How to love your clothes for a long time
At Resonance, we help our customers shop their values. And increasingly, our customers value clothes that can help them reduce their carbon footprint.
We’ve found several ways to help Resonators embrace their environmental consciousness. One of our strategies has been to search out brands that offer stylish clothes manufactured in eco-conscious ways. More than half the clothes in our store this season fall into that category. We’re so proud of that!
At the same time, we all know there’s more to reducing your fashion carbon footprint than simply buying organic cotton T-shirts instead of regular cotton.
What is sustainable fashion?
You might be asking yourself: What even is sustainable fashion anyway? There's a lot of lingo to learn, and so many eco-options are available now. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a new type of fabric is actual innovation or just a bunch of greenwashing.
There's no industry-wide, agreed-upon definition for sustainable fashion. But the term is generally used in the industry to refer to clothes that are designed, manufactured and transported to the consumer in ways that less harmful to the environment than, say, fast fashion.
Problem is, that definition only tells only half the story.
Truly sustainable fashion takes into account what happens after the item is purchased, including its care and laundering, its expected lifespan, and how it might be reused, recycled or discarded.
For example, an iconic striped shirt made by the 130-year-old French brand Saint James won't have a green "sustainable fashion" tag hanging from it when you try it on. But the company's designs were originally intended as durable clothes for sailors, and the company has stayed true to its slow fashion roots. So when you wear your Breton sweater 42 times before passing it on to your daughter, you are definitely practicing sustainable fashion habits.
Consumers can make a difference. And wearing your clothes more times is one of the most environmentally impactful choices you can make. We like to empower Resonators in that choice by guiding them toward long-lasting clothing they will absolutely love to put on. Again. And again.
Lasting fashion is the bigger goal
Lasting fashion brands like Saint James, Pyrrha, Nile, Indi & Cold, and Part Two might be a bit of a stretch budget-wise for some, especially those in recovery from pandemic setbacks. But we encourage Resonators to look beyond the price tag to consider the price-per-wear of the items they fall in love with.
Your goal should be to buy the highest quality you can afford. If that means buying fewer items every year, so be it. Better quality clothes spark more joy, and for longer.
While it’s hard to find information about how many times people tend to wear their clothes before replacing them, one study from the UK found that people wore items only 14 times. We aim to help our customers find clothes they’ll wear 30 times or more.
#30wears makes a difference
The #30wears movement was started by Livia Firth, a vocal pioneer of sustainable fashion. As a brand consultant and the former wife of Colin Firth, she uses her moments in the spotlight to talk about the carbon footprint of clothing.
Earlier this year, Firth told Harper’s Bazaar:
"The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, 'Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?' If the answer is yes, then buy it. But you'd be surprised how many times you say no."
We love the #30wears movement because it’s a practical way to understand a concept we call “lasting fashion,” which considers not just the manufacturing methods used, but also the use and care of a piece of clothing as a measure of its value.
Though a lasting fashion wardrobe may include items made in explicitly sustainable ways, it may not be exclusively so. The main measure of success in a wardrobe like this is that each piece is worn and loved at least 30 times.
This way of building a wardrobe makes life easier. It's simple to get dressed. And you don't have to shop as frequently. We know that’s what Resonators need this season, so we’ve put together a few tips for getting #30wears out of every item:
Ask yourself: Will I wear it at least 30 times? It's not always easy to know the answer to this question. One way to figure it out is to examine your existing wardrobe. Which items have been worn 30 times, and why? Which ones have you barely worn?
Examine fabrics, hardware, stitching and care labels. The details reveal how much care and skill went into the construction of your clothing. Slowing down to pay attention to the specific details will help you put your feelings aside for a minute so you can use reason, not emotions, to decide what to buy.
- Wash your clothes less often, on shorter cycles. It's wise to dry clean your clothes when the care label says so. But when you have a choice, machine or hand wash your clothes in cold water and hang or lay flat to dry.
- Store your clothes thoughtfully. Fold or hang your clothes with care. Stretched, scrunched or otherwise mistreated clothes may never regain their original beauty. You may need to pare down your wardrobe or put some rarely used items in deep storage to make space in your closet.
- Repair and alter your clothes seasonally. Unless you can do it yourself, forming a relationship with a tailor or seamstress is the most strategic way to cope with changes in your body shape and size.
- Shop your closet annually, with help from a friend. Find new ways of wearing clothes you already own by enlisting the help of a friend. She might see new ways to combine items you wouldn't have thought to put together.
- Avoid trends that will come and go quickly. Instead, shop for clothes that resonate with your beauty, personality, and values. When you buy clothes that truly work for your life, you will wear them over and over and over again.
- Invest in unique pieces that will never bore you. Some people associate lasting fashion with minimalist basics like a white T-shirt or a black blazer. Those are excellent staples, but lasting fashion doesn't have to be predictable. If a pair of pink plaid pants really makes you want to dance a jig, chances are they'll still be sparking joy #30wears from now. Express yourself!