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Monday, 29 July 2013

The Dress Code - Five Steps to a Greener Wardrobe

Gnomo online shop
Gnomo online shop (Photo credit: √°lvarozarzuela)
English: Organic baby clothing
English: Organic baby clothing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Morning Dress Code
Morning Dress Code (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Copyright © 2010-2013 Janet Davis

In the last few weeks, we've discussed a number of healthy ways to live, ranging from proper diet and skin care to the values of recycling and green living. The message of a green lifestyle is simple: We care about our planet, and want to leave it as good as we found it and even better, for our children and for everyone. The wonderful thing about this is that there are countless ways to live green.

For example, consider the budding green and organic clothing movement. While the idea of organic clothing might sound a bit unusual at first, it really is an extension of the idea of organic food. Clothes are often made from plant materials like cotton, and these can be grown under organic conditions just like food products. With that in mind, here are five ways you can start dressing green.

Dress Code #1 - Shop Organic

The most straightforward and quickest way to get into some green attire is to find green and organic clothing outlets. There are literally dozens of such stores online, for a start. A quick Google search for 'Green Clothing' comes up with a number of promising hits, such as Fashion and Earth, and White Apricot, both of which have significant green-oriented fashion sections.

When it comes to local stores there are sometimes fewer choices. Clothing retail markets can be dominated by chain stores or specialized stores catering to specific body types or enthusiast niches. This doesn't mean there aren't any such places; just that they may take a bit more digging to find than the online options might call for. However, some chain stores are responding to consumer demands by offering Organic items.

Dress Code #2 - Make the Most of What You Have

An important theme in sustainable living is longevity. Buying a new set of organically made shirts for school is a wonderful step, but if it leads you to throw out perfectly usable shirts that you already have available, then how much good has actually been done? Clothes that you already own are a wonderful way to focus on sustainable fashion. They don't cost you anything extra to buy or require any new materials to make.

Of course if the clothes don't fit anyone in the house, there isn't a great deal of sense in keeping them around just in case. However, there are alternatives to simply scrapping them. If they're in good condition, consider donating them to a charitable organization. Or, if they're worn out past the point of decency, they make great scrap material for clothing patches, art projects, or even just washrags.

Dress Code #3 - Watch How You Wash

It takes a lot of resources to wash clothes. Apart from the water itself, there's the energy needed to power the washing machine and dryer, and if you're doing a hot-water wash that will take up still more electricity. These are resources generated in most cases by fossil fuels, and easing our dependence on these is an important part of living sustainably.

When shopping for clothes, pick out ones you can run through a cold water wash cycle. During warmer months, air-dry your clothes on clotheslines instead of relying on the dryer. As for the clothes you already have, consider replacing or repurposing the ones that require warm washes first, rather than the cold-wash friendly ones. Also, try to avoid or at least limit the number of outfits that need dry cleaning.

Dress Code #4 - Shop Smart, Save Money

We can save and reuse what outfits we already have, but we're eventually going to need to get new clothes. If we want to choose green fashions, it sometimes can cost a pretty penny. This is one of the toughest limiting factors on many green choices, and clothing is no exception.

Fortunately, there are always sales. Check with the online companies and watch for weekly discounts and special bargains. Do some research, bide your time, and buy when you can get the very best deals for your dollars.

Dress Code #5 - The Web is Your Friend

In addition to the many online shopping opportunities, the Web has an abundance of purely informative websites, with numerous articles available for just about any curiosity that strikes your mind. This includes information on sustainable living in all stripes, clothing choices included. One really great resource that some people just don't seem to be aware of is the Internet discussion group.

There are dozens of forums, blogs, and other kinds of communities where like-minded people gather together and find relevant things to talk about, green living included. See if there's a community that you're interested in and join up. You may find a great deal on clothing, or learn a cheap way to make patterns for home sewing attempts. The information is out there, ready for the taking.

Dressing green is about much more than making sure your clothing is made from all-natural, fair-trade materials - though these are very important, too. It's about a big picture mindset, and about taking many small steps to make the best of everything you have available to you. There is no one step that will make the world green, but rather many small, easy steps that we can all start taking right now.

About the Author:
Janet Davis and her husband are health and nutrition entrepreneurs and founders of Mark And Janet, a website with uncompromising, premium products for your health conscious family. For more on going green -- Visit us at or check out our blog at

Read More Articles by Janet Davis
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