4 ideas for a more Eco Friendly wardrobe

4 ideas for a more Eco Friendly wardrobe

Love clothes and fashion, and still want an Eco Friendly wardrobe?

Do you love clothes too? Maybe you love the excitement of buying new clothes. You may even have clothes in your wardrobe with the tags still on, and haven’t actually worn them yet.

I confess that I love collecting clothes. My wardrobe has many bright, colourful and interesting clothes in there, just waiting to be worn.

In reality, though, I probably wear the same 15-20 items over and over again. So I really don’t need any more clothes right now, and yet, it’s so easy to buy more. But is that the way to have an eco friendly wardrobe?

Fast fashion – clothing that’s heading quickly to the landfill

When we buy clothes, we often head to the malls or outlet stores, or buy online from the big fashion chains. ‘Fast fashion’ has become the norm now, with new clothing lines released every week, instead of every season as it used to be in the past. It is also cheaper than ever to buy clothes, and both of these factors has increased the amount of clothing people buy and throw away.

Fast Fashion refers to retailers’ practice of producing cheap clothes as quickly and as frequently as possible. Since the prices on these items are so low, they encourage consumers to buy en masse without thinking too much about their purchases. The result is that retailers are majorly overproducing. Consumers are buying clothes they don’t really want and definitely don’t need just because they’re inexpensive. And all this is causing major clothing waste.


This article reports on how fast fashion has lead to a huge increase in the amount of clothes that end up in landfill in New Zealand.

The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world now. The production and distribution of clothing creates environmental pollution including air, water and soil pollution. Add to this the overproduction of cheap clothing, and all this adds up to serious issues for our planet.

But, we don’t have to buy into this relatively recent culture of purchasing and throwing away more and more clothes. There are ways to enjoy clothes and still have a ‘eco friendly’ wardrobe.

And as I wrote in my post about whether the small changes we can make can make a difference, if we all make little changes, they add up to big impacts.

Eco friendly wardrobe
A stylish and tidy clothes rack

Four ideas to help create a more ‘Eco Friendly’ wardrobe?

1. Stop buying! And sort through your current clothes

The first step in creating a more eco friendly wardrobe is to hold fire on buying more clothes! Challenge yourself to a ‘clothes shopping fast’ for a month. And in that time, assess the clothing you have already in your closet, in terms of these clothing piles:

  • ‘Mend Pile’ – Is the item in good condition? If it needs fixing or mending, put it on a ‘Mend’ pile for a bit of maintenance. If you don’t know how to mend a torn item or sew on a button, check out YouTube for advice, Or ask someone with these skills to help you out (a small bribe works well!).
  • ‘Not right for me right now Pile’ – Does the item fit you? We all hang on to clothes that are too big or too small, for various reasons. If it doesn’t fit you right now, you probably don’t wear it. If you want to keep clothes that don’t fit you at the moment, as it’s not the right time to get rid of them, put them in a bag and stash them somewhere else. You might wear them in the future (or you might not wear them again, and may be ready to part with them later in life).
  • ‘Keep Pile’ – Do you like wearing the item? Does it make you feel good, and comfortable? Maybe you don’t have any particular feelings about it, but it’s something you need for work, exercise, or for dirty work like gardening, cleaning, or DIY work. If you like or need the item, put it in a ‘keep’ pile.
  • ‘Donate Pile’ – Is the item something you never wear? Was it an impulse buy or a gift that isn’t really you after all? It’s fine to part with clothes you don’t wear. Someone else may get the benefit from them. You could donate to family or friends, or to charity shops.

This wardrobe audit should really help you clear out the clothes in your closet, so you can see what you currently have, and also to see where you might actually need a few items. For example, when I did this last year, I realised that I didn’t wear some of my tops – I had a few that I didn’t feel comfortable in, so I donated them. And I haven’t missed them!

2. Buy new-to-you clothes from second hand sources

When you do buy clothes, it’s an eco-friendly idea to buy them second hand. The clothes get a new life with you, which keeps them out of landfill for the time being. And you could get good quality clothing at a bargain price, particularly on branded clothing that is often a fraction of the original price.

My favourite way to buy second hand clothes is at charity shops (op shops in New Zealand!). The added bonus is that you are supporting a charity at the same time as getting yourself a bargain.

3. Go to a clothing swap – or host one yourself

I’m a big fan of ‘Clothing Swaps’, having been to a couple over the years. They are also called ‘Swishing Parties’, check out the description over at Wikipedia.

The format for Clothing Swaps is usually that you come along to an organised event, with a bag of clothes of swap. You hand them over to the organisers, who sort them into types, usually on a few big tables. When the clothes are laid out, everyone gets to rummage through them and take home a bag of items (usually a similar amount to what you donated, to make it fair). It can be a bit of a free-for-all, but that was a lot of the fun!

Clothing swaps are often advertised on social media or event websites.

4. If you do buy new clothes, choose eco friendly and ethical brands

When buying new clothes, you can consider how the company stacks up in their ethical and environmentally sustainable credentials. There are a lot of resources online to help you find out more about companies. Here are a few links:

Clothes hanging on a rack
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I’d love to hear from you about what you are doing to have a more eco friendly wardrobe – please leave a comment! Thanks.

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