I remember when I first started my blog, I vowed to myself that I'd never let it become "just a fashion blog". And although, even to me, that sounds pretty condescending and silly, I really wanted to create a space of depth, and growth. A place where people were inspired to simplify and make positive changes to their life. And the thought of my blog being only a collection of sponsored posts and new clothes scared me (and it still does sometimes). However, as time goes on, I'm realizing what a powerful conduit fashion is, both for simplicity and ethical living.
My step into capsule wardrobes a few years ago was one inch closer into "fashion blogger" territory. Then, when I made the commitment to stop buying from fast fashion last year, I became a full on advocate for ethical fashion. I never expected it to become such an integral part of my blog — since minimalism and simplifying was originally my main focus originally — but, I have a hard time separating things, and so minimalism AND slow fashion melded together to become the SL&Co. you know today.
Even though I've become much more "fashion blogger-y" than I ever expected, my one and only goal with each and every outfit I post and every new brand I introduce is that it will encourage you bit by bit to make more informed purchases and support the brands that are changing the fashion industry for the better, all while learning to intentionally create a wardrobe you love.
That said, I'm incredibly passionate about making slow fashion more approachable for anyone and everyone. Changing your shopping habits is a scary step, like anything that takes you out of your comfort zone (although in my experience, ethically made clothes are FAR more comfortable than their fast fashion alternatives ;). I hope SL&Co. is a resource that pushes you in that direction. I've created my affordable ethical brands list and my giant guide of brands for the sole purpose of showing that it is possible to shop more consciously, no matter your budget, social media following, location, or personal style.
But you don't need a fashion blog, or an Instagram account, or an audience to start making your wardrobe more conscious. The conscious living and ethical fashion blogs exist to provide information, resources, and inspiration, but that certainly doesn't mean they should be the only ones doing it.
Here are a few super easy tips to take your wardrobe to the next level, ethically speaking. Without a blog post or a slough of hashtags afterwards.
1. Implement the "Run Out" Rule:
I mentioned this rule in my post on sustainable baby steps a few weeks ago. It's one I personally use for everything from beauty products, to my closet, to my kitchen.
It simply means that once something you already have runs out or needs to be replaced, replace it with a more conscious and ethically made item. As you declutter your closet, define your style, and create a more streamlined wardrobe, you're bound to notice gaps in your closet. Add those items to your wishlist and slowly, one by one, replace them with a piece from an ethical retailer.
It doesn't have to be all at once (in fact, it probably shouldn't,) so be patient and embrace the process of curating a wardrobe you love.
2. Shop Second Hand:
I know, it doesn't have the same allure that buying a shiny new piece from a brand you admire, but thrifting is one of the easiest ways to up the consciousness AND affordability of the pieces you need to replace.
Since you likely want to invest in pieces that are going to last, thrifting from places like ThredUp or Instagram shops that specialize in finding high quality pieces can be an awesome option.
3. Utilize The Bloggers:
One of the greatest things about the influence of ethical bloggers is that they can act as genuine advertisement for brands that consumers can feel good about buying from. If you're unsure of whether or not a certain brand is ethical or not, utilize the blogs and resources you've come to trust. Look through their archives, send them a message. We blog because we are passionate about watching this industry change and we love watching it happen.
4. Take It Slow:
Don't expect your closet to change overnight. It might take a while for your closet to evolve into a more ethical one, and that's totally ok. Even a year or so in to my ethical fashion journey, I'm still using the run out rule, researching ways to fill gaps, and discovering brands I love supporting.
5. Define Your Style:
One of the easiest ways to be more mindful about what you bring into your closet, is by knowing exactly what you love to wear and buying only that. Although I'm all for experimentation and trying new styles, besides the occasional "off brand" piece, you should stick to your favorite cuts/styles/colors.
6. Ignore The Trends:
Along with knowing what you love to wear, learn to resist the urge to buy the newest trends as soon as they're released — with each of fast fashion's 52 micro-seasons. Instead, stick to pieces that are timeless and classic. They'll never go out of style.
7. Choose Quality Over Quantity:
Getting used to buying "investment pieces" instead of cheap alternatives that you'll need to replace in a year or two will not only work wonders for the pieces in your closet but will also make you more content with the pieces you do have, cutting the urge to shop all the time.
How are you taking steps to make your wardrobe more ethical? Has it been an easier transition than you expected?