Like many women who struggle with fall fashion, I wake up every morning and paw through my closet hopelessly. I am torn between wanting to dress as women like Olivia Palermo, Geri Hirsch, and Emily Schuman do, and also really liking leggings and not wearing bras. Comfy AF, but definitely not street-style worthy.
While the cozy factor is definitely something that keeps me from regularly wearing heels and leather skirts and chic headwear, so is the waste factor. Yes, those super-cheap dresses and sweaters from ASOS and Forever21 are cute, but the number of resources it takes to manufacture them is insane. According to eco-friendly fashion company Reformation, “The production of textile fibers uses 20 billion pounds of chemicals a year and some of them are just plain toxic.” Ugh.
And inevitably these trendy, poorly-made garments end up in the trash after just a few wearings. Americans throw away over a staggering 14 million tons of textiles in just one year. Anybody else getting heart palpitations just thinking about the junk lying in their closet?
While I know I will heavily rely on my collection of leggings this fall, I also would like to dress like a fashion blogger without killing the environment. Jessica Zanotti, an LA-based stylist, assured me it’s actually a lot easier to make conscious choices when shopping fall’s best trends. Here are her favorite tips on how to start buying sustainable pieces, plus her favorite picks for fall.
Do your research.
Be smart about where you spend your money. “Look for brands that promote sustainability either by producing locally or using organic and natural materials or both!” says Zanotti. When a company produces locally, that means that the product spends way less time in transit trying to make it to you—which equals a smaller carbon footprint. Seek out local designers and brands, and support them by shopping their product. And the use of natural and organic fibers is easier on the environment, as opposed to synthetic fabrics that pollute the air and waterways and can’t break down in landfills. According to Zanotti, “Artisanal fashion uses 80% fewer pesticides than conventional fashion. Not only are you changing lives by wearing artisanal fashion, you’re protecting your health and the environment.
Shopping in vintage stores, or secondhand locations like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads,
is the definition of garment up-cycling. You’re basically saving another piece of clothing from ending up in the garbage … and you’re saving money. It’s especially easy to shop for fall and winter in secondhand stores because you’ll find classic pieces like overcoats, sweaters, and jeans that never go out of style. Plus, says Zanotti,” It’s a good way to find unique items that no one else will have, and typically cheaper than buying what’s on the market!”
Quality over quantity.
We hear this all the time when it comes to designer handbags, cashmere, and winter coats. But it can apply to everything from your favorite white t-shirt to a pair of boyfriend jeans. “Invest in pieces that are made of quality materials and take good care of them, they will last longer. When you shop this way, you’re not contributing to the growth of fast fashion.”
When I told Zanotti that the idea of re-doing my fall wardrobe basically gave me a panic attack, she assured me that it wasn’t necessary to revamp my entire closet in one fell swoop. “Ther’s no need to completely swear off conventional fashion brands. But the more you start to shop ethically, the more brands you will discover. Eventually, you’ll find your entire closet is more sustainable.
Scroll through for Zanotti’s favorite fall pieces.