By Adeline Hawley, SGH class of 2022
Looking for an elegant wardrobe, but more individualized and durable
This summer has been too short and the fall season has officially arrived with Back to School and Spicy Pumpkin Lattes available again at Starbucks. After a year of blended and distance learning, maybe you like me want a slower, calmer, more thoughtful pace and lifestyle.
Aligning this attitude with a back-to-school wardrobe is an opportunity to break a trendy âfast fashion cycleâ by slowing down, buying less, and making what you have to last longer.
The GHS Sustainable Fashion Club, a new club that I co-lead, helps raise awareness about textile waste and offers ways to live more sustainable lives. Here are some ideas for having an elegant, individualized and durable wardrobe.
Take your wardrobe from summer to fall
Not yet ready to put away your favorite summer clothes? Start by gradually incorporating some plush fabrics and rich colors such as dark orange, plums, greens and blacks into your summer cottons and light items. You might already have a few big colorful sweaters that can be paired with favorite summer pants or a cotton or silk scarf with a cotton top. Swap sandals for sneakers or Doc Martens. Wear a second-hand oversized button-down shirt over your favorite summer dress for a light, layered look.
Invest in a few basic parts
Buying a few basic staples all year round will allow your wardrobe to be more versatile in cold weather, or to change a look from casual to more formal.
Check you have a base layer of a few fitted tops in white, black, or gray, and include bottoms such as flare yoga pants and some updated vintage jeans – try flare or cargo. These must adapt well and be affordable.
If the flare isn’t working for you, don’t try to force a trend. Instead, choose a shape and style that works for you. Avoid the trap of buying a one-size-fits-all piece from the trendy store if it doesn’t really make you look and feel your best.
Choose your retailers carefully and read the labels
While many of our favorite brands are guilty of mass-producing ‘fast fashion’, we as consumers are responsible for the overconsumption of trendy clothes – here today, gone tomorrow, bad clothes. facts.
While many brands such as H&M, Gap and Zara are guilty of “green laundering” – using ethically responsible and sustainable language, but fall short of adopting sustainable standards on a large scale, many of these same brands are seriously trying to ” improve their business models shift to more sustainable fabric sourcing and ethical manufacturing. While the industry has a long way to go, there are signs that it is approaching a tipping point. Madewell pursues its goal of keeping old jeans out of the trash and in circulation by recycling more than one million pairs of jeans donated by consumers. His client gets a $ 20 rebate on a new pair of jeans while his old jeans are either sold on the resale market or shredded for home insulation. Consumers demand more transparency about their favorite brands and as a result more sourcing information is included on clothing labels. The Gap offers a line of workout clothing that uses 70% recycled polyester; and H&M has a line with recycled cotton and another line made from Bionic Yarn, a company that turns plastic recovered from coastlines, waterways and coastal communities into technical textiles. While the future is bright, what we can do now is become more aware, buy less, choose better fabrics and timeless styles.
My favorite way to create a more durable wardrobe is by reselling stores. Saving is fun, big savings, and generally supports charities such as Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Greenwich Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, and Housing Works in various locations across New York City. . More importantly, with 17 million tonnes of textile waste ending up in landfills and more than 200 years to decompose, buying second-hand clothing reduces waste going to landfill.
Before going shopping, it helps to have a list of new styles and clothes that you want to create new outfits from. There is no shortage of social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and style influencers on TikTok and YouTube. There are several popular online second-hand websites such as Depop, ThredUP, PoshMark, and Mercari that help show trends, but check return policies before making a purchase.
You might want to add to your list: a crochet cardigan, sweater vests, colorful striped jumpers, tweed blazers, nylon sport jackets, corduroy cargo ships and pants. Once you have your basic pieces, you’ll find it easy to layer them with these colorful sweaters, jackets, and even mismatched patterns. Buying thrift stores allows you to develop your own style as not everyone will have the same pieces that you have carefully selected. Buying thrift stores means you can shop in all aisles – from graphic t-shirts, striped polo shirts, and suit vests in the men’s section, to the vivid colors and patterns of the women’s racks.
Help come full circle!
Once you have determined that there are clothes in your closets that are ready to be taken out or to be “pastured” – NO ! i mean no literally throw these clothes in the trash, that is to say in the landfill, because they will take more than 200 years to decompose! Think again about repairing or extending the life of this item. Does this shirt just need a new button? Now that you’ve grown an inch taller, could those long, too-short jeans make better aged shorts? Could you camouflage that coffee stain in a colorful tie-dye sweatshirt? Then clean and sort the resalable items to drop off at various clothing donation sites as shown above.
So how do you best get rid of torn, stained or unusable or resalable clothes? The City of Greenwich, Greenwich Recycling Advisory Board (GRAB), is in its second year of partnership with Fairco-Greentree Recycling, a textile collection transport service that aims to prevent textiles from ending up in landfills. According to the Fairco-Greentree Recycling website, 70 lb. is the amount of clothing, footwear, and textiles that the average person throws away each year with 85% of all discarded textiles going to U.S. landfills when almost all of them could be reused and recycled. In addition to clothing, they will take shoes, accessories, towels, bedding of any condition – all dry and odorless, except lint, rugs and pillows. Their recognizable green bins can be found in several locations around the city, such as: Holly Hill, Cos Cob Library, Arch Street Teen Center, Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, Nathaniel Witherell Nursing Home and soon to City Hall. Periodically, these bins are located at Greenwich High School when they partner with GHS clubs in their fundraising efforts while raising awareness of textile waste. These designated green bins keep textiles from going to landfills and direct them to second-hand options and fabric scraps.
As many big brands and recycling companies strive to reduce their textile waste and complete the cycle of their products, we, the consumers, must also do our part. If we take proactive actions to slow the rate at which we consume and throw away, we can begin to be part of the solution. It is possible to have less, to spend less, and yet to be stylish and smarter on more sustainable choices.