How to Shop Sustainably | Fashion & Style

Jaimie Tucker
5 min readApr 21, 2020

There are many different aspects to sustainable fashion. One of the easiest and immediately impactful things consumers can take action on is to repurpose items already in their closet.

This post contains commissionable links at the bottom in which I may earn a small commission from. Home organization and spring cleaning is a trending topic when the seasons change. Read more about how to shop sustainably, a beginner’s guide. It’s easy to shop one’s own closet!

Eliminate Items

The start of a season is always a good time to go through closets. Take a good hard look at the item. If a garment wasn’t worn over the past season, chances are you might not wear it next year either. The rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn an item in a year, out it goes. This also goes for pieces that are outdated, no longer fit, or are damaged. Why hang onto them if they’re not worth the expense of having altered or repaired? Please do not just throw pieces out in the trash that will end up in landfills. Put them aside. I’ll share some suggestions on what to do with discarded clothing later on in this post.

Shop Your Closet

Once clutter is removed, look ahead to the next season. It’s time to shop your closet! Here is a quick tip to update your wardrobe without spending a dime. Google search the next couple seasons, for example, Spring and Summer Style 2020 trends. See if you can replicate outfits with what is already owned with that inspiration in mind. This is where it’s time to play! Perhaps you will feel good about wearing favorites again by unearthing stacks of denim shorts you forgot you had.

A New Life: Update Items

Alterations are one way to update items. Cropped, distressed jeans are going strong. Take a pair of long, straight leg jeans and update them into a more current style. Simply take a pair of scissors and cut off the bottoms. Perhaps a long skirt can be taken to a seamstress and turned into a mid skirt. A leather hole punch can add extra holes on a belt, so it can be worn high on the waist instead of just on the hips. A discolored white blouse can be dyed a more favorable color. Tie dye is a huge trend at the moment. Try doing it at home. This can be an activity to do with the kids if you have them.


Upcycling has recently become more prevalent as materials from unwanted items are used to remake items into something new. People are getting creative and repurposing items that might otherwise be thrown away and turning them into one of kind unique pieces. For example, on Instagram various influencers are sporting designer bags that have added details, braiding or fringe.

Organizing Accessories

Pull out all your jewelry and accessories. Forgotten pieces may have been shoved in the backs of drawers and become tangled. Consider starting a side project to organize jewelry pieces in a way that will provide motivation for them to be worn more often. Trays that have different compartments are one idea. If you have a lot of fashion earrings, putting pairs into small plastic zip lock baggies keeps them together and makes it easy to look through them in a larger container. I love hanging my necklaces on a standing jewelry organizer.

Shop Sustainably

What are you missing in your closet for the upcoming season?

Take a look at the predominant colors in your closet. If you decide to purchase new clothes, consider sticking with colors that work well with your favorite tones. Building a capsule collection, where a large number of pieces all work well together, streamlines the decision making process. Since this is a post on how to shop sustainably, a beginner’s guide, first ask yourself if you really need a piece before buying it. Sometimes boredom, or a need for a distraction from other things causes us to shop unnecessarily. I’ve been there!

If you decide there is a need for an item, consider purchasing preloved items from local consignment shops. There are also various online consignment shops with huge inventories. Using online search functions can assist in locating specific pieces in your size. By using items already in existence, the need to manufacture more is lessened, and landfills are not filled with discarded clothing.

Be Mindful of Sustainable Fabrics

Identify fabrics that leave less of an ecological impact. Search for items made of organic cotton, which means harmful environmental pesticides were not used in the production cycle. Biodegradable fabrics such as wool, silk and linen are more planet friendly than synthetics such as polyester and nylon, although there are recycled versions of these materials.

Take Care of Your Garments

Taking care of items means they last longer. Familiarize yourself with the best way to care for items by looking at the label and care instructions. Also beware that many synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon, even when recycled, can shed microfibers, which end up in our water supply. Washing athletic wear, such as leggings and sports bras, in a nylon mesh bag can reduce that impact while prolonging the life of the garment.

What to Do with Discarded Items

Donate items that no longer serve you to charity, or use one of the various consignment websites to receive compensation for items. Planning a clothing swap party with friends or take items to local consignment stores are additional ways to ensure clothing does not end up in landfills.

Did you find any of the tips in this post helpful?

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Originally published at on April 21, 2020.



Jaimie Tucker

Jaimie is a lifestyle blogger that shares style & wellness tips via national media outlets. Visit: