How To Build A Sustainable Wardrobe – The Closet Cleanout

Sustainable fashion starts in your wardrobe

Nikita Oliver Metcalfe

A major part of maintaining a more sustainable wardrobe is doing regular wardrobe reviews…and no this doesn’t mean getting rid of your old clothes just to make room for new ones!

It’s about being really honest with yourself and making the most of what you have. This is a process and requires a commitment as big as the size of your wardrobe, so be prepared if yours is overflowing.

You might prefer to break down your wardrobe and tackle the review in stages which can be less overwhelming.

Focus on one season at a time, either spring/summer or autumn/winter, depending on the season you are currently in or the season you are about to enter. Or approach your review one category at a time, for example coats and jackets one day and dresses another.

Although time consuming this will definitely be time well spent, think of it as a substitute for a shopping trip and instead shop your own wardrobe.

sustainable wardrobe

The Steps:

1 – Empty Your Wardrobe

First start by pulling everything out, you want to have a clean slate to build your perfect wardrobe from. Make sure you’ve done your hair, have your most versatile underwear on and you’re feeling amazing…you will be trying on!

2 – Create Categories

Group items by garment type and then subcategories, for example pants grouped together which may then be broken down into jeans and formal pants groupings. This will make it easier to assess where you may have gaps or overflow in your wardrobe. Keep in mind your Lifestyle Pie Chart here and how your wardrobe is currently balanced in relation to this.

3 – Ask Yourself

When reviewing each item in your wardrobe use these questions to help guide you as to what pile it should end up in:

  • When was the last time I wore this?
  • Is the style flattering for my body shape and achieving my body shape goal?
  • Does the colour suit my undertone and work with my colour palette?
  • Does it work back with other items in my wardrobe to create outfits easily?
  • Can alterations be made to improve the fit, colour or style?
  • Does it make me feel amazing and 100% me?

sustainable wardrobe

Your Piles

The Yes Pile

Start with any items that definitely meet all of your criteria, these will be items you absolutely love and wear frequently. Ensure you’re being completely honest with yourself when it comes to the definition of the words love and frequent! Make sure each item is a definite yes to all of the questions above to make sure you’re on the right track.

The No Pile

Next tackle the definite no’s which we all tend to have hanging around. These will be items you’ve been meaning to clear out, ones that are beyond repair or don’t fit your personal style or body shape. Put these aside to come back to later.

The Maybe Pile

With everything else it’s time to try on…and time to be really honest with yourself. Make sure you’re referring back to the questions to guide your decision as to which pile each item will end up in, and did I mention be honest! Each item should be added to your current yes or no piles or placed in a new alterations needed pile.

If you’re really having trouble choosing a pile for any items then store them away for now and come back to them in a few months time. You’ll either have gone hunting for it in the meantime, be happy to see it again in a fresh light or realise you didn’t need it after all!

Stay tuned next week for tips on the best ways to approach each pile after your wardrobe review is complete!

Images via Adobe Stock

Nikita Oliver Metcalfe

Personal stylist with a focus on ethical and sustainable fashion combined with conscious consumption. Nikita believes in the power of styling to ensure women always feel great in what they wear while building meaningful wardrobes and a greater understanding of the impact of their clothes.