fast fashion fast
Over the summer I have been participating in a “Fast Fashion Fast” hosted by youtuber Verena Erin from My Green Closet. During this challenge participants try to avoid purchasing any fast fashion branded clothing, or clothes in general, in favor of more ethically/eco/fair trade brands.
Fast Fashion has major impacts on our world environmentally, economically, and continues to trap garment workers in developing countries into poorly run and dangerous working conditions, some including child labor. For more information you can watch this good documentary called The True Cost on Netflix!
Since becoming more educated on top clothing lines like Forever21, H&M, Uniqlo, and other retailers, I have decided that I no longer want to support fast fashion and brands who create their clothes from sweatshops in developing countries. Because of this, I recently picked up Anuschka Rees’ book: The Curated Closet .
This book is essentially a guide to creating a well-curated closet designed specifically for your style, budget, and fit. The book is highly useful so I would suggest ordering it from the library as soon as possible. In this post I kind of wanted to talk about the ideas and activities I’ve started following to help fix my closet!
understanding your style
try on everything
Back a few months ago I went through my closet and pulled out a lot of stuff for Goodwill (donating still isn’t great for clothing) that I was never going to wear or didn’t fit me anymore and most recently I finally had the guts to pull out clothes that I loved that I realized I just couldn’t wear. They fit, but the arms were restricting or I felt like I couldn’t sit down in them. While you don’t have to get rid of any clothing (hopefully you don’t), I would suggest taking account of all your clothing.
Take an afternoon and try on every piece that you own so you can remember why you own it or why you haven’t actually worn it in awhile.
make a inspiration/pinterest board
You can view my curated closet board HERE. Sometimes people like these to be physical so you can print yours out and hang it in your closet or wherever. I personally am always on the computer, so pinterest is great for me and I took an afternoon and scoured the internet for my favorite outfits and styles. Magazines, website, blogs, however I mostly searched pinterest for some of my favorite celebrity styles. I filled up an entire board. Not all if any of these outfits are fair trade/eco-friendly pieces but it’s just to give me an idea, it’s not a buy-now board.
assess your picks and perfect style
In the Curated Closet, one of the tasks is to look through your inspiration board and pay attention to the kind of clothes you added in all aspects. I’ll list below all the headings the book uses and what I wrote down for each one. Some of it may not make sense but it’s what I use to describe it and you only need to understand your own personal style. This can range from an idea, vibe, to very specific items.
Overall vibe: Vintage, Modern English Countryside, Fashion up + down, earthy minimalist.
Individual Items: Deep neutral skirts, Floral Patterns, Comfortable tucked button-ups, Denim or Twill bottoms, neutral or pastel accents, crystal jewelry.
Colors: Deep, forest green, black and white, blues, pastels, tans, browns, purples.
Silhouettes: Skinny leg, mid/high-rise midi skirts, loose tops with defined shoulders, oversized sweaters, cardigans, tucked shirts.
Materials: Cotton, linen, denim, vegan leather, embroidered, distressed denim.
Styling: Crystal necklaces, single print bags, mixed sunglasses, minimalist watches, Hats, brown belts.
Fits: Crew necks, sweetheart dresses, cap sleeves, 1/2 length sleeve, Raglan sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, loose fit waist, mid-length skirt, full skirt, a-line skirt, pleated skirt, ankle or 3/4 pants, boyfriend jeans, maybe tapered jeans.
If you pick up the book, the author has a list of ideas for all of these. For the fits I had to google each one since I’m no fashion expert but it made it pretty easy to know what I would and wouldn’t like. But this all came from the designs that I picked for my pinterest that I either knew or though I liked.
what does your lifestyle need
The next part of the book talks about the kind of clothes that your lifestyle demands for 2 weeks. Everyone has different jobs and expectations at work and home, so what type of clothing are you most in need of. For me, I have a job where I wear a uniform and rarely need super-business clothes so there would be no point to own 6 blazers, a pant suit, and very formal dresses. For me, my lifestyle was as such:
Daytime Clothes: 6 Outfits
Park Running: 6 Outfits
Super Hot Florida Weather: 3 Outfits
Chill @ Home Clothes: 7 Outfits
PJs: 2 Outfits
These are exagerrated of course, because I could essentially combine chill @ home clothes with daytime clothes. Or daytime clothes combined with park running, but I gave myself a little extra room for variety. Right now the weather is always super hot, but I don’t always spend the entire day outside and in the fall and winter, I can wear jeans a lot more often. I also added PJs just because most of mine consist of old tshirts and yoga pants. I didn’t include business oufits, or formal wear, just because I only need about 1 of each considering I almost never attend anything where those are needed.
What is already in your closet
After assessing your preferred or idealistic style, then you can compare that to what you already have in your closet. At this point, the author gives you a list of different kind of pieces that make up an outfit. Obviously, this is just a guideline but for someone with no talent at fashion or style, it was really helpful. The author breaks it up into 3 categories: Key pieces, statement pieces, and basics. I found this to be a bit hard because a lot of key pieces and basics fell into the same category. But I wrote down what I had that worked and what I still wanted to look for. For me, my clothes fell into this:
Key pieces I have: Brown Mossimo Jacket, Denim Jacket, multiple single colored skirts, kate spade bag, skinny jeans, rain boots, brown boots, multiple sweaters.
