Three pairs of jeans laid on the ground to form the recycle symbol.

The Little Green Dress

Five Tips to Sustain Your Style 

by Natalie Bencivenga


September 15, 2020

It will take all of us working together to solve the large issues of climate change wreaking havoc on our planet and in our communities. From cities sinking to burning red skies, much of the solution must come from governments and large corporations working globally to save us and the only home we know. 

But we can be a part of the solution. We can all work towards a little more sustainability in our lives, including our wardrobes. 

Here are some tips to help you sustain your style, and look oh-so-chic while doing it. 

1) “How often will I wear it?”

Before you invest in something, ask yourself if you will get enough use out of it. Some go by the “30 wear” rule. If you don’t think you can wear it 30 times over the course of a year, don’t buy it. Pick classic staples that you know you can get the most use of, that are versatile to be styled different ways, that can be worn season to season and that — whenever possible — were made sustainably. 

2) What’s old is new again

Vintage and second-hand shopping can be a fun adventure if you have the time to browse through racks for gems. But amid Covid-19, you may not be comfortable shopping in person, so many shops have moved their merchandise online or to their social media accounts. Not sure you want to take the leap into the world of second-hand fashions? Keep in mind that it takes zero new energy to produce gently-loved clothing, whereas new clothing production involves 20 percent of the world’s waste water. 

3) Give away your gently-used clothing

Have a clothing-swap with friends or find local donation spaces to drop off loved pieces that still have life left in them. If you know that your clothing is not in wearable condition, consider turning it into rags that can be reused so that less ends up in landfills.

4) Converse with brands you love to help create change

Yes, it may seem like a pie-in-the-sky notion that brands would listen to their customers… but they do. Putting pressure on brands via social media, or acknowledging and praising brands that are doing right by the environment can help create conversations that can lead to changes in the industry at large. If we don’t speak about it, we cannot change it. So use your platforms wisely to encourage growth in the right directions. 

5) Repair, reuse, recycle

Have a little tear at the bottom of your favorite dress? Don’t throw it away. See if you can repair it. Find a tailor near you or take on the challenge of learning to mend your clothing. Lost a button? Why throw out a jacket when you can find a look-alike and save the garment, instead? Let’s not waste our clothes and in turn respect the time, energy and resources it took by both people and the Earth to create that piece.

Remember, not everyone can do everything. But instead of allowing that overwhelming feeling to do it all paralyze you, take one or two steps to improve your carbon footprint and in turn, still look fashionable, too. 


Natalie Bencivenga is a regular columnist with The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter.