Challenge #37 ~ Shop Your Closet

Read the blog post on the November Theme – FASHION

Photo by Alyssa Strohmann on Unsplash 

Are you running out of closet space for all your clothes? Are there clothes you have worn only once or a few times or perhaps never even though you thought they were a “must-have” when you saw them in a store? Well, we all have some of these items taking up space and yet, aren’t able to part with them. 

This week our challenge is to take a look at our wardrobes and sort them out. When we “shop our closets” we may discover long-lost treasures and/or give some ‘outdated’ clothes a fresh new look with a few tricks,  combining ethics and aesthetics and reducing the pile of waste generated every second from fast fashion. 

We want to take a stab at mindless consumption, as discussed in our monthly blog Fashioning a Greener Future, and turn our attention to what we already have. In addition to saving some money for new things, we apply our own creativity and twists to reimagine our existing clothes, and extend their value in a circular economy. We can lengthen clothes, shorten them, stitch on some fancy borders and appliqués, create some new patchwork items from broken or outdated clothes. The opportunities are endless. In Doha we have a number of souqs and specialty stores that sell sewing supplies, including yarns, buttons, borders, and laces beyond our dreams. It is fun to shop these items and think of clothes that we can upgrade with a bit of creativity, energy, and relatively little effort. Of course, we will make sure to select natural materials for the items and supplies to avoid plastics and synthetics. Showing off newly updated clothes that didn’t cost much to spruce up is very emotionally rewarding.

Why are emotions so important when it comes to our clothes? We are only human and want to look good. Our clothes project who we are, express our personalities, values, styles, and create our public image. We want to make a good impression and our appearance is the first lens through which others see – and dare we say – judge us. We wish for that impact to be favorable, whatever that means. 

Discovering our personal styles and signatures in dress is hard enough on its own. How can we possibly add concerns for global warming and Sustainable Development Goals to this challenge?  

Shopping our closet means many things. First and foremost, in this context, it addresses mindless consumption and opens our eyes to and increases appreciation for what we already have. Shopping our closet means reframing our needs and wants, looking at our wardrobes from a fresh new perspective and turning what we already have into new looks to reduce waste from fashion.

Get started with these tips

  • Ask critical questions of the clothes in your closet. Does this shirt, pants, skirt, etc make us happy? Does it express my style, values, who I am? 
  • Organize the closet by season, size, and occasion in ‘capsule collections’. We all need realistic advice to make things work. Just because we have not worn certain pieces doesn’t mean we should get rid of them. The secret is to organize our closets. Our body weights and shapes change and that’s ok. When our closets display our clothes by size, season, and occasion (business, casual, workout, party, dress up), it will be easier to find what we look for, and to waste less time and money in getting dressed to look our best.
  • Assemble essential outfits from a few favorite high-quality basic pieces (including tops, bottoms, scarves, and jewelry) together as complete outfits. We often have a small number of clothes that we wear most frequently. Combining these basics we can create varying and interesting looks quickly without much time or thought. It also makes us realize that we really wear a relatively small number of clothes. 
  • Declutter! Do a monthly closet sweep! The more often we do it, the easier it gets to purge and part with old, worn out clothes and rediscover long-lost treasures. 
  • Keep clothes that serve a purpose in your life. Last week’s challenge was all about wearing our values. Expressing environmental, human, or animal rights with our clothes purchases is getting easier. But perhaps a piece is worn out; instead of throwing it out we can return it to our favorite brands that keep fabrics and fibers in a circular economy and may even get a discount for something new and sustainably made. 
  • Keep clothes that add value to your life. It can be a particular brand or designer, the style of the piece, the price we paid for it, or the memory our clothes carry, where we bought it, whom we bought it from, who gave it to us. It all matters to whether our clothes make us truly happy. It is important to acknowledge it. 
  • Window-shop for new inspirations to help decide how best to turn what we already have into new trendy fashionable outfits. 
  • Take some me-time or invite friends for sorting out and sharing advice, new ideas and talents to repair, dye, shorten/lengthen, and revamp what you already have.

This challenge is all about getting dressed quickly and looking fantastic when half asleep in the morning without much thinking and spending less while reducing our carbon footprint through personal choices and actions, addressing SDGs #3 Good Health and Wellbeing, #12 Responsible Consumption and Production and #13 Climate Action

Yes, you, too, can make a difference in the world, one person at a time.