Creating An Ethical & Responsible Wardrobe | Part 2
An Ethical Wardrobe?
Ethical and wardrobe aren’t two words we often hear together. If you missed my first post last week about creating an ethical wardrobe, you can read it here. Also, if you haven’t taken time to watch The True Cost on Netflix, I highly recommend it. It gives you more information than I can provide on our clothing industry. Sadly, America, and probably most of the world has fallen into what they are terming “fast fashion.” Most large clothing stores change items out every week. What was on the racks last week is “out” and new “must have” items are on the shelves. It makes it hard to keep up, and it leaves us feeling like we must keep buying in order to stay in style. Personally, I am done with that. I’ve never really been on board that train to begin with, but I definitely am not jumping on it now. Not only do I want to buy quality clothes that last, I want to make sure that the people making them are treated well. I’d rather spend more money on less clothing and know that it was well sourced, created from toxic free textiles and dyes, and that the people sewing my clothes are given fair wages and good working conditions.
I’ve always said that if you could see the beginning of your hamburger, you probably wouldn’t eat it. Most restaurants serve hamburgers from cows that haven’t been raised well. We eat them, because we can’t see the whole story. The same goes for clothes. If we could see the whole story of our wardrobe, we’d probably stop buying from many of the stores we frequently visit.
Ethical clothing means just that… it’s ethical. It means that you are paying a fair price for what it cost to make that shirt in a way that didn’t harm the environment or the person making it. Does that mean that the clothes cost more? Sometimes. But most of the time, I’ve found that the clothes are of much higher quality. So yes, I have paid more money for less clothes. But I have clothes that will last. I’ve also chosen clothes that won’t go out of style quickly which leads to my choice of a capsule wardrobe.
By no means do you have to do a capsule wardrobe in order to have an ethical wardrobe. If you’d like, you can still have a lot of everything in your closet. It is going to cost more. I’m not great at fashion, and I don’t want to spend a ton of money on it. I also love simple. A capsule wardrobe is perfect for me. Basically, it’s having a collection of essential items that don’t go out of fashion. For me, it’s also a wardrobe that all works together. Almost all the shirts go with all the pants, and almost all the jackets and shoes go with all the outfits. This makes choosing my outfit easy, because I know that basically everything goes with everything. I can mix and match for variety, but I don’t have to stress about if it works or not.
Weddings use to stress me out. I don’t like dressing up, and therefore, I never really have nice clothes in my closet. My friend Lana helped me put together a capsule wardrobe a few weeks ago. This past weekend I had a wedding to go to. I put together my outfit in one minute. One minute! That has never happened. And best of all, I knew it looked good. Lana had helped me purchase and select items for my closet that all worked well together. And my fashion-challenged self, didn’t have to worry. Lana had said everything worked together so I felt confident going to the wedding. I might have texted her a picture just before I walked out the door to double check my outfit, but she wrote back that it looked great. I was so happy! Now, I definitely wasn’t the best dressed person at the wedding. But that’s hardly my goal. Like I stated last week, I’m not in this for being known for style. But I also don’t want to stick out for being out of style. I just want a classy casual look that blends in with the crowd.
Capsule wardrobes aren’t for everyone. If you love creativity and color, you might have to have a few more items in your closet than I do. But if you love simple, easy decision making, and neutral colors, google capsule wardrobe and see what you think about the idea.
How to Shop for Ethical Clothing
Luckily, ethical clothing is starting to catch on. I will say that it’s not super easy to have an entirely ethical and responsible wardrobe, but it is do-able. My ultimate goals would be to have clothing items that are made from natural textiles such as leather, wool, cotton, hemp, rubber, etc. and organically grown. I don’t want anything make from chemicals such as polyester, rayon, or acrylic. I’d love the dyes to be toxic free, and the factory making the dyes to be eco-friendly. I’d want the clothing or shoes to be sewn and made in a factory that is fair trade and where the workers are treated well and in safe working conditions.
There are VERY few companies that hit all my goals. So right now, my first goal is that the clothing comes from a company that makes the clothes in an ethical factory where workers are treated and paid well. Next, if possible, I buy clothing from that company that is made from one of the natural textiles I mentioned above. Lastly, if I can, I choose a more neutral color so that it’s less likely to have chemical dyes. A wool sweater that is grey, brown, or beige is unlikely to be dyed since wool comes in those colors anyways. And it makes my capsule wardrobe easier, because neutrals always go well together.
I’ve had to make a few purchases that weren’t ideal, because I couldn’t find a company that made what I wanted in the way I wanted it. Shoes have been especially challenging. I was joking with a friend the other day. Finding ethically made shoes that are interesting, to say the least, is no problem. But finding stylish ethically made shoes is a bit more challenging!
My next post will be about some of my favorite companies I’ve found. So if you are wondering where to shop, just check back in for my next post.
I decided to tell you what I’ve decided to keep in my closet. It might look like a lot on paper, but in reality, it’s not too much. My closet space is quite small. And this is my fall/winter wardrobe. There’s no summer stuff in it yet.
1 | Pants: 1 farm/work pair, 2 nice pairs (1 black, 1 denim)
2 | Short Sleeve Shirts: 4 t-shirts, 3 nicer shirts
3 | Long Sleeve Shirts: 2 casual, 1 nicer
4 | Dresses: 2 (1 short, 1 long)
4 | Sweatshirts: 3 work/barn
5 | Sweater: 1 nice wool one
6 | Cardigans: 2
7 | Leggings: 4 (I need to reduce these but am waiting to see which ones I wear the most before I get rid of any)
8 | Rainjacket: 1
9 | Heavy Winter Coat: 1
10 | Light Winter Coat: 1
11 | Shoe Pairs: 1 sneaker, 2 barn boots, 1 rain boot, 1 tall leather boot, 1 bootie
It’s pretty minimal. I’m waiting to see what I wear the most of and maybe grab a couple more of that… whether it’s a specific type of shirt or something. Right now, I don’t have quite enough to get through a week, and I don’t want to do laundry more than once a week. It feels so great though! I love opening my closet. It’s organized, concise, and simple. Not to mention, it’s also mostly ethical clothing which makes me feel so good! Check in later in the week for my next post that has my favorite companies to buy from.