How we shop and care for our clothing are easy ways to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our planet’s soil, fresh waters, and oceans. Check out some simple tips to fill an environmentally-friendly closet with a wardrobe that looks great and lasts a long time ••• 

  • Shop secondhand first. Buy pre-owned clothing from thrift shops, consignment shops, vintage sources, and online resale shops.  

Earth-friendly benefit: You’ll be reducing impacts on the environment and waste from the overproduction of new merchandise.

  • Buy fewer clothes. Value what you buy.  Buy clothes you know you will wear many times because they look good and fit well.  With carefully chosen clothes, you can mix and match items to create many different looks. Fewer, better-made clothes with the right accessories can give you a more sophisticated and stylish look than volumes of cheaper clothing.  

Bonus: You’ll look better and find creativity in styling on your own

  • Invest only in clothes you really like and need. Consider not what is being pushed at you by fashion designers but instead look at your own style and what you want to communicate.  Before you buy a new piece of clothing, consider if you have a similar piece in your wardrobe already.
  • Shop locally. Buy from local shops for clothes, buy from local craftspeople to accessorize your outfits and use your neighborhood tailor for adjustments. 

Earth-friendly benefit: Buying clothes locally reduces carbon emissions from shipping while supporting your local economy.

  • Go natural. Buy clothing made with natural fabric fibers instead of synthetic fabrics. Natural alternatives to synthetic fabrics include cotton, linen, bamboo, flax, jute, silk, wool, and alpaca. Also look into low impact materials such as Modal and Lyocell.  Avoid polyester, nylon, spandex and acrylic. These materials are made from petroleum, a high-emission fossil fuel.  

Earth-friendly benefit:  You’ll reduce the amount of microplastics in rivers and oceans that come from synthetic fibers that shed during washing.

  • Shop sustainable brands. Choose ethical brands that care about the environment, pay their workers fairly, and are transparent across their entire supply chain – not just one part.  Many companies promote certain clothing lines as having been made with renewable materials, but still use unethical labor practices to make the clothing. Make sure to do your research on a brand before you buy from them. 

Earth-friendly benefit: You’ll be taking business away from companies that pollute our planet in favor of ones that care about people and the Earth.



September 28, 2023 — Janaya Wilkins