It’s cold outside, and winter capsule articles and YouTube videos are in full swing! If you are a minimalist, or are looking into minimalism, then you have probably heard of a capsule wardrobe. You’ve probably even tried one for yourself.
Minimizing the amount of clothing you purchase is wonderful, but we don’t have to stop there. For the mindful consumer, there exist many other things we need to consider about the clothing that we do purchase.
What is the water footprint? What is the fabric made from? Was it dyed with toxic dye that damaged the water supply of those in need? Who made the garment? Were they treated well? Can I compost the garment at the end of its life cycle, or can the fibers be respun and turned into something new?
Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe on Unsplash
Unfortunately, as much as we want to, we can’t give a happy answer all of those questions regarding the clothing we own and purchase.
After about two and a half years of minimalism, I’ve learned quite a lot about it. It is not just about buying less now, but instead buying better to prevent buying later 🙂
Here are some things to keep in mind when beginning or refilling your minimalist wardrobe this winter:
- When you buy, buy it to last through this winter and the next. The goal of the capsule wardrobe is to limit overall consumption of clothing per year, but the goal of the ecologically-minded minimalist should also be to prevent more clothing consumption over longer periods of time. Think about your purchase with next winter or winters in mind.
- Upgrade your sweater materials EVERY TIME that you have to replace a worn out garment. I’ve noticed that synthetic blend sweaters tend to acquire holes in them much sooner than a cotton sweater. The average 60%cotton/40% polyester sweater isn’t going to last two winters. Whether you are buying secondhand or new, prevent micro-plastics from ending up in our oceans by not purchasing synthetic blends. Yes, it was already produced and created pollution in that process, but it is better for that item to go to the landfill than to further poison our oceans through each cycle in the laundry machine.
- Coats: Acrylic substitutes for wool, and polyester Patagonia jackets aren’t going to last or biodegrade. Try to purchase a coat of only biodegradable materials. And, ideally something that can be repaired and patched easily.
- Don’t purchase vegan leather gloves if they are synthetic. Polyvinyl chloride is not sustainable in the least, and it won’t last. It is also a terrible endocrine disruptor. Leather gloves may not be vegan, but they can be patched and last a lifetime. Purchasing a secondhand pair of leather gloves is the most sustainable choice long term.
- Pick a durable winter boot. Fast fashion shoe stores (Payless, Famous Footwear DSW, etc) are not an option for the conscious consumer. Research quality shoe brands : Frye, Dr.Martens, Eastland, to name a few. Used pairs of winter boots from these brands can be found on Ebay or Poshmark.
- Give knitting or crochet a try for socks and scarves. Here is an easy crochet pattern. My homemade socks are my favorite socks that I’ve ever owned. It isn’t very hard to learn, and there are many YouTube tutorials 🙂 If you make them yourself, you can make them out of a biodegradable fiber and possibly even acquire your yarn secondhand through Ebay or a thrift shop.
Ethical & Ecologically-Conscious Clothing Brands :
Made with organic, biodegradable materials, this brand is about as sustainable as you can get. Most of their garments are made from linen or hemp, which both have small water footprints. The clothing is all made in the U.S.
Mostly manufactured in San Francisco or Los Angeles, with the intent of not supporting the use of child labor in the developing countries that most clothes are manufactured in.
Their staple is t-shirts made from a blend of cotton and Modal. They still use polyester in some of their clothing, but are still a good company. They are working on starting a “Re-Spun” program and manufacturing new t-shirts from old ones. They are offering a $5 credit when you send in any old t-shirt so they can re-spin it into a new one!
They are still trying to collect enough tees to get started but I have no doubt they will succeed.
My personal choice for eco-friendly lingerie. Most of the undergarments she makes are made from a blend of organic cotton and hemp. Hemp is pretty much my favorite natural fiber and I can’t find any hemp lingerie as pretty as the things she makes.
Many of the fabrics that she uses are dyed naturally ❤
Other fantastic clothing stores to support:
- Local church-run thrift stores. Many times the profits go to fund care for the homeless, meals for the impoverished, or another good cause- talk to them about their mission.
- Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store. 75% of the money that they make goes to helping a disabled veteran.
- Etsy stores. These small businesses offer more unique options in clothing than anywhere else.
Make every dollar a vote for the kind of world you want 🙂