I have nothing to wear!!!!”

How many times have you scream those words while the sweat starts to form between your cleavage, and you’re sitting, defeated, on the entire contents of your wardrobe which you have strewn in anger on the ground?

You’re already running late for the date/party/work but despite the fact that you’ve gotten dressed thousands of times before, you just can’t seem to make it work today. Girlfriend, we’ve all been there. Me probably more than most. My now boyfriend asked with a smirk on our second date, “So how many outfit changes did you do before coming out tonight?” Because I was going for laid-back-cool-girl at this stage I replied “Oh I just threw this on after finishing work. Who wants to spend hours trying to work out what to wear?”  But truth be told, only an hour before, I had been running between my wardrobe and my flatmates, completely flustered and shouting those exact words — I have nothing to wear!!! — as I tried on my flare jeans for the 10th time, determined to make them work this time. That was a year ago, and since then I have had less and

That was a year ago, and since then I have had less wardrobe disasters. This is all because I have been trying to have a mindful, simple wardrobe. (One of the reasons I’m embarking on the capsule wardrobe experiment). It’s not easy, but it’s a great challenge that’s for sure!

With mindfulness and meditation on the rise, it’s interesting to note that the practice is infiltrating into other areas of our lives. The popularity of the documentary Minimalism is just one example of how people are seeking a more simple existence. As a woman who loves fashion and shopping, but stresses on the reg about what to wear, my wardrobe seemed like a good place to start living simply.

Since I’ve cut back how many dresses and jackets I have hanging in my wardrobe, I’ve found I no longer stress in the mornings about what to wear. I created a work uniform of black jeans and a silk shirt (this various during extremely hot and cold days of course). Much to my surprise, no one has commented on how I always seem to wear the same thing every day.

So here are some ways to curate a mindful wardrobe:

Only buy what you love, need or simply can’t live life without.

Most of us only wear 20% of our wardrobes. How often do you find yourself going back to your old faithful jeans even despite the fact that you just bought a new pair you were certain you couldn’t live without? Marie Kondo in her book “Spark Joy” talks about only keeping things that give you joy. So when you’re buying something new, ask yourself “does this bring me joy?” or “do I really love it?” According to ….. consumer psychologist, we regret the splurges we didn’t buy more than not buying something cheaper or practical. So if you love it, you need it and you simply can’t live without it, then buy it. You’ll wear the heck out of it, so it will be worth it in the long run!

 

Curate your wardrobe each season.

Think about what you have and what you need. Jump on Pinterest and create your ideal wardrobe. Then find brands that make those items. Ideally look for brands who use organic cotton, natural fibres and make their products ethically, but if you love a brand and you aren’t sure about their ethical credentials, however, you know you wear their clothes for years to come and love them, then buy it!

A good way to keep heading towards an ethical and sustainable wardrobe is to ask the brand who made their clothes and if they have any environmental or labour policies. Engaging in this kind of dialogue is important because brands will listen to what their loyal customers want and make efforts to respond accordingly.

 

Get to know ethical brands that make clothes you’ll love.

I have been a part of the Good On You team for over two and a half years, so I’m certainly biased in suggesting this app, but it does also help to make shopping a lot easier. The app has ratings for over 1,000 fashion brands, based on how they treat people, the planet and animals. You can finally know exactly how Zara performs on their sustainable practices and how they treat their workers. You can also discover new ethical brands you might not have known about.This is a powerful tool when you start on your ethical journey.

 

Commit to wearing something 30 times.

Offset the energy, time and cost of the garment by getting the most out of it. There are some items, like jeans or sneakers, you know you’ll wear far more than 30 times, and others like evening gowns you know you won’t, but this is a good rule of thumb when you buy something. Ask yourself if it will last 30 wears, or if it will date too quickly.

 

Know your style, and buy for it.

As I mentioned, I have a work uniform. Black or blue (Nobody Denim) Cult Skinny jeans, rotating silk shirts (my friend’s label The Fable have beautiful, affordable and mindfully produced silk shirts), a jacket or trench and a pair of sneakers, brogues or boots. I don’t need to think about what I’ll wear each day and everything works together. Each time I buy something new, I ask myself if it suits my style, and what it will go with. I always think about the colour as well! When you have an affinity for a particular colour, your wardrobe can quickly resemble that love for all blush before you realise it!

 

Always buy quality over quantity.

It’s tempting when those H&M billboards tell you they have the perfect pair of jeans for $25, but is it really going to last 30 wears and still look great? If you’re on a budget, wait for the sales and then buy from brands you know and trust. Or seek out well-made clothes at op-shops. Some of my greatest pieces have come from op-shops!

I do love beautiful labels as well, so I sometimes invest in a piece or wait until their warehouse sales. Although they don’t completely meet my ethical standards, I am certain that they’re made very well and I will love the item for years to come. Far better than any cheap alternatives I could buy.

Do you have any suggestions for how to curate a mindful wardrobe? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Feature image in collaboration with Noble Studio

Posted by:Bethany Noble

Bethany is a Sydney-based writer and social entrepreneur. She has been curating an ethical wardrobe for 7 years and loves sharing her journey with people.

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