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5 Seriously Simple Closet Sustainability Hacks

As awareness of the environmental toll of fast fashion continues to grow, so too does the desire to make more sustainable wardrobe choices. Yet, the idea of overhauling your entire wardrobe to be more eco-friendly is anything but appealing. The good news? Creating a sustainable closet doesn't have to be a big deal. 

Are you tired of staring at a closet full of clothes and feeling like you have nothing to wear? Do you find yourself constantly chasing the latest trends, only to be left with a mountain of unworn garments and a nagging sense of guilt? If so, you're not alone. The fashion industry's 'buy now, toss later' mentality has contributed to a culture of overconsumption and waste, leaving many consumers craving a more sustainable approach to style.

With a few simple hacks and mindful choices, it's entirely possible to build a closet that not only reflects your personal style but also aligns with your values of environmental responsibility and conscious consumption. From capsule wardrobes to secondhand shopping and DIY upcycling projects, there are numerous strategies for creating a more sustainable and eco-friendly wardrobe.

Capsule Wardrobe Creation

Simplify your wardrobe by curating a capsule wardrobe consisting of versatile, high-quality pieces that can be mixed and matched to create numerous outfits. This reduces the need for excessive clothing purchases and promotes mindful consumption – after all, the more varying colours you have, the harder it is to find other pieces of clothes that match, driving you to consume more, and so goes the cycle. 

Classic Capsule Wardrobe

  • Neutral-coloured tops (white, black, gray)
  • Basic tees and tanks in versatile colours (white, black, navy)
  • Button-down shirts in white and chambray
  • Sweaters or cardigans in neutral tones (grey, beige)
  • Tailored blazer in a neutral colour (black, navy)
  • Classic denim jeans in a flattering fit
  • Tailored trousers in black or navy
  • Little black dress (LBD) for versatile dressing up or down
  • Skirts in neutral colours (black, navy, khaki)
  • Comfortable flats, versatile heels, and casual sneakers

Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe:

  • Simplified colour palette with mostly black, white, grey, and muted tones
  • Essential tops like white and black tees, tanks, and long sleeves
  • Basic bottoms such as black leggings, jeans, and tailored trousers
  • Outerwear like a black coat, denim jacket, or trench coat
  • Dresses in simple silhouettes and neutral colours
  • Accessories kept to a minimum with versatile pieces like a black belt and simple jewellery
  • Shoes in neutral colours and classic styles (black ankle boots, white sneakers)

Further Tips for Capsule Wardrobe Creation:

  • Quality Over Quantity: Invest in high-quality, durable pieces that will last longer and withstand multiple wears and washes.
  • Mix and Match: Choose items that can be easily mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits, maximizing the versatility of your wardrobe.
  • Consider Your Lifestyle: Tailor your capsule wardrobe to suit your lifestyle, including work attire, casual wear, and special occasions.
  • Seasonal Rotation: Rotate your capsule wardrobe seasonally to accommodate changing weather and occasions, storing off-season items neatly to maintain organisation.
  • Accessories as Accents: Use accessories like scarves, belts, hats, and jewellery to add personality and variety to your outfits without cluttering your closet.
  • Regular Edit: Periodically review and edit your capsule wardrobe to remove items that no longer serve you or align with your style, making room for new additions if necessary.

Secondhand Shopping

Embrace thrift shopping and secondhand stores to give pre-loved clothing a new lease on life. Not only does this extend the lifespan of garments, but it also reduces demand for new clothing production, which has significant environmental impacts.

Clothing Swaps: Organize clothing swap events with friends, family, or local communities to exchange gently used clothing items. It's a fun and sustainable way to refresh your wardrobe without spending money or contributing to clothing waste.

Repair and Upcycling: Learn basic sewing skills to repair damaged clothing items or give them a new look through upcycling. Whether it's mending a small tear, replacing a button, or transforming old garments into something new, repairing and upcycling prolongs the lifespan of clothing and reduces waste.

Conscious Fabric Choices: When shopping for new clothing, opt for sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, Tencel, or recycled materials. These fabrics have lower environmental impacts compared to conventional ones and promote a more sustainable fashion industry.

Further Tips for Secondhand Shopping

  • Explore Various Stores: Visit thrift stores, consignment shops, vintage boutiques, flea markets, and online resale platforms to discover a diverse range of secondhand treasures.
  • Inspect for Quality: When shopping secondhand, pay attention to the quality and condition of items. Look for signs of wear, damage, or stains, and prioritize pieces that are well-made and durable.
  • Try Before You Buy: Take the time to try on clothing and accessories to ensure they fit well and flatter your body shape. Don't hesitate to experiment with different styles and sizes to find the perfect fit.
  • Be Open-Minded: Keep an open mind while secondhand shopping and embrace the thrill of the hunt. You never know what hidden gems you might uncover or unique pieces you might come across.
  • Support Local Businesses: Consider supporting local thrift stores and consignment shops in your community, as they often contribute to charitable causes and promote sustainability within the fashion industry.
  • Mix and Match: Once you've curated your secondhand finds, mix and match them with existing pieces in your wardrobe to create stylish and unique outfits that reflect your personal style.

Clothing Swap


You can refresh your wardrobe sustainably, discover new-to-you pieces, and enjoy the thrill of finding hidden treasures among your friends' closets.

