The Northern Hemisphere is, right now, in the depths of its coolest, darkest months. What does that mean for your wardrobe? Well, you’ve probably packed away your favorite summer dresses and cover-ups and swapped them out for thicker, warmer layers. And in a few months, you’ll be reversing the process.
But really, there is no need. By shopping wisely for versatile pieces in the right fabrics, one wardrobe is enough. We’ll dispel the myths that surround the supposed amount of clothing one person needs to look stylish, and show you how to shop while keeping the idea “less is more” in mind.
But first, let’s reflect on why we all need to consider buying a little less clothing in 2021.
Why “less is more” is important
The year 2020 turned the world upside down, and as 2021 begins, a lot of us are pledging to focus on what really matters: looking after ourselves, each other, and our planet. Looking at our relationship with fashion is a really good way to start.
There’s no doubt that fast fashion is a major contributor to the damage being caused to our planet. Recent research shows that the industry contributes 10% of all carbon emissions and 20% of water pollution. We also need to consider the amount of clothing going into landfills each year (around 300,000 tonnes per year) and microfibers from our laundry entering the ocean.
The figures are frightening. Yet, clothes are one of life’s necessities. So how can we get the balance right? How can we purchase clothing that is more sustainable and less damaging to the world we live in?
Here are a few rules to live by if this is important to you.
- Buy fewer pieces of clothing and only make a purchase when you know that you will wear the item countless times.
- Purchase clothing that will last. Focus on high-quality, natural fabrics made with excellent craftsmanship.
- Avoid temptation from trends that will clearly pass quickly (fast fashion).
- Look after your clothes by avoiding over-laundering them and following the garment’s instructions for washing.
We are all aware, by now, of the working conditions for people in some of the world’s clothing factories. Clearly, we need to avoid making purchases that encourage the exploitation of people.
This is entirely possible. The key is to do your homework on clothing brands before you make a purchase. Check out their website or social media pages for more information on the manufacturing process and the supply chain of their garments.
Fashion and COVID-19
Shopping during a pandemic is very different. As it continues, many of us are still being encouraged to stay at home to protect each other. This does not mean we should forget fashion. Making the effort to feel good in our clothing can be an important part of self-care.
It’s never been easier to shop online for summer collection clothing or for warmer pieces, any time of the year. Brands have made a real effort to improve information relating to sizing, materials and fabrics to make the shopping experience more transparent and their clothing easier to visualize. Returns processes should now be more straightforward than ever, too.
Shopping from the comfort of our sofa also gives us the luxury of time to make more considered, thoughtful purchases. This should help us make more sustainable, ethical purchases, too.
Dispelling some myths
For as long as anyone can remember, people have spoken about their “summer wardrobe” and their “winter wardrobe.” It’s a significant reason behind the overbuying of clothing, but it’s a myth.
Myth 1: You need a separate summer and winter wardrobe
There’s no need for your summer wear to be in storage right now. Agreed, wearing it alone would not be sensible. However, it’s just a case of knowing how to layer it with other pieces in your wardrobe.
This is called mix and match. Mixing your summer clothes with other separates means you can make the best use of your clothing year-round. Plus, you get more opportunities to make a style statement.
Does this mean you need hundreds of separates? No.
Myth 2: You need hundreds of separates to mix and match well
Shopping wisely for versatile pieces is the key to not overbuying. This is easy once you know the secrets to flexible dressing. You’ll soon find that you can wear some or all of your favorite summer pieces all your round.
Take a mini dress, for example. In the warmest months, you would likely wear this alone with sandals. As the weather cools, add a leather or denim jacket, tights and warmer footwear, like boots. In the coolest months or in the coldest climates, you could even wear warmer clothing underneath the mini dress, or add chunky cardigans, a shawl or a woolen coat.
How to shop with versatility and flexibility in mind
Here are a few tips for getting every item in your wardrobe working hard for you.
Make sure to own some neutral pieces to layer with
If you look for tights, jackets, and footwear in classic styles and neutral tones, you’ll find that you can mix and match them with all your summer pieces more easily. It’s likely that your summer garments carry plenty of interest; perhaps they are in brighter, bolder fabrics or they carry beautiful, intricate embroidery detailing. When you layer your summer wear with more neutral basics, you can still achieve a stylish look that is far from dull or boring.
Look for natural fabrics
There are lots of reasons to opt for natural fabrics over synthetic ones. Look out for cotton, wool and silk over polyester and acrylics, for example. Why?
Firstly, natural fabrics are usually kinder to the planet. High-quality natural fabrics age very well, meaning they should last for many years if well cared for. Secondly, they are kinder to the environment post-manufacturing since, unlike many synthetics, they won’t be releasing microplastics into the environment with each laundry cycle.
They are typically more breathable, too; cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter. This makes them ideal for wearing through the seasons.
There are no rules about what you should and shouldn’t wear in any season. The important points to keep in mind are that you are comfortable (cool or warm enough) and that you feel good.
These three tips will help you buy wisely and sustainably, all while getting the most out of all your beautiful clothes all year round. Less is definitely more.
Andrea Bertinetti is the Marketing Manager at Scarlett Poppies, a vivacious Dubai-based resort and beachwear brand that offers edgy, easy-breezy and effortlessly cool pieces designed by a cultural melting pot of designers. Influenced by tribal trends with a touch of Scandinavian flair, the brand’s beachwear styles are always ethereal and minimalistic.