Monday 4 January 2016

A Sustainable Resolution

For most of us, today marks the return to work and reality after the long festive break. There's the whiff in the air of new chances, new opportunities and of course, the chance to improve ourselves.

Sure, there are diets, and new gym memberships, and pledges to stay off the booze for a month. But if you want to try and make your fashion choices a little more sustainable, there are plenty of simple, easy to achieve ideas that should see you facing 2016 in style.

First of all, buy wisely. I know we're into sales season, but ask yourself... Do you really need that top with the plunging neckline in puce just because it's half price? It's tempting, I know, but don't get something just because it's a bargain. If it sits never-worn in the wardrobe, how is that money well spent?

With that in mind, though, this is a good time of year to shop with an eye to the future. If you do spot a item that you like and you know you'll wear, pick it up in a couple of different colours. It could form the core of a whole new look for you. Think, too, about what you need for the coming year and shop accordingly. It might be boring to hit the sales for workwear, but let's face it, you'll be spending forty hours a week in smart clothes. Best to get that sorted while it's a little more affordable.

Bargains aside, it's worth considering spending a little more on key items. If you buy quality items (and not just expensive designer wear with an elevated price tag–they're often as shoddily made as Primark clothes), they'll last longer and look better. As Pier Crush Vivienne Westwood always says, Buy Less, Spend More, Choose Wisely.

If you're buying with an eye to sustainability, then it's worth making sure that the clothes you wear are longer-lasting. Make 2016 the year that you stop buying garments just for one event or party. Pledge to wear items thirty times before you consider recycling or donating. Look for garments that you can wear in different ways for different occasions. Get the most out of your hard-earned cash.

You might also consider washing your clothes less often.The biggest environmental impact that clothing makes is after it is bought, due to water and detergent use. Some clothes, notably denim, are actually better off for being washed less. Experts recommend not washing jeans at all for the first six months of use, especially with high-end selvage denim from Japan. If you're concerned about smell, simply hang them on a line outside, and let sunlight work it's anti-bacterial magic. Alpaca socks are equally robust, and can easily take three days of wear without causing discomfort to those around you. Again, they're a bit more expensive, but will last you for years.

Finally, think about retasking old clothes. A simple repair or a trip to the tailor for a quick resize can often bring an item back from the uncharted backwaters of your wardrobe. Or try wearing them in different ways, teaming with other garments for a fresh new look. Learning how to use a sewing machine (or making friends with someone that can) could open up whole new options, turning an old shirt into a dress, or restoring a jacket with a little bit of flair.

Some of this may seem obvious, but it's surprising how many people overstuff their cupboards with clothes that they don't really need or even want at this time of year. Treat 2016 as a chance to think again, think smart, and make the most of the bargains in the sales as well as the treasures you have at home.

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