Giving Your Wardrobe a Green Makeover: How to Make Your Clothes Eco-Friendly

Giving Your Wardrobe a Green Makeover: How to Make Your Clothes Eco-Friendly

Kermit the Frog is famous for singing the words “it’s not easy being green.” But that was then. This is now. Living a “green” life doesn’t have to be hard, even when you’re choosing a wardrobe.

Embracing a green or eco-friendly way of life means changing your lifestyle so your behaviors impact the environment in a positive manner. Today, not only are people striving to protect the environment by recycling and conserving water, but they’re also gravitating towards eco-fashion.

The Story Behind Eco-Fashion

Eco-fashion is clothing made without damaging the environment or the health of consumers who wear the clothes. In order to be considered eco-friendly, fashion must meet at least one of several criteria:

  • The clothing is manufactured by people who work in conditions where they are treated fairly and paid a fair wage.
  • The clothes are free from harmful dyes, bleaches and chemicals.
  • The clothes are crafted from recycled textiles or plastics.
  • The clothes are created from raw materials like cotton grown without the use of harmful pesticides.
  • The clothing is woven from silk harvested from silk worms fed on organic vegetation.
  • The clothing is made from sustainable materials that can be grown or replanted after being harvested.

If you want to live your life in an earth-friendly way, it’s important to make smart choices when you’re shopping for clothes. Fortunately, various stores and clothing brands are stepping up to show you how to look fabulous while helping take care of Mother Earth.

Consignment and Vintage

One of the easiest ways to wear a green wardrobe is to buy clothing from consignment and vintage stores. Buying vintage items helps you flaunt a style that’s uniquely your own, because consignment and vintage shops offer clothing you won’t find at chain department stores. After sifting through some of the merchandise, you may find interesting patterns and shapes that suit your style.

Want to make those items even more unique? Personalize those one-of-a-kind finds by adding your own embroidery and embellishments. It’s a win-win situation. Not only are you helping the environment, but you’re also purchasing gently used clothing and giving it a second life.

If you don’t have any thrift shops in your neighborhood, you can also check out online stores that sell vintage and pre-used clothing. Try stores like and to find one-of-a-kind buys.

Brands That Make Green Clothing

Maybe you’re not into the thrift shop scene, but you still want to show your environmental awareness. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to find clothing companies that sell eco-friendly products.

Anne Salvatore Epstein was one of the the first designers to create eco-friendly fashion. In 2005, while pregnant, Epstein decided to follow a more organic way of life. This decision resulted in a collaboration with fellow designer Marc Jacobs.

Together, they found a way to make organic fashion more fashionable. They accomplished this goal by incorporating bamboo, organic cotton and recycled leather into their fashion lines. From those early beginnings, other clothing designers began to join the eco-friendly craze.

Some of the top eco-fashion clothing lines include:

  • Kowtow — This clothing brand is 100 percent fair trade and organic. But don’t think the clothing is boring. Kowtow features trendy shapes, fabrics and colors that are sure to please any fashionista with an eco-conscience!
  • Study NY — Based in Brooklyn, Study NY is led by designer Tara St. James. Known for its whimsical prints, Study NY features recyclable materials, hand-dyed fabrics, organic cotton and linen. All materials are made locally in New York, and the company is committed to no-waste production and pattern making. St. James is also Fashion Director for a fundraising organization called the Uniform Project, which raises money for children in need.
  • The H&M Conscious Collection — Made by the Swedish retailer, the line offers local, sustainable fabrics. Featuring cool, fashionable clothing at reasonable prices, it combines eco-friendliness with a style that’s easy on the budget.

Essential Pieces for a Woman’s Wardrobe

When you’re trying to cultivate an eco-friendly lifestyle, overstuffed closets almost defeat the purpose. After all, once you get tired of wearing all of those clothes, they may end up languishing in a landfill. Instead, purchase fewer items of clothing that mix and match well together. Try paring your wardrobe down to these basic items:

  • A sleek pair of black pants that flatter your figure. Well-tailored black trousers are the workhorse of any woman’s wardrobe. You can wear them with anything, and you’ll always look stylish and sharp.
  • A little black dress with a fitted waist. Made famous by Audrey Hepburn, the little black dress should hang in every woman’s closet. Clean lines. Elegant shape. You can even dress it up with accessories like pearls or patent leather flats.
  • A blazer. Throw it on with a pair of jeans, or wear it with a skirt. Either way, you’ll look sophisticated and well-dressed.
  • A French cuff dress shirt. The French cuffs transform a regular button-down blouse into a chic piece of clothing perfect for a casual lunch date or a meeting with a potential client.
  • A tailored black suit. Polished and modern, you can wear it to your important business meeting or wear the jacket and skirt as separates.
  • A plain white t-shirt. Layer it over a tank top, under your favorite sweater or with a comfortable pair of jeans. The options are limitless.
  • Dark denim jeans. Dress them up with a nice blouse and heels if you’re going on a date, or keep it casual by pairing it with a button-down shirt.

Essential Pieces for a Man’s Wardrobe

Women aren’t the only ones who can create a smaller wardrobe filled with pieces that mix and match. Men can get in on the action by choosing well-made clothing that is both durable and stylish. If you’re a guy, consider creating a smaller wardrobe comprised of:

  • Khaki pants. Find a tailored pair that offers a relaxed fit.
  • Dark denim jeans. Stay away from fussy embellishments. Keep them plain and simple, so you can wear them with anything.
  • Blue blazer. It’s versatile and goes well with anything else in your closet. Dress it up or down for a traditional, preppy or modern look.
  • White dress shirt. No man’s wardrobe is complete without a crisp, white dress shirt. Whether you pair it with jeans or a suit, the white dress shirt is a must-have.
  • Fitted t-shirt. Wear it with khakis, underneath a blazer or with jeans.
  • Organic cashmere sweater. If it’s too expensive, buy one in a cotton-cashmere blend.
  • Gray suit. Make sure your suit is well-tailored. Buy one that’s slim fit with a two-button jacket. You’ll look both elegant and professional.

As you can see, looking good doesn’t mean you have to buy a ton of clothes. A few well-made pieces of eco-friendly fashion will allow you to look your best, whether you’re heading to the office, going to a party or having lunch with friends. So what are you waiting for? Go green with your fashion, help the environment and look fabulous!

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