*this article has been updated in 2022
The topic that touches everyone, and the one that we’ve had the hardest time adapting to: The closet!!
We figured that with back-to-school right around the corner, it was the perfect time to share what tips & tricks we’ve gathered along the years to reduce ecological footprint when shopping.
We both used to go shopping a lot when we first met, in high school. As soon as we had some time to spare, we would hang around the shops. I never had an overflowing closet or 50 pairs of shoes, but I bought so much more stuff. The worst part was that I followed the fashion trends, so it was a constant flow of purchases.
When you start living simply and develop greener habits, you inevitably begin focusing on other things and always try to change your consumer instincts. We cook more, we go outside, and we make all kinds of DIY! We also had a huge awakening on the impact of the textile and clothing industry on our planet. We highly recommend you watch the documentary: The True Cost.
The textile industry is the second worst polluter, and only 10% of the clothes that are given away are sold or worn again.
The true solution lies in reducing our clothing purchases.
Here are our tips:
1- Clean out your closet!
Take the time to look at your closet as a whole and see what you don’t wear that often. Then start organizing by how important each piece is on a daily basis, and how much do you still like the items and start sorting through everything. I swear you’ll realize you often wear the same pieces!
Make your piles (give, sell, hold, keep) and then take it easy, one step at a time. No need to get rid of everything at once!
2- Neutrals & Quality are a must
Before you go buying more stuff because you’ve cleaned out so much, take the time to evaluate what you REALLY need! Not necessarily what’s trendy right now. I usually try not to purchase any flashy colours or patterns because we all know that trends fade.
Pick your fabric. Make sure you choose the ones that last: natural fibres like cotton and linen etc. Buy the jeans that are comfy and that are known for their quality. You want to make your items last! No need for 3-4 pairs with a different washout colour ;)
As often as possible, I try to get whatever new item I need in a second-hand store. But if I can’t find it, I’ll try to buy locally even if it’s a bit more pricey. Because if it’s a classic piece, I know I’ll keep for a long time, therefore, my money is well spent.
Here are a few of our favourites (Canadian and Quebec brands):
-Odelayo I adore the Kimono I bought from them !!
- Rose Buddha (yoga)
- Maguire (shoes)
We know that sometimes buying locally is not for everybody! So here are a few other options:
3- Buy second-hand
Facebook brought us a huge community of people who just want to sell their clothes! It can really cut down on your time walking around the second-hand store : you can always take a look at Market Place.
Thrift shops are a great place to go rummage around as well, the one I go to is Renaissance.
What’s also super fun is to make a girl’s night out of switching stuff! We often found that something you’re sick of seeing will make your best friends incredibly happy haha!
But always keep in mind that just because it’s cheap, it doesn’t mean you have to buy more! Don’t buy two pieces because you’re not sure what you want. Take the time to pause and think about if you’ll genuinely wear it. It happened to me a few times, and now I really consider each piece I buy.
Here are a few of our favourites :
- Kapara vintage (Montreal)
-Annexe Vintage (Montreal)
-Grenier des aubaines (Boucherville)
-La fripe shop (Saint-Hubert)
Also, there is now a multitude of mobile applications where it is possible to buy or donate clothes that deserve a second life! You can take a look at Vinted, Poshmark, Depop, Martket Place (via Facebook), Bon magasinage (a Quebec platform where it is possible to sell and buy clothes), 2e fripe, Vestiaire Collective, (for more luxury items).
If you have a special event (like a wedding) and you know for a fact that you won't be wearing the clothes you bought for the occasion in your everyday life, you can always rent! For example, you can take a look at Chic Marie or Livia Maternité.
Other suggestions for conscious clothing brands:
So I think that’s all I’ve got! We know how hard it is when summer rolls around, we all want new items because it’s super trendy and because we seem them on social media. I actually broke down and bought one summer dress from Zara, that I know I’ll be wearing more than a few times. One piece for the whole summer is really not so bad, right? ;) Just try to not buy anything impulsively, sometimes just waiting overnight helps us figure out if it’s something we truly need or not.
Ultimately, this article is to make us all realize the impact our clothing choices have. Think about it twice, and what we don’t want is for your piece of clothes to end up in a thrift shop, hanging there forever remaining unsold. New mantra: Choose better, quality made items and take the time to choose.