Sustainable Savvy Shopper
Daunted by the idea of making a difference with your clothing choices? We’ll help you do your bit in style.
A new fashion season is an exciting opportunity for a style refresh. But if updating your wardrobe with more sustainable pieces feels like an overwhelming – and expensive – prospect, the good news is that by shopping smarter, you won’t need to splurge to stay on-trend. It isn’t as hard as you might think to get started on an ethical wardrobe, and it’s definitely worth it in the long run. Simply keep these essential tips and techniques in mind in order to responsibly revitalise your look...
“To avoid panic-buying, consider what you really need in your wardrobe,” advises Aminat Young, Personal Stylist at John Lewis & Partners, Westfield Stratford City. Pick more versatile pieces that can easily complement what you already own and love. “Always ask yourself this question before you buy, ‘Can I wear this piece right now in at least three ways?’ For example, if you’re buying a blazer, could you wear it with jeans, thrown over a dress and with tailored trousers too? If so, it’s a good investment.”
Avoid Fad Fashion
Trans-seasonal and modular pieces you can adapt to wear year-round are the key to creating a wardrobe that works long term. “Revisit classic brands that won’t date,” recommends Young. “For instance, Levi’s have relaunched their cult-classic 501 jeans, in a cut that flatters most shapes – high waisted, straight cut and slightly cropped – allowing you to team them with trainers or heels. Pair them with a classic white cotton shirt, like the Hobbs Bobbie or Victoria shirts, which you can adapt for any occasion. For an edgier look, leave one side untucked, or go smarter by having the collar peeking out from under a sweater, or knot the shirt at the waist for high-summer chic.”
Fix Up, Look Sharp
Revisit your existing handbags, shoes and coats. Shoes can be reheeled at Timpson’s Westfield Stratford City, while a little leather polish or wax can make a faded leather bag look like new. Take jackets or coats to the dry-cleaners for a press and refresh. “Always follow the care instructions on your clothes and avoid tumble drying where you can,” says Young. “Hand-wash delicate silks and wools and allow them to dry flat. And invest in some padded hangers to ensure clothes keep their shape at the shoulders,” she recommends. “Look after your clothes and you’ll be surprised by how much wear you get out of them.”
“Fabrics such as cheap jerseys or tight-knit polyesters just aren’t made to last,” warns Young. “They might look great for the first wear but can quickly overstretch and become shapeless. So it’s worth spending a little more on quality fabrics that last longer if you’re thinking about cost per wear.” Young recommends Ted Baker, COS and AND/OR at John Lewis & Partners for mid-weight, well-cut jersey midi-dresses, jumpsuits and tops. “Clothes that are 100 percent cotton will wash well and retain their colour and shape,” she says. “They’re also more breathable than synthetics like rayon, so they’re perfect for warmer weather.”
Shop Your Stash
Chances are, you already own some favoured items you can easily update for this season. “You might have a pair of bootcut trousers languishing in your wardrobe – bootcuts are back in a big way. As is lilac, Spring/Summer 2022’s key colour as seen at Valentino and Chanel. Maybe you already own something in lilac, such as a T-shirt, scarf or belt,” suggests Young. “Try everything on and check the fit. I always advise clients to ensure garments fit well at the waist, shoulders and bust. If it fits well, it generally looks good. If the fit’s not right, you probably won’t wear it.”
If you’ve recently done a wardrobe detox then don’t feel guilty, it’s possible to do your bit for the environment too. Take unwanted clothes to H&M and you’ll not only receive a voucher towards your next purchase, your clothes will be reused or recycled. You can drop off pre-loved clothes at Mango to be recycled too. “Then when you’re next buying new, look out for sustainable or eco-conscious brands,” advises Young, “Stores such as COS, John Lewis & Partners and Whistles are all committed to using sustainably-sourced fabrics.”