  • Bring Quality Items: Ensure that the clothing items you bring to the swap are in good condition, clean, and free of major flaws or damages. This ensures a positive swapping experience for everyone involved.
  • Know Your Sizes: Be aware of your clothing sizes and preferences to make it easier to find pieces that fit well and suit your style.
  • Be Open to Exploration: Take the opportunity to try on different styles, colors, and brands that you might not have considered before. Clothing swaps are a great way to experiment with new looks without financial commitment.
  • Give and Receive: Approach the swap with a spirit of generosity by offering items that you no longer wear or need. Likewise, be open to receiving items that others are offering, even if they're not exactly what you were expecting.
  • Consider Alterations: If you find a piece that you love but doesn't fit perfectly, consider investing in minor alterations to tailor it to your body shape and preferences.
  • Have Fun: Clothing swaps are not only about finding new pieces for your wardrobe but also about connecting with friends, sharing stories, and enjoying a sense of community. Approach the event with a positive attitude and have fun exploring the available options.

Repair and Upcycling 

Start Small: If you're new to sewing or upcycling, start with simple projects like patching holes, hemming pants, or sewing on buttons. As you gain confidence and skills, you can tackle more complex projects.

Learn Basic Techniques: Familiarize yourself with basic sewing techniques such as hand stitching, backstitching, and running stitch. These skills will come in handy for a wide range of repair and upcycling projects.

Get Creative: Don't be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with different materials, colours, and textures. Upcycling allows you to unleash your creativity and transform old items into something new and unique.

Embrace Imperfection: Remember that upcycling is about creativity and resourcefulness, not perfection. Embrace the charm of handmade and upcycled items, and don't be discouraged by minor flaws or imperfections.

Share Your Skills: Consider hosting a repair or upcycling workshop in your community to share your skills and knowledge with others. Encouraging others to repair and upcycle their clothing promotes sustainability and reduces waste on a larger scale.

Repair Essentials:

  • Basic sewing kit with needles, thread, and scissors
  • Fabric patches or iron-on patches for mending holes or tears
  • Sewing machine for more advanced repairs and alterations
  • YouTube tutorials or online resources for learning basic sewing techniques

Need a little inspiration? Try the following:

  • Transform old jeans into trendy denim shorts or a denim skirt
  • Repurpose scarves or fabric remnants into headbands, scrunchies, or accessories
  • Convert worn-out sweaters into cosy blankets, pillow covers, or cushion covers
  • Use beetroot juice or turmeric to refresh or customise the colour of garments
  • Embellish plain items with embroidery, patches, or appliques for a personalised touch 

By incorporating repair and upcycling into your wardrobe, you can extend the lifespan of your clothing, reduce your environmental impact, and express your creativity in meaningful ways. 

Conscious Fabric Choices

Some fabrics are more environmentally friendly than others – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a range of synthetic materials can take a little longer to break down. Here’s the rundown on sustainable fabric:

Organic Cotton: Choose clothing made from organic cotton, which is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Organic cotton farming promotes soil health and reduces environmental impact.

Hemp: Try garments made from hemp, a fast-growing and sustainable crop that requires minimal water and pesticides to cultivate. Hemp fabric is durable, breathable, and naturally resistant to mold and UV rays.

Tencel (Lyocell): Look for clothing made from Tencel, a type of lyocell fabric derived from sustainably sourced wood pulp, typically from eucalyptus trees. Tencel production uses a closed-loop process that recycles water and solvents, minimizing waste and environmental impact.

Bamboo: Consider garments made from bamboo fabric, which is derived from the fast-growing bamboo plant. Bamboo fabric is soft, breathable, and biodegradable, making it an eco-friendly choice for clothing – and a good solution for those of you sweating it out here in the Australian summer!

Linen: Incorporate linen clothing into your wardrobe, as linen is made from the flax plant and is known for its durability, breathability, and natural texture. Linen production requires fewer pesticides and water compared to other crops like cotton.

Recycled Materials: Seek out clothing made from recycled materials, such as recycled polyester (rPET) or recycled nylon (rEconyl). These fabrics are made from post-consumer plastic waste, diverting plastic from landfills and reducing the need for virgin materials.

Further Tips for Conscious Fabric Choices:

  • Check Certifications: Look for certifications such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for organic cotton and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 for textiles tested for harmful substances. These certifications ensure that the fabric meets specific environmental and social criteria.
  • Consider Durability: Choose fabrics that are durable and long-lasting, as they will withstand frequent wear and washing, reducing the need for replacement.
  • Evaluate Environmental Impact: Research the environmental impact of different fabrics, including water usage, chemical use, and energy consumption during production. Opt for fabrics with lower environmental footprints whenever possible.
  • Support Ethical Brands: Seek out brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices. Look for transparency in the supply chain and commitments to fair labour practices, environmental stewardship, and animal welfare.
  • By making conscious fabric choices for your capsule wardrobe, you can reduce your environmental footprint, support sustainable practices in the fashion industry, and build a wardrobe that aligns with your values.

By implementing a few strategic hacks and adopting a mindset of mindful consumption, you can gradually transition to a wardrobe that is both stylish and sustainable. 

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