Key pieces I need: Black, brown, and denim skirt. Black, white, and tan pants. Overalls, jacket, cardigan, plain sweatshirts, flats and sandals, versatile tops.
Basics I have: Keds, toms, skinny jeans, some plain colored shirts.
Basics I need: Well-fitting plain shirts, non-denim pants, neutral skirts.
Statement Pieces I have: Some jewelry, patterned skirt, pink blazer.
Statement Pieces I need: ?
I realized that a lot of my closet was graphic t-shirts from Disney, but I had slowly changed my style over the last few years. I had a lot of good t-shirts but they didn’t really fit well. They sagged at the neckline or I didn’t like how they fit on my stomach. My black and white shirts felt ill-fitting at the chest, and some of my bad quality clothes I liked had holes in them. And for statement pieces, I’m not really worried about because I don’t like to stand out or wear anything crazy so I’m not on the hunt for anything.
You can make your own color palettes online, I would suggest using Paletton, which is what I use in my design work but can work for this too. The book gives some color palette suggestions, so I just pulled a few from there that I liked.
My style is difficult because I love light, airy, and pastels but I also love earthy dark tones. I essentially live in both fall and springtime. But this is a great idea what goes together when buying separate pieces.
shopping! (but no buying) and fabrics
The most interesting part of this book, is that it suggests to go shopping with your ideas and information in tow to department stores and try on all the clothes you love (fit, color, anything) or anything you would never pick up. The author is very much for eco-friendly/fair trade fashion so she doesn’t ever suggest buying from fast fashion brands but going into a store with no interest or idea of buying anything allows you a freedom to try different styles without actively looking. I was also going in trying to pay attention to the type of fabric used to see if I could tell what was what and how it fit.
So I did! Needing groceries, I headed to Target with the intention on trying some clothes I loved and some that were out of my comfort level just to see if I liked them. I picked up 4 different shirts and a pair of jeans and headed to the changing room!
These ripped black skinny jeans were first, and I definitely got a size too big but they didn’t fit well and I felt like they made me look shorter. I usually never get ripped jeans but I don’t mind the style so I wanted to try them. I’m sure if they were the right size I would have liked them better.
The next thing I tried was this thin green tank top. It looks cute from the front, but if I pull my arms back at all there was no give. It was too tight in the shoulders and when I pulled my arms back the front became entirely too big and boxy, there was no shape at all. This shirt was made out of 100% polyester which is terrible for the environment and apparently is what fashion companies are using instead of cotton because it is cheaper and easier to use. This is a dark forest green which I love and I don’t mind the embroidery but the fit was a bit bad.
This shirt is so wrinkly, but I wanted to try one of these off the shoulder tops so bad because I see a lot of guests at disney wearing them and I think they’re cute. This one was okay, but I had the same problems with the arms and it also sat weird on the torso. It also felt entirely too big on top with all the frills. Maybe a different one would have worked. This shirt was made from 100% Rayon which I don’t know much about (probably not good) so it wasn’t as uncomfortable as polyester but still not great. I like the light blue color but I’m trying to get away from as many stripes.
I have to admit that this shirt is cute on and off the rack, but I had the same issues as the green shirt, with my arms. Anytime I pulled my arms back it completely collapsed at the chest and I could barely move. There was no give to this and while I don’t mind the shapelessness of it, it does make me look a bit big. I loved the colors in this however, and don’t mind these kinds of patterns. This was, of course, 100% polyester as well.
And finally my favorite thing was this button up cotton shirt. I love button ups, I love tucking shirts, and if I wasn’t on a fast-fashion fast I probably would’ve bought this. It was 100% cotton and actually super comfortable. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the stripes on the front being so sporadic but I loved the stripes on the back. This kind of fell into my black and white neutral minimalist style and it was big enough that it fit perfectly for me. This is definitely something I want to look for at the thrift store or ebay.
Future of my closet
I’m going back home to Kansas in a few weeks and I think I would like to take a day and go to the mall just to try on a lot of clothing items again with no intention of buying. I really loved doing it because I used to almost exclusively look at price tags before trying anything on. It’s really nice to try on a piece you like without worrying what it costs because you’re not buying it and I think it would be easier in a big mall. Then, of course, go to the local thrift stores!
I also realized a lot about my style and that I absolutely despise dresses and heels so it’s nice to completely canceled out that part of my shopping. I’m also really happy with the progress I’ve already made on my wardrobe and my desire to quit fast fashion. I had a photoshoot with a coworker recently and a lot of my pieces were eco-friendly or from the thrift store. Photos by Rachel Dunlop Photography.
In the first photo I bought the t-shirt from Everlane a few months ago, the sunflower skirt is from Goodwill, and I’ve had the same sandals for about 5 years. For the second photo the shirt I’ve had for a few years, and the skirt is pre-owned from Ebay. In the third photo my skirt I’ve had for 3 years from Modcloth, the shirt is Everlane, and the crochet cardigan is from Goodwill.
If you’d like to know more about fast fashion be sure to check out My Green Closet! If you guys are participating let me know how you’re doing or if you have read The Curated Closet what you thought!