You've got questions, and we've got answers! SheKnows' contributing beauty and style expert, Luke Reichle, is taking your submissions and dishing out no-fuss answers! Today, we're discussing how to reduce your clothing carbon footprint by going green in your closet.
I’m interested in building an eco-friendly wardrobe. Can you recommend some green products that will get me started?
Dear Baby G,
Ten years ago the concept of going green in your closet would have involved some AstroTurf and a staple gun. The green wardrobe of today can cover a lot of different eco-bases as the idea of ‘green’ changes, depending on who you speak to. Here is an option that will get you going on the road to carbon footprint reduction while expanding your resources in the quest for a unique personal style.
Veteran shopping fashionistas have been practicing this for years. The quickest way to earn carbon credit is to buy used clothing and the advantages go far beyond the green consideration.
From flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, vintage apparel houses and consignment shops, there are pieces for every price point. Thrift stores are the go-to source for your hobby wear. You don’t want to ruin your nice things when molding pottery or pimping out your ride. When I’m shooting a period piece, we buy oversized men’s dress shirts for the players to wear during lunch. It’s like a Brooks Brothers body bib.
The range of goods is mind-boggling. From logo tees to last year’s YSL, every category is represented. You can find great basics, timeless classics, designer cast-offs and of course the trend monstrosities that should be bought if only to be shredded for mulch in a ceremony that apologizes to the muse of style.
This varies to a great degree, but once you start looking and your eye becomes accustomed to picking out the goods, you will find pieces of superior worth, some with designer pedigree or ethnic provenance. My first visit to a Salvation Army at the age of 18 was an eye opener. This was when you could get Roseville urns for $3 and tulle ball gowns for under $5. I spent my allowance on three pieces that mesmerized me. I had no idea who Mainboucher, Claire Maccardell or Givenchy were -- and if you don’t know, I encourage you to Google them. I just knew I wasn’t leaving the store without them. To this day, I mix vintage pieces into my actors' closets.
Consider this from Care2.com: “It takes 10 times as much energy to produce a ton of textiles as it does to make a ton of glass. But, while most of us recycle glass, recycling clothes is less common.”
The article goes on to suggest “getting crafty” and making new clothes out of old ones. This is something I fully support. I’m constantly hacking up garments and rearranging their parts to get the look I want. The costume designer who does this most brilliantly is Ruth Myers. Take a look at her movie Emma. The poorer characters all wear clothes that are made from recycled, repurposed bits. This was common at the time. We could all take a leaf from Jane Austen’s book and get clever, get crafty and get green!
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