This post contains affiliate links | At the end of 2019, I made the decision to stop shopping from fast fashion brands and start shopping sustainably. Arguably, as a complete beginner, I’m not one to be sharing sustainable fashion tips. Or perhaps I am? When I shared my last post about how I was embarking on a year of sustainable fashion, there were plenty of comments from people who also wanted to do the same thing.

Sustainable Fashion Tips For Beginners

And completely switching up your shopping habits, often after years of doing the same thing, is hard. It can be difficult to know where to start. So this post is for everyone who want some SUPER BASIC sustainable fashion tips from someone who’s just dipping their toes in the eco-friendly waters and actually…

Is really enjoying it! 

So what were my reasons to switching up my shopping habits at the end of last year? Well, I explain this in more detail in my first post but in short, I realised I needed to do my part. I’m not Vegan and I use single-use plastic more than I care to admit. It’s all things I’m working on but it hit me last year that I couldn’t sit back and do NOTHING anymore.

I realised fashion and shopping habits would be the easiest thing for me to change. I’m not a HUGE shopper anyway, especially when it comes to clothes. But I would rely a bit too heavily on fast fashion brands; for the ease, the convenience and the shockingly low prices. The more I leaned about fast fashion, the more I needed to stop feeding into that industry.

Are you wanting to start on your own eco-friendly fashion journey? Not quite sure where to begin? Let me share some sustainable fashion tips from a complete BEGINNER and some things I’ve learned along the way:

Research sustainable fashion brands and keep them bookmarked

I think when you say sustainable fashion to someone, they often think that that means EVERYTHING must come from eBay or charity shops and EVERYTHING must be second hand. And whilst – at least for me – that’s a huge part of it, there are also some incredible sustainable fashion brands out there which are great to use on the odd occasion – especially to treat yourself!

One of my favourites that I’ve found so far is Thought (who I’m thrilled to be an affiliate for!), a sustainable brand who use organic and natural fabrics, like bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. I love their beautiful, high-quality pieces so if you’re on the lookout for a sustainable fashion brand, I’d highly recommend checking them out!

Wash your clothes less and try and avoid the tumble dryer as much as possible

Another thing I’ve been doing is making a conscious effort to wash my clothes less. I’ve always been terrible for wearing something for 4 hours then automatically throwing it in the washing basket. And there’s much more to sustainable fashion than actually buying items – it’s how you manage and care for those items which matters too.

Shop second hand!

Obviously the main sustainable fashion tip and one that you’ll hear about that most and that’s shopping second hand. Whether that’s in charity shops, on eBay or Depop, shopping second hand is one of the best things you can do not only for the environment but also for your bank balance! I bought a pair of second hand Sketchers from eBay which I needed for exercise for a fraction of the price they would have been new – and they’re like new anyway!

How To Shop Sustainably

Sustainable Fashion Tips

Do NOT throw your clothes away – sell or donate them

If, like me, you enjoy a de-clutter of your wardrobe, this is a point worth taking note of. The easiest thing to do is throw your clothes away but I urge you to re-think doing that in the future. There are plenty of things you can do with your old clothes, including donating them to charity shops, to clothes banks, to friends and family or selling them on eBay or Depop for a bit of extra cash!

Check out this post from Teresa at Outlandish for a full guide on how to recycle clothes sustainably.

Utilize what you already have

Let’s be honest… we don’t NEED loads and loads and loads of clothing items. Despite what most brands say, every time they’re pushing a new line or a new collection on us. We DON’T need it. Of course that’s not to say you shouldn’t treat yourself every now and again – I really want to treat myself to a few items from Thought when I have the financial means to do so.

But try and utilize what’s already in your wardrobe. Is there an item that needs mending? Mend it, instead of buying a new one. Something you’re not a fan of anymore? Can you create something new from it? (i.e turning a pair of trousers into shorts). This is also a great chance to get creative!

Where am I at now?

These are all the things I’ve been doing within the last 6 months or so, since I started on my sustainable fashion journey. I know I have a lot to learn and a long way to go but I feel like I’ve made a good start. The best part for me is that I find shopping sustainably much more fun. Is it as convenient? No. Does it take longer? Yes.

But it also introduces you to some clothing items that you probably wouldn’t have found had you hopped on to the easiest fast fashion website!

I’m really enjoying looking through Depop in particular for items of clothing because you can usually find some really lovely bits on there. I purchased a pair of bamboo tights from Thought, which are SO COMFORTABLE. And two pairs of leggings from them too which I only bought just this month and my GOD. I’ve never felt comfort like it. Apart from the Sketchers I mentioned earlier, I haven’t really bought any more clothing. I’ve just not needed it. And the best bit?

I don’t miss fast fashion brands AT ALL.

Do you shop sustainably? Are you a sustainable fashion expert and can share some tips and advice to us newbies? Have you ever found any gems in charity shops?

113 Comments

  1. Amazing post! I never gave much thought to shopping sustainably until recently when I was speaking with a friend who is very knowledgeable about the fashion industry. I never knew how how important it was until now and these are some great tips, thank you!

      1. I agree, I can however appreciate that people have different circumstances which affects their buying habits.

        But I feel more are becoming aware and educated which is amazing! X

  2. I made the switch to be more sustainable too when it comes to fashion! When I was visiting my parents in the US, I went to the thrift stores all the time & I found a ton of great clothing for very cheap & even free! However, the thrift stores here in Denmark aren’t that great & they have very little clothing/clothing in my size, but I’ve shopped a little on Depop! There’s this one website in Denmark that is all about selling used clothing & I’ve browsed a few times, but I haven’t found anything I like or need. The only clothing I bought from a regular store was underwear.

