The ever iconic Vivienne Westwood said it best when she proudly declared, “Buy less, choose well, make it last.”
We like to think Vivienne was referring to the benefits of eco-friendly clothing and the effects it has on your wallet and environment. The fashion industry is notorious for consuming tons of environmental resources to create clothing, but it should be our job as consumers to be more mindful of what we choose to bring into our closets.
When the average American throws away about 80 pounds of clothing each year, adding to already full landfills, extending our wear and longevity in outfits is vital. Even keeping your clothes in circulation for just nine months more will reduce their carbon and water footprint by up to 30%¹... THIRTY percent!
Vivenne’s mantra is something we truly take to heart at Unseam the Label. Our main objective here is to provide you thoughtful and sustainable pieces that will always be a fashion staple in your closet, as well as pro tips to streamlining your wardrobe, lifestyle, and wallet.
We’ve already given you inspo on eco-friendly tips for hand washing your clothes and eco-friendly alternatives to conventional dry cleaning, but we wanted to dive into this quote and really apply it to making the clothes in your closet last.
“Buy less and choose well”
Buying less is very much a shift in mindset. It’s less about viewing shopping as a pastime and more about buying fewer, better made items.
And as we all know: not all clothes are created equal. That $4 shirt from a big box store you’ll only wear once won’t last nearly as long as a higher quality blouse made from a durable, sustainable fabric. Choosing the well-made options can help tremendously in making your clothes last and wear longer.
Next time you’re browsing the racks, take a peek at the label and see what you’re truly investing in. For example, one of our favorite fabrics, TENCEL™ Lyocell, is actually more eco-friendly and wrinkle-resistant than other fast fashion fabrics like polyester.
“Make it last”
There are three fundamental factors to make your clothes last: care, mend and store.
- Actually follow a garment’s care label instructions.
- Wash your clothes less. First start with removing stains and spot spraying, and then only wash when you need to.
- When you do have to run the washing machine, wash clothes in a more eco-friendly manner. A few examples:
- Machine wash cold prevents clothes from shrinking and saves energy.
- Consider using a mesh bag for delicates to avoid ripping and a microfiber bag to prevent micro-plastics from washing into our waterways.
- Hang dry over tumble dry to prevent shrinkage and colors from fading.
- Wash darker clothing pieces inside-out to prevent fading.
- If you need to dry clean specialty garments, check out our post about eco-friendly alternatives to conventional dry cleaning.
- Sometimes the best fashion accessory is having a good seamstress in your back pocket (figuratively speaking).
- Or, if you’re savvy with a needle and thread, mend or hem your own clothes instead of tossing!
- Storing clothes properly is half the battle to long lasting pieces.
- Rule of thumb: store certain clothing to optimize wearability. Heavier fabrics should be folded on a shelf or in a drawer.
- Buy better hangers. Most plastic and wire hangers will stretch out the shoulders of your garments and leave you with sad, droopy tops (uh… no thanks). Although they’re a touch more expensive, eco-friendly wooden hangers will last longer and handle your clothing better.²
For our eco-conscious friends, these are the easy first steps to making your clothes last longer. Not only will it save you money, it'll cut your consumption of vital resources and help to reduce your carbon footprint. There are so many things we can do to keep our favorite pieces looking clean and new year round!
What’s your ultimate clothing longevity hack? DM us on the ‘gram at @unseamthelabel and drop your own pro tip.