My clothing philosophy

priscilla-du-preez-638156-unsplashThat fast fashion is not the best option for the environment or the workers has been made quite clear for a while now. However, people keep shopping like there is no tomorrow. 80 billion garments are consumed every year, each item is then worn on average 7 times before discarded. Adding to that the fact that it takes about 7000 liters of water for making one single pair of jeans, one can understand that this is an enormously resource requiring industry. So what can you do about it?

My guidelines for clothing

The perfect option would be to never buy anything and when you do to only buy ethical/sustainable and second hand. But honestly, that is not easy, so I have given me some general guidelines for how to keep a long-lasting closet, that might not always be organic or recycled, but puts focus on buying things that will be used, and for a long time. So what do I focus on when shopping?

Good materials

When it comes to the fabrics the clothing are made of, I like to stick to natural materials. These are made of renewable sources, in comparison to non-renewable man made materials such as polyester and acrylic. They are breathable and help you regulate body temperature better and, in general, I think they are more comfortable. If possible I try to choose an organic or certified option, this is especially important for cotton as it is one of the most chemical heavy productions that also require crazy amounts of water.

My favorite materials:

  • Wool – Keeps you warm. Doesn’t need much cleaning. Long lasting and durable.
  • Silk – Soft as no else. Beautiful. Light and breathable.
  • Linnen – Eco-friendly. Looks good even wrinkly. Light and breathable.
  • Lyocell – Soft. Drapes nicely. Eco-friendly.
  • Organic cotton – Soft. Durable. Easily maintained.

High quality

High quality is not only about buying good materials. It is equally about the garment being well constructed. This means that the seems, hems, buttons, the fit and other parts of the actual construction should be well done. High quality items will last longer since they will not unravel in the seems or just break in general. Since I want to build a closet that will last a long time this is essential.

Timeless designs

Sticking to a timeless design and avoiding major trends gives a more long lasting closet. Style never goes out of fashion and good cuts are always stylish. I am not saying that you can never buy anything “trendy”, but having a closet full of trendy means you will be stuck in a hamster wheel of always needing more because you feel off. Finding a style that suits you will work in the long run. However, just because a Chanel suit is timeless doesn’t mean you should buy it, you should still be true to you.

So all in all I try to choose quality over quantity, to rather spend on fewer and more expensive pieces that are on style and will last. What rules do you follow when shopping?

The 10×10 challenge: summary

T-shirts on a rack

As I wrote about 2 weeks ago and as you might have seen on my Instagram I have done the 10×10 challenge. For ten days I have worn a mix of ten garments and shoes with the hopes of saving some time and getting more creative with using what I already own. So now that my ten days have ended and I have had some reflection time I just wanted to share it. Maybe someone is thinking of doing the same, or just interested in a capsule closet. Well, here is a summary of my experience and thoughts.

How did I do?

So in the ten days I did manage to create ten different outfits. A lot of them were quite similar and simple, but that might also be because of the nature of the garments. I had to do laundry in the middle of the ten days because I was clumsy enough to get all my white items dirty. Then after a few days I also noticed a hole in one of the items, not ideal. However, I think I easily could have done a few more days, but not with much enthusiasm. Overall I would say that I did well on the challenge since I did make it through those ten days, even if the outfits were new the new thinking or special.

Outfits
Three of the created outfits during the challenge

What did I think of it?

It did not really save time for me, which I had hoped. It was actually quite time consuming because I had to do a lot of laundry during the week (to keep up with only ten garments), which I normally don’t have to do that often. Doing laundry in my current housing situation takes a lot of time and effort, since we’re ten people sharing two machines, for which one cycle takes around three hours. Combining that with most people working during the day I have had to get up 3-4 hours before work just to be able to catch an empty machine. The time planning outfits I felt was more of a hassle than usually too, as I wanted to try to not outfit repeat or wear the same thing two days in a row.

Additionally, it did not really spark any new creativity, as I had hoped. I think I dressed pretty much like I usually do, no new revolutionary combination came up (I also did chose a rather basic selection so maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise). I rather felt restricted and bored.

Then there is the temperature or weather problem. I feel like a challenge like this is more doable in a milder, more stable climate. These weeks the temperature has ranged between 3-15 degrees Celsius, sometimes almost in one day. Dressing for this kind of weather is quite hard and when you always need several layers it’s hard to do with such few items. A summer capsule might be the easiest to start out with based on this.

Will I do it again?

Maybe, I’m not sure. I felt it took a lot of effort for me this time around. If I were to do it again it would be during a warmer season. Also, next time I think I would exclude the shoes to, not in a way to get to use more of my shoes (it was quite easy sticking to the two pairs), but because I felt a bit too restricted with only 8 clothing items. I’m up for trying a bigger, longer challenge. Maybe a month or so with 20 garments. I feel that would suit my preferences and habits better.

So all in all, the results of the challenge was maybe not what I expected. But one thing I felt afterwards was a love and longing for my full closet and maybe living with less for a while is also a way of appreciating living with sligthly more.