Sustainable Fashion Challenge

Over the past nine days I have been taking part in the 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge‏ created by Summer Edwards of the lovely blog Tortoise & Lady Grey. It has been great fun and I thought I would share some of my thoughts from some of the challenges so far.

So far the challenges have been quite simple. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I more mean simple as the challenges are all ones that you take as little or as much time over. The individual challenges really got you thinking about your relationship with fashion and how you want that relationship to be moving forward.

So here come some reflections from the first eight days of the challenge. On day 1 I rated myself as a 4 on knowledge of sustainable fashion although I always want to learn more.

Reflections on my Relationship to Fashion

I am starting to want to change my vocabularly around fashion, and start to use the word style in place of “fashion”. I think that this is because fashion is something I personally equate with buying, seasons, must-haves and “investment” pieces. With fashion I feel I keep trying to buy one more thing while I feel style is more personal with elements that come from magazines, TV and other media our personality is so much more on show with style than with fashion.

I like to try to plan ahead but I am more of an impulse buyer and I think this can be seen in the amount of patterns that exist in my wardrobe, the majority of which I love, but there is a distinct lack of plain basics.

While I don’t go shopping really at all anymore (I’d rather been on horseback 🙂 ) I still enjoy window shopping online and love blogs that show off the style of others.

If I am being totally honest I think I spend too much on clothing, even though it is now 2nd hand or ethical/sustainable items I think I simply still buy too much and too often. I also often have misplaced ideas as to what is a reasonable thing to spend money on, for example I did find it tough to spend the money on my new riding boots even though they will last for years and be worn at least once a week (hopefully more).

Reflections on the relationship with my current wardrobe

When I open my wardrobe in the morning (this is metaphorically opening as the wardrobe is never closed) I usually have no idea what I am going to wear. Unless I am off to the horse riding but even then working out what to wear on the top half is sometimes a little time consuming.

I often have trouble deciding what to wear and how it will work in practice e.g. if I am cycling to work, running in my lunch break, meeting colleagues or externals or what I am doing after work. I am the type of person who is carrying three different tops and a pair of shoes with them (my bags are like the tardis).

When I look at my wardrobe I still think I am missing items. That if I could just find X or Y then my whole wardrobe would work together and I could stop shopping for a while.

I also like to be able to wear different outfits depending on my mood. I am not someone who has a ‘uniform’ but there probably is an underlying theme to what I like to wear. I particularly like wearing relaxed tops or jumpers with smarter or tighter fitting trousers or skirts and I like prints so I will always have an element of it somewhere in my outfit even if it is just a scarf.

Finally, a particularly apt thought as I try to find an outfit for a wedding this weekend. I sometimes feel I am not very good at having nicer going out clothes or a wedding outfit. I am quite a casual woman at heart and I think that comes through in my clothing choices. I am beginning to worry about what I will wear on Saturday. It might be jeans at this rate 🙂

Some other elements of the challenge

Next up after all the reflecting was a pruning of your existing wardrobe, I do this regularly so there wasn’t actually too much to be given away and there was also only one item with outstanding mending required. I have decided to attempt to alter a top too, I like the colour and stripes on the t-shirt but the sleeves have gone a little baggy at the wrist. I have cut these off and Wunderwebbed it to make the sleeves 3/4 length and due to my love of peter pan collars I plan to add a collar to the top. It might not work but in which case it will be turned into rags. I also sat and mended the small hole in a pair of exercise tights last night, not very well but you have to start somewhere with this stuff and more importantly now these tights can be put back in the exercise wear rotation.

One of the days challenges was to style an item in your wardrobe differently. I chose one of my shirts for work and style it for the weekend. I am definitely going to try this look out.

Outfit using shirt, waistcoat and boots
Couldn’t resist a picture of the new riding boots.

I am now off to try today’s challenge which is all about thinking a little more about budgets eek not sure I want to know how much I spend on clothing! I will post about the challenge again but in the meantime why not come and join me?

20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge

Oh and in case you didn’t see it earlier this week I did a wee interview with the Moral Fibres blog (ace blog, click through and have a look around), apologies for the cheesiest photo in world but that’s the only pose I know 🙂

Your Ethical Style – Stephannie Hay


8 thoughts on “Sustainable Fashion Challenge”

  1. I’m thrilled that you are still exploring sustainable fashion, wardrobe and style issues. In your piece over at Moral Fibres you mentioned you liked the interwar / Poirotesque look and above you referred to tighter skirts with pattern tops. Based on a few of my knitting pattern books, you are on trend 😉 (Okay, I admit that knitting books may not be a barometer of cool but knitting is not as fuddy duddy as in the 70s!) I’m seeing lots of longish pencil skirts and oversized, drapey or highly patterned tops…, all of which appeals to my love of interwar elegance and fun!

    1. Interestingly my boss has just given me a knitting book with patterns from the 40s and 50s that have been updated and I pretty much want to knit everything in it now! I am currently learning to knit although it is slow progress but something I am happy to work at as I think if I take my time I will be able to stick at it.
      I think it is only right to point out Poirot – not only a brilliant collection of novels and short stories but the TV series is providing me with endless style inspiration!

      1. Sorry for the delay in responding, I left the book in my desk at work ☺ The book is Coronation Knits by Susan Crawford. I think I might have to do a bit more practice before anything I make looks like those patterns!

      2. I thought it might be one of the Susan Crawford ones. Did you know she is planning a new book (to be released late this year/early next) called “Knits for a cold climate”, inspired by the Mitford sisters. This suggests lots of 20s-30s gorgeousness so worth keeping your eyes open for that one…!

  2. I like your differentiating between the concepts of style and fashion. Isn’t it so eye-opening to participate in a challenge like the one you described? I’ve participated in The October Dress project, wearing 1 dress for 31 days straight. It really helps to reshape how you view your perception of your closet, your own self, and the fashion world as a whole. Thanks for sharing your heart!

    1. Thanks, I totally agree with you on how these challenges can change and refocus your ideas. Wow the October dress project sounds hard, I am impressed.

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