The end of my read of Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline was exactly what I was hoping: a personal story of Cline's journey towards a conscious or "slow" fashion closet. She lays out how she and others have changed their purchasing, clean-out and mending practices to improve the impact they were personally making with their clothing.
1. Altering your own clothes - For so many years now we have worn clothing straight off the rack, no one notices or thinks twice about pieces that don't fit them well. In previous generations, everyone altered clothes, guaranteeing that they would be cut and shaped to fit their body type. When we take clothes to Salvation Army only 15% of those pieces get resold, the rest literally get thrown away! Cline dramatically decreased the amount of clothing she was giving away by changing the pieces the already had. She dyed shoes difference colors, shortened skirts, altered t-shirts, removed linings and moved buttons. Small changes can make a piece a completely different item, updating it and making it new!
She says that now: "Anything we wear can be altered and changed into something else, something more personalized and expressive. I take pride in wearing things that fit my frame."
2. Have shoes repaired - When we purchase shoes that are a slightly higher quality they can almost always be repaired when the soles break down or seams separate, by having shoes repaired we extend their life!
3. Make your own clothes - I have a neighbor who started making her own clothing years ago and now runs a shop where she sells other local maker's pieces and her own (check out www.stlunionstudio.com). She was an attorney, honestly, if she can do this, so can I. Even if it is simple pieces made with recycled fabrics on a borrowed machine, the best way to learn is to try!
4. Purchase Ethically - Need we say more? This is who we are and what we do. The way the mainstream garment industry functions is wrong on so many levels, and sometimes we don't have time or patience or interest in making or mending our own clothing. LET ROUTE DO THE WORK FOR YOU!! We have several great seamstresses that we LOVE to partner with to help tailor our clothing, and hopefully you don't need it when you buy from us. We carefully choose pieces that work together and if we don't have it, we are happy to hunt and find it! Buying from Route increases the ethical fashion industry, spreads the word about how important it is and improves the impact of your wardrobe!
So now we are feeling seriously challenged! Next up: Zoe, Jessica and I will be tackling The Conscious Closet Challenge! We want to actively move towards a closet filled with clothing that has little impact, lasts a long time and is fashion forward...here we go...