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    7 Sustainable Ways to Upgrade Your Closet

    From Emma Watson and Rosario Dawson, to Gwyneth Paltrow and Natalie Portman, the eco-conscious are in good company. We’re so excited to live in a time when conscience and style go hand-in-hand.

    Here are a few tricks to upgrade your closet in ways that would make these green celebrities proud.

    1. Do Your Homework

    If you’re reading this article, you’ve already taken the leap into awareness. You know a thing or two about the environmental challenges that weigh on the fashion industry. Whether your main concern is resource depletion, waste, or pesticides, there’s plenty to be upset about when it comes to fast fashion. Doing your research will give you the tools to become the eco-fashionista you are at heart, so get reading and put your money where your mouth is.

    2. Shop Like a Parisian

    Paris Clothes

    You don’t have to travel to Paris to shop like you’re from there. Did you know Parisian women have fewer clothes in their closets than the average American does? Way fewer, in fact. They also have smaller closets, you may point out, in which case, you get it—there’s something a little off about American shopping habits. There’s an ecological consequence to buying a trillion cheaply-made items you’ll wear out in a day. On the other hand, investing in fewer, carefully-curated and well-made pieces that last a lifetime serves you (and the planet) in more ways than one. Before you know it, you’ll be strutting your stuff with vintage fashion you found in your own closet.

    3. Buy What You Love

    be reasonable

    If you’re going to buy new clothes, only add to your closet what you absolutely cannot live without. While you’re working towards changing habits—and leading by example in doing so—it’s OK to buy a new item of clothing once in a while. Ideally, you’ll do so at a thrift shop where you can splurge on an expensive coat or dress. Think of your new awareness in shopping as a game, rather than a limitation. Challenge accepted.

    4. Thrift it Until You Make It

    Making your own clothes takes “local” to the next level. (We envy reader & friend Sam Wittchen for her Made-Me digs!) But frankly, we don’t all have the knack, patience, or time for that. So why not check out what people in your area are up to? Local fashion pumps money into your neighborhood economy and cuts down on mindboggling transportation costs. You can also check out thrift shops in your area, where you’ll find treasures in virtually perfect condition.

    5. If It Is Broke


    …fix it! Tailors are wizards. Not only can they mold a new piece of clothing to your shape to flattering perfection, but they can also bring back the clothes-dead. Do your research beforehand, as you’ll want to find a professional with excellent reviews you can trust. You’ll feel like you’ve hit the Holy Grail when you find someone you feel comfortable with leaving your favorite articles of clothing with. Bonus: you’ll walk away with absolutely unique twists on clothes you already loved. Favorite jeans got ripped? They’ll patch them up in no time. Sweater shrunk in the wash? They’ll turn it into a skirt. Be bold. Your next fashion adventure is only beginning.

    6. Sustainable Style

    Opt for brands that create their fashion wears from recycled materials. You can find virtually anything you need for your wardrobe when shopping from eco-conscious brands. Whether you opt for a sneaker from Rothy’s made out of recycled water bottles or Andrea Bonelli jewelry made from recycled metals, the littlest efforts can make the biggest difference.

    7. Whether the Leather…

    On the topic of trends, faux fur and leather are all over the catwalks. The vegan materials have been around for a while, but they haven’t been taken seriously in the fashion world until now. Style hadn’t caught up to the eco-friendly trend. But you have no excuse anymore. With heavy-hitting designers like Stella McCartney revolutionizing her sustainable line, it’s getting harder to justify not jumping onto the faux leather bandwagon.

    A word to the wise: just because faux is in doesn’t mean you should throw out your real leather pieces. Wearing worn leather is an ecological move in itself. As we said, production and shipping is where the ecological alarm sounds, so wearing clothes that already exist is a guilt-free, green decision you can get behind.

    When it comes to turning your wardrobe green, the bottom line is quality over quantity. Buying from slow fashion labels will tend to have a heavier impact on your bank account, but a lighter one on the planet. The way to do it is to invest intelligently. Buy pieces you love and get serious about thrifting. Your wardrobe will turn into a fashion goldmine in no time.

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    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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