A guide for minimal and sustainable wardrobe shopping
The most sustainable clothes you can buy are ones that you’ll wear at least 100 times. Their eco-consciousness is second only to hand-me-downs, vintage, or thrift. Even “sustainable” brands become resource drains if you buy a different sweatshirt for every day of the month.
We collectively have a shopping problem. According to internal research at Rent the Runway, the average American buys 68 pieces of clothing a year, and 80% of that is seldom worn.
Even donating those clothes isn’t a fix. I’ve seen many thrift stores that are jam-packed with rows and rows of clothing like giant warehouses. The fact that 85% of all textiles are not recycled in the U.S. does not surprise me.
Personally, I used to buy piles of cheap clothes on a whim — some laid back and ’70s inspired, some gaudy and camp — and nothing stayed with me for over a year. It was all just an experiment. Eventually, I moved this creative expression to a digital space, and shifted my mindset about buying clothes.
I’m no longer a casual shopper. When I go to a store, I don’t get distracted by a dress that says “bohemian care-free” or a pair of heels that remind me of summer. I’m the bane of marketers everywhere because I already have a plan.
And below is an outline of that plan for making slow and intentional clothing purchases.