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Five Ways to Make Your Closet More Sustainable

Five Ways to Make Your Closet More Sustainable

We all have a responsibility to our planet and to our fellow humans to think about the impact of the choices we make, including our clothing choices.

According to researchers at Boston University School of Public Health, people in the U.S. throw out more than 34 billion pounds of used textiles each year. Of these, two-thirds end up in landfills where they can take years to decompose. Ultimately, only about 15 percent of clothing waste is recycled in some way.

While building a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry will take time and big change from governments and companies, there are things we can all do to reduce our clothing waste.

1. Reinvent Your Wardrobe

A great way to spend less on clothing is to find new ways to style what you already own! Experiment by adding accessories like belts or scarves to pieces that feel tired. Step outside the box and create bold new looks combining different patterns and colors. If you have a dress that feels boring, try pairing it with colorful statement leggings or a button down shirt. Turn an old pair of jeans into cutoffs or make an old t-shirt into a crop top.

2. Learn Basic Mending Skills

You can get more mileage out of each piece you buy when you know a little bit about making basic repairs. I’ve been known to be afraid of my sewing machine, so it’s ok to start small. Knowing how to sew with a needle and thread to reattach a button or repair a small tear or split seam is a great skill that will save you money and keep clothes out of landfills. You can even get creative with repairs. A stained white t-shirt can be tie-dyed, or you can use fun fabrics to patch the holes in worn out jeans.

3. Swap with Friends

Clothing swaps are one of the most sustainable and money-saving ways to refresh your collection. There are some great organizations like Philly Plus Swap and Fat Babe NEPA who host plus-size clothing swaps here in Pennsylvania, so make sure you follow them for announcements. But you don’t have to wait for a big swap event: just gather a few friends of similar size. Have everyone bring a bag of clothing, and swap away! 

4. Shop Slow and Sustainable Brands

The fashion industry is full of low-cost fast fashion, from big box stores like Wal Mart and Old Navy to online fast fashion sellers like Shein and ASOS. For plus-size folks, avoiding fast fashion can be especially hard and we don’t always have a choice - after all, we all need clothes - but if you’re able, consider investing in higher quality pieces from sustainable or “slow fashion” brands. These items are made to last much longer than cheaper fast fashion pieces, which are designed to last one season and then be discarded. You could save money in the long run, keep more clothes out of landfills, and support companies with more ethical labor practices.

5. Shop Second Hand

Buying second hand or vintage clothing is a great way to give pieces a second life while also saving you money. At BawdyPlus, we buy most of our stock directly from our customers. This is extra sustainable, since most of our pieces are sourced locally from around the Lehigh Valley, Poconos, and Northeastern Pennsylvania. In other cases, we acquire clothing from closeouts, liquidations, or large lots that might also end up in landfills. Shop our collection online today - we ship nationwide!