When we hear “sustainable” or “slow fashion,” naturally we think of garments made with bamboo, linen or organic cotton materials under fair working conditions—but slow fashion goes beyond checking the label. Along with keeping the planet in mind when choosing our garments, we should think about ourselves and how we feel about the material objects that we own.

Like with food, clothing is something we converse and exchange energy with daily. We should feel good about the materials that we put onto our bodies, just as we would consider the food we put into them.

photoAlley B wearing a sustainable line (Mien) that GLG carries

We have a tremendous opportunity right now, as we all sit at home, to dive into our closets and re-fall in love with what’s hiding inside. Let me ask you: what are you consistently wearing now that no one can see you (or when they can just see the top half of you on Zoom meetings)? I invite you to do a check-in, whether that’s physical or emotional, on how you and your body feel in pieces that exist in your wardrobe. Do you feel empowered? Comfortable? Super chic and funky in your mixed patterns? Asking these questions puts you one step closer to dressing “sustainably” for the Earth and for yourself.

No, I won’t be asking you to purge items that you love. Yes, clutter can make the brain hurt, but getting rid of your old house league shirt can make your heart hurt. Before tossing any useable materials out, let’s see how we can reintroduce these items into your life.

You can try to make a blanket out of them, frame your first concert tee or crop an old shirt and make it “2020 Trendy.” Some of my favourite “old is new” hacks are to trim old faded jeans into Bermuda shorts or take some linen fabric pieces and stitch them onto old baseball tees. You can also just find a new style that works for you and your body by refashioning pieces and opening up the bottom buttons of a shirt, knotting your tops or even adding accessories like handkerchiefs around the neck or as a belt for some colourful fun!

photoAlley B: "This dress tucked into my jeans is actually my Not Perfect Linen blue dress tucked and folded into a shirt! I found I wasn’t wearing the dress as much in the winter and wanted to make the most of it without cutting it" 

When going through your closet during quarantine, try to see which pieces are “stand-alone pieces.” Do you find you’re not wearing it because it doesn’t go with anything? Are you saving it for a special occasion? Secret: there is no perfect occasion! Garments are meant to be lived in and well-loved. Make sure they’re flexible and can take you from your garden to patio beers with friends.

What do to with your “no” pile right now? With local consignments closed, you can get crafty with your extreme no’s and make produce bags, belts, headbands, use old tees for cleaning cloths or repurpose them into handmade masks. If you’re really itching for some extra cash and the pieces are good quality or brand name, throw them up on Poshmark and see if you get a bite on the online resale market.

photoDisney ears made by (Instagram handle): @magicin_themaking. Rather than buying plastic ones, these are made from old tees and recycled fabrics.

For those pieces you deem worthy to stay, try to organize them right away. I love using technology to keep track of the outfits that I have. The “Stylebook” app is rated the best but there are plenty of free ones to try out first if you want. You can photograph the pieces and have a catalogue to scroll through to plan ahead, plus you can save outfits that you know work for your body. Having this clear documentation of your wardrobe will help you to get creative with what you have and to not overspend on new things.

After organizing, if you feel like there’s something missing in your closet, write it down and check that it will fit into your current wardrobe and also be a stand-out piece. Keep that list, wait it out and then save up for that special something.

The best thing about investing in sustainable or ethical pieces is that they will not only be better for the planet, but they will also save you money. These pieces will last much longer than cheaper ones and encourage you to make conscious purchases and be 100 per cent certain about what you invite into your closet and onto your body.

photoAlley B: "This white turtleneck has a stain on it, so I just wear it under jumpsuits or other layered pieces"

P.S. What about your laundry?

Did you know that annually more than 750 million plastic laundry jugs end up in our landfills?  Tru Earth has the solution.