainable Style – 5 tips for more sustainable fashion choices

Image shows Ghislaine Walker a mature white woman with long grey hair

Are you looking for ways to create a sustainable style in 2021?

Building a wardrobe that is kinder to the planet doesn’t have to be complicated. In this post sustainable fashion expert Ghislaine Walker from Tales in Style shares her top tips on how to get started.

Dressing for a more sustainable lifestyle is directly connected to how you feel. This isn’t a process to rush. Creating a wardrobe that you love has to begin with reflection and self-care. It’s also not about being perfect – making more conscious and sustainable steps all add up. With practice it will become easier and second nature.

White hand holding three green leaves and painted green

1. Reconnect with your old clothes

Before you rush out to buy from eco-friendly fashion brands the best step to begin creating your sustainable style is to look at what you already own.

Begin this step by looking at each piece. How does it make you feel? 

Will you rediscover old favourites?

Sometimes it can be hard to let go of clothes that we feel connected to – especially if we associate happy memories with them.

If an item is very special to you, but no longer fits, consider whether to store it in a memory box or perhaps gift it to someone you care about? Seeing it have a new lease of life on someone else can be a beautiful way of sharing your love for it.

For anything else which no longer serves you or drains your energy when you pick it up: say thank you and good bye then put it aside to give away.

Really enjoy this time, document it with photos, write in your journal or find your own way to acknowledge the feelings associated with the clothes you will keep as well as give away.

Black woman wearing a cream wrap dress with colourful leaf print arms spread wide and eyes closed Standing in front of a stormy landscape

2. Reinvent your look

There’s nothing better than taking time to experiment when creating a sustainable style.

Try everything on. Can you wear it in new ways? If you love part of it, but the fit isn’t quite right:  can you find someone to help make this look good on you now?

It is important to think about who you are today.

Any experiment requires trial and error so start mixing together pieces that you hadn’t considered before. Forget everything you have been told about how to dress for your age and have fun!

Donate any clothes that no longer serve you and which you cannot put to a new use. Used jeans for example can be donated to The Blue jeans Go Green programme. You could also research whether there are any local sewing studios that upcycle old clothing.

Stack of jeans being put into a cardboard box

3. Imagine the clothes you would like to add

Give yourself the luxury of dreaming a little.

Wear the items you have reconnected with, see how this process has made you feel and get honest about why you feel the need to shop. Are there gaps in your collection? Maybe it’s time to find good quality basics because all your white tees are looking tired.

First make a note of the brands of clothes you are considering replacing. Have these pieces lasted well or maybe not? Focus on the brands who have served you well, not the fast fixes.

Embrace shoppng at charity shops and consignment stores. With a little patience you can find some pre-loved treasures.

How good are you at accessories? Sometimes a really good belt or the right colour scarf can breathe life into outfits that you know need work.

Woman browsing in a second hand store

4. Become sustainable style conscious

Taking time to research where you choose to shop is about respecting the processes involved in making any garment, the people who make it and the environment which we all share.

Buying once and buying well is trending now and needs to continue if we are to leave even a half decent future for our children.

I am not talking about buying expensive designer labels; sustainable fashion is now available at varying price points.

Understanding who you are buying from and if their ethics are in line with your own makes a huge difference to how you feel each time you pull on that gorgeous swishy skirt.

Stylist Ghislaine Walker sitting at her desk wearing a striped t shirt denim dungarees and a red bandana tied around her head

5. Re-use, Recycle, Upcycle

Those items that need a little help, maybe a stitch or two, deserve some love.

If this isn’t your skill set then the options include the huge recycling industry or simply a good seamstress.

If you have quality pieces that need a refresh then you could consider bleaching white tees that have seen better days or maybe a dye job to fit a new colour palette.

Once you’re happy that you have made every effort to get the most wear out of a garment then upcycling is fast becoming a part of the clothing industry. For ideas and inspiration have a look at the Converted Closet. The transformations are incredible and a joy to watch.

bundles of cream fabric with a dried bunch of leaves on top

It will not have taken you long to read this but it will take you a little longer to take action. This doesn’t have to be done all at once. Slow Fashion is a process to take at your own pace. Change takes time and sometimes it takes time to fall in love again, both with your clothes and with the person who wears them.

Embracing the idea of Re-Loving will result in you feeling more comfortable with the image you present to the world, the impact you make on the lives of others, the air we breathe and the planet you take these steps on.

To find out more about Ghislaine and her services please visit her website.

Ghislaine Walker Tales in Style


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