The 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge: Planning Your Wardrobe

Well I haven’t been great at keeping on top of the 20 day sustainable fashion challenge. I have been reading the emails and reflecting but not interacting as much as I would have liked to have done.

In order to rectify this I thought I would do a few blog posts on the challenges in the final days starting with an incredibly apt one about planning.

I am a firm believer in planning and planning my wardrobe is something I have always wanted to do, in fact in the past I think I might have been bold enough to suggest I did plan. Then I had to do an emergency dress run a fortnight ago and it reminded me that – well, no I do not plan. A little more planning would have saved me money and ensured I didn’t end up with a non-sustainable, non-ethical dress. (Sorry folks, my first purchase in years from a non ethical brand (that isn’t 2nd hand) and it was all down to a lack of planning).

Rather than detail how I managed it here (another jumpsuit fiasco – lesson learnt) I will just say that I adore the dress and already plan to wear it multiple times this year alone.

Feeling particularly sheepish I opened my email for day 17 of the challenge and thought – well this one I really have to do.

Let’s face it, planning is key for a wardrobe that functions in your life, is sustainable and ethical plus can save you money. Not convinced? Well how many items have you bought spur of the moment and then got home and realised how little you have that goes with it, how it isn’t quite what you wanted or when the heck you will wear it! I speak from experience folks, I have always wanted to be someone who just owns the clothes she needs but with the whole system designed to get us to constantly buy and shop then sometimes taking a step back, looking at what you have, what you wear of what you have and what you actually do day to day means that finally you won’t have to think about what to wear…or is it just me that has a goal that I will stop writing about clothes and buying and just take pictures of outfits 🙂

So I have put a little time in thinking about my wardrobe, what I am missing and what might need replacing over the coming year, Summer’s emails are incredibly useful here as they contain lots of questions to get you thinking about your clothing.

I have a lot of sports clothing that seems to be holding up pretty well, testament I think to buying the best quality I could (or asking for gifts). These items are worn for a variety of sports and activities and almost all are worn to ride in. There is a decent mix of vest tops, short-sleeved and long-sleeved items – essential in Scotland’s ever changing weather. A pair of long running leggings are on their last legs and I thought about replacing them but I have to be honest – how much running am I actually doing at the moment? My other running leggings are Skins and I have to say, they are brilliant and are showing little signs of wear – perhaps next Autumn I might need more running leggings until then I can always brave the cold in my capris or *shudders* my shorts.

Trawling through my whole wardrobe a couple of things are evident, I need to buy some tights and there is a distinct lack of neutral tops and jumpers. I am clearly a pattern junkie but I think a plain jumper would be a real boost to my wardrobe. Other than that the majority of my clothes are in good condition and are worn regularly. I could perhaps benefit from a smart, going-out top but I can keep an eye out in charity shops and eBay for one of those.

I believe over the next year some basics such as a new sports bra (essential), underwear and pyjama tops might be required but all of these can be a wait and see kind of issue.

Technical wear wise I could do with some decent waterproof trousers – life is too short for soapy knees and trench crotch – I can’t keep using my snowboarding trousers as then I will have to buy new ones of those plus they are too baggy to wear on the bike without causing a comedy falling moment. I also want to try reproofing my jacket and shorts before making any decisions about those although a Finisterre (non-down) jacket or gilet is calling me and the cosiness for riding is just too tantalising.

Shoes-wise I am moving to fully non-leather although not binning the shoes I own currently as I don’t feel that is particularly sustainable. I need to try and get my smart flat shoes resoled but if they can’t be saved then perhaps a new pair of those might be needed in the Spring.

So there you have it, my planning of my wardrobe. When I actually sat down and thought about it this didn’t take me too long and I kind of enjoyed it – in my ‘I love making a list’ kind of way. After undertaking the 20 days sustainable fashion challenge I felt much more prepared to do this as I had a bit of structure and impetus.

How about anyone else? Do you plan your wardrobe like this? How often do you review it?

I am keen to revisit this next year to see how accurately I managed to plan. I reckon I might have a ‘fun’ purchase or two (for that read patterned) but hopefully I pretty much stick to this plan.

Fancy joining the 20 day sustainable fashion challenge? Sign up here.

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7 thoughts on “The 20 Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge: Planning Your Wardrobe”

  1. I try but I find it hard to stick to, unfortunately. Either I struggle to find what I’m looking for or I get distracted by thrift finds or ethical brands’ current season’s offerings. I’d like to be better about it though!

    1. That’s exactly what I think I might end up doing! I am interested to see how I actually do on this one, never really planned my wardrobe before – reckon I will need to hide during the ethical brands’ sales.

  2. I’m into my second official year of rationing, third unofficially, so planning is now second nature. I start the year with about 1/2 to 2/3 of my allowance allocated leaving space for frivolity and emergencies. One of the upsides of this process is that many of the ‘wants’ have been bred out of me by now, a bit like no longer wanting nuts, coffee, tuna. (I think, having reached an age by which I’ve seen most styles come around for the second or third time in my life helsp ;-)) Psychologically it is important to allow space for a few treats/indulgences when planning so it doesn’t feel like purgatory. In my case, if Katherine Hepburn trousers (high waist, side zip, wide legs and turn-ups) or a smart below the knee, 30s pencil skirt…. are de rigueur again, I’ll allow myself that treat!

    1. I think that was one of my issues on the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge – a severe lack of planning. I am hoping to make things simpler for myself with this bit of work but time will tell. I reckon it will get easier with time as you say. Oh and if you find those trousers or skirt be sure to share 🙂

  3. Thanks for mentioning the 20 Day Challenge – I’ve signed up for it and might post about it on the blog. I think the other issue with planning is how many times I PLAN to buy something on my list but it ends up being not really what I wanted (fit, capacity, look) and then I end up having to buy it again. This happened during the WWC with sneakers. I ended up with Unstitched Utilities sneakers which were neither breathable like canvas or waterproof like some of the Keep neoprene shoes so I ended up essentially re-buying that category of shoe again. Same thing with a backpack – my Baggu wasn’t big or comfortable enough if I had any weight in it and my Chrome was too large. I ended up with a Vans backpack that supports a charity (bought resale as part of a charity donation to someone else who’d won it in a raffle) and it’s just right. But that’s 3 backpacks in.

  4. Sometimes it’s just no good having a wardrobe full of second hand jump suits. You can’t always find items you love in second hand shops and occasionally it’s impossible to find something you love from an ethical company. And then you have to start thinking if you purchased an item that you thought was just o.k how long would you keep it? I have a skirt that I purchased 10 years ago from French Connection, it’s my favorite skirt…..I love it. I’m sure it will keep going for another 10 years and after that if there is any life left in it……well it’s so pretty it would do for fabric for a craft project. So to me this item feels very sustainable but yet it was not when I purchased it. So your dress could turn out to be sustainable in a way. xx

    1. Brilliantly put Hannah. I adore the dress and when I put it on I loved it. It is so true that this dress is likely to be a sustainable purchase for me through its longevity in my wardrobe. I also have a skirt that now must be around eight years old and its still worn each week, yes its from river island but it has remained a favourite and I have never parted with it – so I guess that has been a sustainable purchase. Oh and I really need to stop buying jumpsuits ethical or 2nd hand I think I may have to give up on a jumpsuit 🙂

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