Woman with a hat low over her eyes

Who doesn’t want to look good? We all do if sales figures for fashion are anything to go by. According to the Great British Wardrobe Report

Brits Spend on Average £1042 on Clothes Each Year

Glossy magazines encourage us to update our wardrobe each season and supermarkets make it easy to buy clothes at the same time as doing the weekly shop. Mass production overseas, affords lower prices and it can be cheaper to buy something new than get a garment repaired.

One of the consequences of fast fashion is that consumers are buying more clothes but don’t keep them for as long as they used to. Instead of donating unwanted garments to charity, making repairs or giving them to friends and family, they are simply thrown away. A survey by Vanish estimated that the UK:

“Throws Away £12.5 Billion Worth of Clothing Every Year…45% of Brits had the best of intentions, bagging up clothes to take to the charity shop, only to throw them away in the end. 59% of which, admitted that they ultimately threw them away to save on the hassle.”

Don’t despair though, because there are several ways of supporting sustainable fashion. Here are 5 tips on how to look good for less, while reducing our impact on the environment by re-using clothes:

1. Buy clothes from charity shops.

Entering the world of thrift stores can be like visiting a series of Aladdin’s caves; you never know what treasures you might find! There are so many reasons to buy from charity shops. The most obvious reason being that each time you make a purchase, you’re supporting a good cause. On top of that you’re preventing stuff from ending up in landfill.  Clothes from charity shops cost a fraction of the price of those from high street stores and on a style front, it’s much less likely that you’ll find someone else wearing the same outfit.

There are some great blogs and Instagram accounts out there if you need some inspiration:

Thrifty tips for charity shopping

How to charity shop like a pro!

https://www.instagram.com/palomaindisguise/

https://www.instagram.com/tinytemplestyling/

2. Swish!

Put the fun into sustainable fashion and hold or attend a swishing party! Swishing is a fun and easy way to clear out your wardrobe and get a brand new one, for little to no cost what so ever! It’s a sociable way of swapping clothes for ones you’d prefer to wear. You can find a great guide to swishing here: http://www.getswishing.com/

3. Don’t over-wash your clothes.

Get out of the habit of wearing something once before chucking it straight in the laundry basket. Over-washing clothes wears them out faster. Also, avoid dry-cleaning whenever possible; the chemicals used are often hazardous to your health and the environment. When you do wash your clothes, avoid dryers. That lint in your dryer screen is made of little pieces of your clothes that get rubbed off. Hanging them on a rack or clothesline is better for them and your electric bill.

4. Mend and repair.

Over the last few generations there has been a move away from the ‘Make Do and Mend’ mentality but thankfully, it seems to be making a comeback. Repair cafes and shops are springing up. Sewing courses are becoming more popular and shows like the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee are making sewing more fashionable. The Sewing Directory is a great resource to find sewing courses, groups & shops near you. In the age of the internet, there are also endless tutorials online. YouTube videos on how to sew on a button, apply a patch or put in a zip are plentiful and also easily accessible.

5. Shop mindfully.

Well chosen, good fitting clothes can be like old friends: reliable, trustworthy and comfortable to be around. Hastily bought impulse buys can often end up cluttering your wardrobe, never to be worn again. However, it’s easy to be tempted by colourful window displays and bright red ‘SALE’ signs. Shopping to boost your mood is also dangerous; physical possessions rarely cure an emotional problem.  Furthermore, paying by credit card makes it easy to overlook the total amount of cash leaving your bank account on a day’s spending spree. Sticking to the following advice can help you cut down on unnecessary purchases:

Take cash and leave your cards at home – this will help you stick to a budget and avoid impulse buys.

Make a list – and stick to it!

Buy outfits not items – or develop a capsule wardrobe where it’s easy to mix and match.

Buy the right size – doh! Too obvious you might think! But you’d be surprised how many people buy something thinking that ‘it’ll look ok when I’ve lost a few pounds’ only to never lose the weight.

So, before you rush off to the sales or nip to the shops for the latest ‘must have’ garment, spare a thought for the impact of fast fashion on the environment and your wallet.

In conclusion, be mindful about what you buy, value it more, wear it for longer and ultimately buy fewer new clothes. And, if you have got stuff that you don’t wear or doesn’t fit why not donate it to charity with the Gone for Good App! With a few taps of your screen, the app can arrange collection of your preloved clothes, furniture, electrical items and other saleable goods from your home and take them to a charity of your choice. It’s free to download and easy to use and keeps perfectly good items from ending up in landfill.  Find out more by clicking on one of the icons below:

Image of the Gone for Good screen on the app.           App Store Icon  Google Play icon