Ivanka Wu

Ivanka Wu

Girlsourced Stylist

There has been increasing awareness of how the fashion industry is one of the greatest contributors to environmental damage. While there have been calls-to-action about abolishing fast fashion altogether, we can empathise with the dilemma of our love for fashion yet to still dress ourselves up with the pieces we love. The topic ‘sustainability’ has long been a debate about whether it’s too exclusive to be applied to the masses.

All these concerns are of course valid, but are not as hard as you might imagine to achieve wardrobe that is a little more sustainable. Here we have rounded up some tips to dress stylishly and responsibly.

Streamline your closet

When your wardrobe gets too packed, it’s time to Marie Kondo it! Start by separating your closet into four different categories: clothing you love, clothing you may wear soon, clothing you’d wear if it fits better, and the ones you’d never wear again. After creating these categories, keep the first three in your closet and give away or donate the last pile. Not only will this decluttering process help those in need, it will also help you better understand your personal style by keeping only pieces you love.

Mend your clothing

Often times, we adopt the ‘fast fashion’ culture by wearing certain clothing pieces only once or twice simply because they do not fit us well. If that is often the case for you, take those items to the tailor for upcycling! It will certainly help you save more money by fixing those broken zippers, long hem lines, or even turn it into a new piece. It’s also a fun way of decluttering as we get to explore the different varieties of clothing our old pieces can turn into, rather than tossing them away.

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/monkeegenes
By repairing or reusing you are contributing to the circular economy

Take stock of what’s left in your wardrobe

We all know girls go through a lot of “I don’t have anything to wear” moments when rushing for hang outs or parties. We suggest to take inventory of what you already have, and seek advice and new inspirations to re-style your wardrobe (that’s why the Girlsourced stylists are here!). New outfits don’t have to come from new clothing, they can be created through different variations of mixing and matching.

Remind yourself to buy with intention, because less is more

Make a list of things you “need” to purchase before going shopping. It’s a simple action which makes profound changes to your shopping habits. Before purchasing an item, try to envision three different outfits you can create using the items you picked. In this way, you get to make smarter and more intentional shopping decisions. As part of the styling session on Girlsourced, you get a shopping list curated by your stylist. Or get help from the Girlsourced community on what to get if you want quick votes.

Ask a professional or the community on Girlsourced about your shopping choices

Shop locally, especially ethical and eco-friendly brands

Be informed about knowing where, how, and what the products you buy are made of. Look for brands that are transparent about their labour policies and pay fair living wages to their employees. Buying local and eco-friendly products supports the overall vision of cutting down the environmental damage in the fashion industry. Every small action matters. People Tree is an example of a sustainable fashion brand featuring minimal and chic styles for your wardrobe.

BBC Earth Cheetah Print dress
Riley Strappy Dress In Black
V & A Daisy Print Midi Dress
V & A Cosmic Print Trousers

Buy things with longevity in mind

Another important thing to note before shopping is to check the quality and materials. According to @the.ecoiste, wearing clothing at least 50 times instead of just 5 times, reduces carbon emissions by 400% per item, per year. Invest in pieces that are made of high quality materials that will stand the test of time; pieces that you love and can see yourself keeping forever. Wardrobe essentials worth investing in are white shirts, good quality jeans, little black dress, and denim jacket such as the items I’ve curated here below:

Back to basics

Shop vintage or second-hand clothes

Buying secondhand or vintage is another way to shop mindfully and still be on trend. We all know that trends come and go, and sometimes old trends re-surface and you might be lucky enough to find one or two pieces from the local thrift shop. When you are purchasing for a secondhand garment instead of a new item, significant environmental savings will also be made, as no extra production or processing has been done for you to have a new item. Some popular marketplaces offer this option now, such as the ever popular ASOS.

As Vivienne Westwood once said, “Buy less, choose well, make it last”, it is our time now to take actions towards the future of sustainable fashion. Dressing sustainably no longer means compromising, it is just another creative way to play with what you have in the wardrobe!

The author Ivanka Wu, is a Girlsourced Stylist with style expertise in Artsy, Bohemian, Casual, Chic, Girl Next Door, Rocker, Rocker Chic, Sexy, Sporty, Traditional, Vintage. Download the Girlsourced app to get more inspiration from her and other Girlsourced stylists!