A guide to a sustainable wardrobe

The ability to be a sustainable customer can be at odds with our shopping habits. Especially for many fashionistas, the idea of creating a sustainable wardrobe from scratch can be daunting.

What we wear can be an expression of our personality, identity and creativity. However, creating a sustainable wardrobe does not mean that we need to compromise on this. Ultimately by investing in high-quality pieces, taking care of our wardrobes, repairing broken garments instead of discarding them, and supporting brands who hold sustainability and ethical practice at their core, we can stay stylish and be environmentally mindful consumers.

At Ukiyo, we have a strong ethos behind our brand to encourage customers to invest in timeless essentials and quality pieces. All of our pieces are ethically sourced and made from sustainable fabrics. We are committed to providing sustainable fashion and making conscious choices to ensure we are an ethically responsible company.

Creating a sustainable wardrobe doesn’t have to be overwhelming. So, we have created a guide to show you how to create a sustainable wardrobe, without all the stress. 

How to create your sustainable wardrobe

The 30 wears test

A soft green background with the words "30 wears" written on in bold, white font

You may have heard of the 30 wears test before. It’s as simple as it sounds. Ask yourself every time you buy something, will I wear this 30 times? If the answer is yes, then go for it. But you’d be surprised how many times you say no.

It’s important to start buying timeless pieces for your wardrobe. You should invest in high-quality pieces with longevity that you can wear over and over. Choosing more versatile garments that can be worn in a variety of ways rather than that one thing that you know will be out of style in no time, is an essential step to a sustainable wardrobe.

Find sustainable brands

Knowing where to begin–and, most critically, where to buy–is one of the most challenging aspects of attempting to be more sustainable. At Ukiyo, we have a range of sustainable elevated basics, wardrobe essentials, and transitional pieces. Our pieces are designed to take women of all styles, shapes, and sizes from day to night effortlessly.

Now, it is so much simpler than it was previously, as there are so many brands that focus on sustainability.

Change your attitudes to shopping

Every year, 300,000 tonnes of discarded clothing is thrown away rather than recycled. It demonstrates that selling, donating and recycling our wardrobes adds to the circular economy. This is an incredible move towards a more sustainable world.

The circular economy idea is an economic framework aimed at eliminating waste and optimising resource usage. It contradicts the fashion industry's linear manufacturing chain, which ends with clothes being dumped in landfills. Buying from sustainable fashion businesses such as Ukiyo, selling clothes on eBay or Depop, or donating to local charities means fewer items are purchased, and less will be left to ruin our planet.

Invest in garments that can be worn year-round

Photograph of influencer wearing the Frosted Olive Ukiyo Jogger set

Make purchases that you know will serve you well all year. If you live in cold, rainy England, you won't pass the 30 wears test if you buy an entire summer wardrobe every year. Spend more of your money on things that will last you longer than one season.

Ukiyo focuses on seasonless fashion. We curate collections of wear-anywhere pieces that will survive the seasons. Buying basics like hoodies, sweatshirts, joggers and essential tops will help you create a wardrobe that will last a long time.

Donate old clothing

Donating your unwanted clothing to a charitable cause rather than leaving them in your closet will inspire you to be more sustainable. Make a conscious effort to recycle your old items before getting new ones.

Having a one-in, one-out approach is a perfect way to do this. Go by the mantra that any time you buy something; you'll donate something else from your wardrobe.

Take care of your clothing

Photograph of woman reading the washing machine tag on an item of clothing

It may seem obvious, but it is crucial. Of course, higher-quality clothing will last longer (and you'll be more likely to handle them differently because they're more expensive), but this is true with everything in your wardrobe. If you take good care of your clothes, you may have to replace them less often.

From caring for your cashmere to washing your denim inside out, go the extra mile to make your clothes last longer.

Know how to repair your own clothes (or find a good tailor)

You don't have to throw something away simply because it rips or a shoe breaks. Learn how to mend your clothing and shoes yourself, or find a specialist to do it for you. Before you use that as an excuse to buy something new, think twice.

Prioritise quality over quantity

It's all about foresight and planning. Purchasing high quality, longer-lasting products will almost definitely cost more than purchasing a low-cost high-street item that fails to satisfy your needs. It's just about adjusting your attitude. Yes, it is more expensive, but you can more certainly keep it longer and buy less each season.

Change the way you spend your money

Adjust your splurge habits. Rather than blowing your savings on a wedding gown or a pair of shoes you'll only wear on special occasions, put your 'investment' money into something you'll use every day. Stop telling yourself, "I'd never spend that much on a pair of jeans," and just decide that you'll only buy one pair of jeans this year, or one-piece this month, and stick to it. You'll have a high-quality, long-lasting, sustainable wardrobe to be proud of within a few seasons.

Change your perspective

With more and more brands seeing the importance of an environmental focus, dressing sustainably no longer means compromising – so stop thinking it does.

We don’t need to give up our love of fashion and beautiful clothing in order to have a sustainable wardrobe. We believe sustainability is achievable, and at Ukiyo, we will continue to do everything we can to be a more sustainable and environmentally conscious brand.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram for all our latest looks and fashion inspiration @ukiyoonline_.