You know that person in your life who is just so easy to talk to? They ask you one question and suddenly you realize that you have been on a ten minute tangent. For me, that person is my mother-in-law, Gina. Not that it takes an overly eager listener for me to go off on a tangent about something I am passionate about, but there is something about my mother-in-law that always compels me to keep sharing.
So there we were, last weekend, in my husband’s and my brand new bedroom. We were painting the walls and Gina very innocently asked me about what was next for my clothing label and podcast…and we were off to the races.
I create all of my content on my blog and podcast as a resource to facilitate wellness in women’s lives. And I whole heartedly believe that adjusting our mindsets about our clothing, to start seeing those pieces as tools that are meant to help us live out our days comfortably and confidently, truly makes such a positive impact on a personal level. And that really lights me up.
But what really sets my soul on fire, I continued to share with Gina, is what this new mindset can do to unleash so much potential for socially and environmentally conscious brands to thrive. I believe in the power of product based businesses to change the world. This applies to the fashion industry too. Because let’s be honest, unless you live in a nudest colony, we all must clothe ourselves. And that’s why I wanted to be a clothing designer in the first place, for how personal and integral a role it plays in each of our lives. And if you stop to think about it, you could probably be doing a better job at dressing yourself each morning. Most of us probably wake up, fumble around in our jam-packed closets, after three outfit changes we finally settle on something that is just okay and continue to make choices during our day that make us feel just okay.
But friends, here is where the magic can happen.
If we can make the mindset switch towards quality over quantity in our closets, and start dressing for how we actually live our lives instead of how society tells us to, then we can save time, money, and the planet. Let me break this down:
Time : I don’t know that this one needs much explanation. When you look into a closet that you have already put time into intentionally curating, every piece is going to be a good fit for your day. It fits you well, it can be worn for many different things in many different ways, and it looks great. Instead of spending your mornings in your closet and in front of the mirror, you can now spend them enjoying breakfast with your husband or reading this blog post while sipping warm coffee. You can take some time to breathe and to love your life.
Money : Money is a big concern that comes to mind when people hear things like, investing in your clothing. And for good reason. I know that spending sixty or more dollars on a top when you are used to spending twenty or less is a big change. But it might help you to put this into perspective if you calculate the cost per wear. Let’s give it a try shall we?
If you buy a $20 top and wear it 5 times (which according to recent studies is more than you probably will), you will have spent $4 every time you wear that top. If you buy a $60 top and wear it 30 times, (I came up with this number from the sustainable fashion initiative called #30wears), you will have spent $2 dollars every time you wear that top. Voila, you just saved yourself some money.
What’s even better is that when you actually love the clothing you own, you aren’t compelled to buy new all of the time, and this is the biggest money saver of all.
The Planet : We have been trained by the fashion industry to always want the newest releases every season. But did you know that when there used to be only 4 releases by brands each year, today there are over 50? And with constantly buying new, we generally only wear our clothing a handful of times before getting rid of it. And did you also know that only about 20 perfect of our used clothing (including our donated clothes) are sold second hand? Most of it is being sent off to developing areas for those countries to deal with. One more statistic being thrown at you here: “the U.S. sends away a full billion pounds of used clothing per year, making it our eighth largest export” according to Fashionista. And I am not even getting into the heart of the issues with our fashion industry here. The documentary The True Cost is on Netflix and is a great resource for you if you would like to know more. I don’t talk a lot about the giant issues within the fashion industry that much, mostly because there are a lot of people already doing it better than I could and because it makes me sad. But it is really important for you guys to know that I am not just whistling dixie when I say things like: You can help save the planet by changing your clothing habits.
I more or less explained all of this to Gina as we painted those bedroom walls, and she had most definitely already gotten a whole earful more than she was asking for. And then, less eloquently than the words that follow, I asked Gina:
What if you woke up every morning, and pulled over your head a linen shirt that you loved and fit you perfectly. And you knew that shirt was made with natural fibers with little waste by women who were paid well so that they could support their families. And that made you feel so good that those purchasing choices started to trickle into other aspects of your life and you started to purchase other household items like dish soap that was made by a company like Method that used it’s business as a force for good. Every time you used that dish soap you thought of how Method built their South Chicago factory in an economically struggling area of Chicago. And they were able to provide good jobs in a factory that was one-third powered by their own renewable energy sources. You would think about the greenhouse they built on the roof of that factory to provide fresh vegetables and herbs to the local community who were in a food desert and how you helped this all be possible by spending two dollars more on hand soap. You would feel proud, confident, and like you were part of something a whole lot bigger.
And what if all of the items in your life made you feel this way? And had this impact?
I am not saying this will happen tomorrow, but doesn’t that sound like a world that you want to live in?
Want to take the first step? Download my free guide on how to make a capsule wardrobe actually work for you to get started.