  3. I love second hand shopping. It’s always a game on what going to find.

    Thanks for the other tips. It’s something I should do more of again.

  4. Such great tips! I really want to start buying more second hand so can’t wait for charity shops to re open xx

  5. I loved this Jenny! So glad you’re getting on well with your sustainable fashion journey. As I said 6 months ago, I find it hard to find sustainable/second-hand clothing in my size so I do still rely on fast fashion, but I rarely buy clothes anyway – and it’s something I’m always looking for ways around. We donated a ton of clothing when we moved and it felt good to be giving all that fabric to a good cause!

  6. I love that sustainable fashion has been a big thing lately. I love shopping for clothes but there’s no use when we’re hurting the environment at the same time. Second hand clothes are usually not bad! Especially when they have been taken care of really well. It is great that you’ve been doing it for 6 months. Keep it up!!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  7. I’m excited you’re enjoying your journey! I imagine it must have been difficult in the beginning. Thank you for recommending Thought. It looks like they have some really nice items.

  8. So glad you’re enjoying your journey and doing so well with it! I haven’t really bought anything new this year which is good, as I’ve got so many great clothes already. When I have an item I decide I no longer want I often put it away for a good few months, and I usually end up wanting to wear it again afterwards! If not then I donate it, but doing so helps to stop me buying new things as I kind of end up renewing my wardrobe with stuff I’ve already bought, haha.

  9. I’m very fortunate that I’ve been pretty much the same size my whole teenage and adult life so I literally wear my clothes until they’re falling to pieces most of the time. I’d love to be fully eco-friendly with my clothing choices. I like a good browse through a charity shop and have found some great bits from those over the years but my issue with a lot of sustainable brands is their sizing tends to not be the most inclusive (I assume that’s to help their margins and have less waste) so I often can’t find something. I need to do a bit more research and try to find some more alternatives x

    Sophie

  10. I love shopping in charity shops for clothes!! I’ve found a couple of designer pieces for less than £5, some black skinny jeans which fit perfectly for £3 and loads of toddler clothes for about 50p each.

    I used to use ebay a lot, but I haven’t been on for a while. I’ve never been on depop, so I’ll have to check that one out 😊 Washing less and mending I’ve never thought to try, but I’ll be giving them a go.

  11. Such great tips! I know a lot of people feel that sustainable slow fashion is only for the rich, but I love that you’ve shared ways to get into this without buying a brand new expensive wardrobe. Nothing is more sustainable than continuing to wear clothes you already own and finding responsible ways to get rid of or wash them. Great ideas!

  12. I never thought of myself as a sustainable fashion person, but I realize now I have almost never bought clothes brand new, except for things like shirts and leggings and, of course, underwear. It is actually pretty amazing that I can buy gently used clothing or brand new clothing that has never been worn online or at thrift shops, and I love it.

    Donating back clothing when I am done with it is a nice way to give back, but the pieces I love and wear to nothing go into our garden paths to keep the weeds back. I love that you are enjoying buying sustainably and hope you keep at it. 🙂

  13. These are great tips! I don’t really buy many clothes if I’m honest, I can’t remember when I last went online or went to a shop to buy clothes, I really like to make sure I get use out of the clothes I already have. I do enjoy doing a little clear out too, but will never just dump the clothes I don’t want anymore in the bin! Great post Jenny!

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

  14. These are all great tips for beginners! I’m someone who loves clothes, and has for years, but I’d always rather invest in higher quality clothing and have less of it. It’s great to see that you’re on your own sustainable fashion journey and these are all great habits to have going forward. I love Thought as well! x

    https://www.femaleoriginal.com

  15. Some great points Jenny!

    I stopped binning clothes 4 or 5 years ago. I take excellent care of all my clothes I keep, donate/sell stuff I don’t want anymore and take any items too worn and torn to the H&M recycling points so that they can take the fabrics.

    Ashleigh | The Ashmosphere

  16. This is such a great post Jenny! I’m also trying to shop more sustainably and have mostly used charity shops or E-bay recently. But I’ll definitely be looking at ‘Thought very soon (read: after I’ve posted this comment 😉). I’ve recently cut a pair of jeans into shorts! It’s a great way to give yourself something new with minimal effort. 😊

  17. Some great tips for trying to live more sustainably. I do buy most of my clothes second hand, but what I also do is put my winter clothes in the attic and vice versa for the summer. When you get them back down for the new season, it’s like you have new clothes 😁
    Great post!

  18. I’m always looking for ways of improving my carbon footprint and becoming more sustainable. I try not to wash my clothes after every use and I always donate unwanted clothes to charity shops or sell them online. Thank you for the extra tips.

  19. You’re doing a great thing Jenny. It is not easy to be sustainable when cheap fashion is so accessible. I am struggling at the moment to keep the kids in clothes as they are growing so quickly during lockdown and of course I can’t just run to primark. I have had to be really clever about where I bought from and send some prayer to the god of clothes that they finally slow down on the growing!

  20. I don’t like to use the tumble dryer for clothes, shrinks them, costs a fortune and using needless energy. Other than that I think my clothing use is naturally sustainable anyway. I only chuck things out if they are wrecked, or ive got way too fat to dream of wearing it again 🤣

  21. I have really started to be conscious of my clothing habits recently, I try to not wash my clothes too often and when I do I make sure that I load up my washing machine to get as many clothes washed at once. I love shopping on Depop and eBay but I really want to find more sustainable brands to use! X

  22. I’ve never tried sustainable shopping before so these are some great tips. Thanks for sharing them!

  23. I really love thrifting and shopping second hand! I’ve never really thought about how washing clothes so often isn’t very sustainable. thanks for the post!