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Refresh your style – How to spring clean your wardrobe in a sustainable way

Whether you are blessed with the actual arrival of warmer temperatures or  are still looking forward to it, many of use are craving a bit of a freshening up of our wardrobes at this time of year.

It would be tempting to dive into a trend-led shopping spree. But, as a sustainable fashion advocate, I'm all for working with what you’ve got and adding a few, fun pieces that will have longevity. Here is how I approach a mindful wardrobe refresh. 

Sorting & Storing

Take the time to refold and reorder garments that may have become scrunched up or ended up in the wrong drawer, and wash or have items laundered as necessary. With sustainability in mind it is worth knowing that, for example, high quality knitwear (100% wool) does not need to be washed very often and airing it out will often suffice. If it does need a wash, consider handwashing or an ecofriendly drycleaner (for example this one, for the Londoners), which are much better for you than a chemical clean. Also note that knitwear does not like to live on a hanger and will last longer when folded.

If you’re really keen, check whether shoes need to be cleaned and reheeled, it can make the difference of a neglected pair of ankle boots with a worn off heel becoming firm favourites again. 

While I keep a couple of jumpers at hand for the odd chilly evening, I usually stow away proper wintergear like big coats and cozy turtlenecks in clothes bags or zip up storage boxes to give the clothes I’ll be wearing in spring and summer some breathing space.

Wardrobe Audit – If you’re the thorough kind of woman you’ll enjoy this. I wouldn’t advocate having frequent clearouts – it’s much better to buy more thoughtfully in the first place. But once in a while I like to reassess whether I actually still want to wear everything I own. Take everything out of my wardrobe and cupboards, sort things into categories before stowing everything away again.

This is particularly helpful in checking whether you make a lot of impulse buys that never see the light of day because you just don’t feel comfortable in that style or that colour regardless of how compelling it looked in the store. We’ve all done it, and I’m certainly no stranger to buying the wrong cut of jeans for my height, or an awkward colour for my skin tone.

But it can save you a lot of money and the planet a lot of resources to become more aware of what type of things you just don’t actually love wearing. And it’s so liberating to not feel compelled to consider every trend competing for your attention just because it’s now a ‘thing’ (Fluted sleeves? Really?). 

Pass it on – Consider whether your unwanted clothing can’t make you a little bit of cash (cheap and cheerful on Shpock, high end on Vestiaire Collective or everything in between on ebay). I’ve also successfully swapped with friends, for a totally free wardrobe refresh. Otherwise your local charity shop will thank you for a donation, though do be polite and don’t leave them things that really are only good for the bin.

Consider some style advice – This is specifically not about trends. This is about getting to know what suits you and what you want your personal style to express. Stylists can be a bit pricey, but my experience is that they will help you make fewer ill-conceived impulse buys in the future and so it can be a great longer term style investment to treat yourself to in spring (Stylejetters, are superfriendly experts. One of their stylists pictured above).

If you’re looking to spend less but still want to make smarter fashion choices, the decade old but no less relevant Trinny and Susannah books are still an eye opener in terms of looking for the clothes that suit you, not the clothes that suit others.

 

 

Add a few high quality spring pieces – I love how a new garment from a beautiful fabric and a flattering colour can put a spring in my step. If you’re considering a little shopping spree, but want to keep it sustainable and ethical, emphasise quality fabrics, such as light wool, organic cotton and tencel. Also go for pieces with structure that will make you feel well-dressed even if paired with something more simple for seasons to come and choose brands that are transparent about their supply chain.

At Sheer Apparel, this spring I am most excited about our super vibrant yet timeless light knit sweaters, such as in pink, the cool but instant classic black linen pants, as well as the most versatile jumpsuit and this crazy flattering dress.

Will these pieces make your wardrobe feel fresh and ready for spring? Absolutely. But, because they come from Sheer Apparel, they are also in it for the long haul.


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