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  • Writer's pictureKeren-Jo Thomas

How to have a more sustainable life?

My sustainable wardrobe journey with Lisa-Marie Armstrong from "Sustainable Style Academy"

We started the process with a colour analysis and determined that I have a warm skin tone.

And then the clearing began! We went through all my corporate suits, and most of my clothes I’ve donated to charities and friends. This challenge has made me realise I don’t actually like clothes shopping, and so I’ve been buying impulsively with no thought behind my purchases.

While it can be challenging to let go of clothes that I’ve outgrown and no longer represent me or fit properly, it's been helpful to remember that donating or selling them can benefit others and reduce waste.

We looked at the key pieces of winter clothing I have left and put some outfits together that I’d never thought of combining. Then we made a list of what was missing, and Lisa-Marie suggested places for me to source the pieces. Together we’ve created a capsule wardrobe of items that I love and truly represent my personal style and values.

I also bought a couple of blazers from a client of mine who was selling them on the Swiss site Ricardo. When we were working together last year, as part of our review process she’d decided not to buy clothes for a whole year, and any clothes she no longer wore that were expensive and had given her joy, she chose to sell on Ricardo, which is something I’m now considering doing as well.

For the first time in my life, I now have a focus when I go shopping. I know what I want, and I don’t get side tracked by things I don’t need, and I’m actually enjoying the process of trying things on before I buy them.

Sustainability is the name of the game for me this year and beyond, and I’m determined to jump off the consumer merry-go-round of continuously buying!

Reflections from The Sustainable Stylist

Keren-Jo is one of my more advanced clients if we're looking from a sustainable style development perspective.

There are different ways to act sustainably with our clothing and Keren-Jo has chosen the path of minimalism and has had to downsize her wardrobe and her life considerably. This requires that a person has already gone through the necessary mindset shift to accomplish this kind of a task. Most of my clients haven't reached this point yet, so it was interesting for me to begin working with Keren-Jo at this point in her journey.

At the beginning of our first session, she had around 50 items in total in her closet. We looked at the pieces that she was unsure about, and what items fit, and which didn't. By the time it was over, we had around 30 pieces left.

The most important thing for Keren-Jo at this point was to find as many style combinations as possible using those 30 pieces, so that she has plenty of diverse looks to wear.

I also looked at where she has wardrobe gaps – things that she needs in order to make some looks more complete and give more fluidity to her closet as a whole – and I gave her suggestions as to where she could start looking. We also listed a few items that needed replacing (like her white blouse) and talked about the importance of buying a good quality replacement that will last and look great for a long time.

We completed our session with some advice on how she can begin passing on the clothes that she doesn't need anymore. This is one of the biggest hurdles for most of my clients, as the clothing collections bins and donation centres aren't the sustainable option. While sometimes they might seem like the only option available, we have to do better here by actively looking for the right homes for our unwanted clothes to reduce the amount of waste that we produce.

Keren-Jo is an inspiration and I'm looking forward to continuing the optimisation of her style in the coming weeks.

A lot of our overstuffed closet and style issues come from the fact that we over consume clothing. For those who want to explore their own shopping habits and reconnect more to their own closets, I invite you to join my ‘No Clothes Shopping Challenge’.

I’ve been on a pledge to buy no clothes for 2023 (a first for me as a fashion lover and former over-consumer!) and decided that I want to invite others to do the same.

So, I’ve created a community where we can learn to build more sustainable habits together and learn from each other's experiences. I’m hosting the ‘No Clothes Shopping Challenge’ on Facebook through my company Sustainable Style Academy, and you can access the group by answering a very short questionnaire. CLICK HERE to access the group page and get involved.

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