Sustainability is deservedly the hot word in fashion this millennium. With a shift on the increase to shop with a conscience and an absolute necessity to steer away from fast throw away fashion, here are a few tips to keep your wardrobe looking good while doing your bit for planet earth.
1. Paying attention to the care labels
It is mandatory for manufacturers to put a care label on their products and it should be something you take note of before laundering your new garment for the first time. The fibres of fabrics are a fascinating science each having different properties and qualities requiring different care. For example, cottons will tolerate high heat but will fade quicker than a polyester which has a high resistance to sunlight but will melt under a hot iron. Wool repels water but also fades in direct sunlight. Silk will fade and does not tolerate a high heat.
Taking note of the care labels provided by the manufacturer will ensure longevity of your clothes giving you more bang for your buck! If the care label says hand wash....hand wash.
2. Separate your wash
Washing all of your clothes in one big load is a massive "NO". To keep the colours looking fresh, take time to separate the whites, dark or strong colours into different piles before loading your washing machine. It may take a little longer to complete this perpetual chore, but you won't end up with that slightly greyish looking blouse or your favourite white T turning pink. Your blacks and dark colours won't be covered in light coloured lint and your classic LBD will last you season after season.
3. Avoid the clothes dryer
Our fast pace lifestyles is detrimental not only to our mind and body but it's also a hazard to the environment. While there is big pressure on corporations to 'do right', there are many small things we can do from our own home. The simple task of hanging your washing on the line while soaking up a few Vit D rays seems to be a thing of the past as we rush to get everything done. Do we ever stop to think about how much energy a clothes dryer uses, the damage to the fabric fibres evident in the lint filter? Instead of throwing all your clothes in the high energy consumption dryer, why not take five minutes to get out in the fresh air and hang them on a line. Your busy mind/body, the environment and your clothes will thank you for it.
4. Dry clean or not dry clean
Yes dry cleaning is an added expense but if you have quality pieces you'll wear time and time again, it is well worth the money to have them cleaned by a pro to keep them in perfect condition. Machine washing a tailored jacket is never a good idea as they can easily loose their shape and it's a difficult ironing process to get them back to the original look if at all.
Although some people do hand wash silk in a mild detergent, manufacturers of silk garments will always recommend to dry clean only. You paid a lot for that beautiful silk dress so it's worth taking the extra care don't you think?
5. Repair and restore
It shouldn't if you buy from quality labels, but sometimes a seam will pull away or a zip will break. If you don't own a sewing machine, most dry cleaners also provide a alterations service and they can mend the problem for a small fee. Rather than throw it out for landfill, get it fixed and wear it again and again.
Tired of wearing maxi length? Instead of discarding it, why not try taking the hem up and there you have a whole new look. You can use the cut off fabric for a headband or make a sash.
5. Mix and match
When shopping, keep in mind what you already have in your wardrobe. Think about how you can mix and match your separates. How many pants or skirts you might wear that new top you're eying off with? When buying a jacket, think about not only bottoms but what dresses you might be able to style up with a jacket. The more co-ordinates you have in your wardrobe, the more looks you'll create for lasting wear and sustainability.
Check out the versatile range this season at Why Mary with a design focus on mixing and matching tops and bottoms across the entire collection.