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Dressing in a way that allows you to serve looks yet causes minimal harm to the planet can be difficult. Trust me, I know that feeling. 😔 But when I learned the detrimental effects of fast fashion on our world, I couldn’t help but diving into researching ways on how to build a sustainable wardrobe. What led me down this rabbit hole you may ask? Well, according to surveys, most women only wear about 40% of the clothing in their closets. Fast fashion has taught us to shop for pieces that’s worn once or twice before it’s left untouched in our closets. Last year, NEA reported that an average Singaporean tossed away 24 kilograms of clothes, which added up to 137,000 tonnes of clothes islandwide. To put things into perspective, that’s equivalent to the weight of 34,250 Asian elephants!

Believe it or not, owning a sustainable closet is imperative to our world’s health, and also to yours. So, after some extensive research, here are 5 simple and inexpensive tips on how you can start building your very own sustainable wardrobe!

1. Marie Kondo your closet

“Does it spark joy?”

Though it's been a good 2 years since Tidying Up with Marie Kondo first premiered on Netflix, this phrase has continued to be my mantra whenever I declutter my wardrobe. An article mentioned that the first step to living sustainably is to possess less, which in turn trains you to consume less. Decluttering your closet may not seem like an easy feat, but with the KonMari method, it can’t get any easier. With each piece of clothing, quickly ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” and if your answer isn’t a straight YES, chances are it’s time to retire it. An important part of building a sustainable closet is owning fewer items that you love and will wear all the time. This activity will help you see what you have and realise what you really need. Not to mention, it could possibly help to rekindle old favourites as well! 


2. Give your clothes a second life

After KonMari-ing your closet, don’t chuck your unwanted clothes away just yet! You can donate them to charity or sell it to secondhand stores, like REFASH 😉, where your preloved clothes will move on to a new loving owner and live on for many more years. Click here to learn how you can sell with REFASH!


Another fashionable practice is to conduct wardrobe swaps with your friends! This trend has been taking over the Internet and can help you uncover gems that you didn’t know your friends had. Don’t have friends with similar styles? Don’t fret, you can try out Swapaholic, which is a local fashion swap that helps declutter and refresh your closet without compromising your wallet and our planet.


3. Shop secondhand FIRST!

Shopping preloved not only benefits our environment tremendously but has also been proven to be wallet-friendly too. Secondhand clothes often retail for only a small fraction of its original price and  if you’re lucky, they could still be brand new! (Shop items new with tags here!) With shopping second hand on the rise, the selection of preloved clothes are continually growing as more and more consumers are bringing their clothes into the cycle. When thrifting, you may even find unique items that are one of a kind, or vintage pieces that were made with better materials and qualities than modern-day pieces. Thrifting can thus help you to build a diverse wardrobe without breaking your bank. Furthermore, if you’re a fan of exploring new styles, shopping preloved makes it easy and affordable to do so. What’s not to love about thrifting? Start your thrift shopping here!


4. Think twice before buying

I once read that before purchasing any clothes, ask yourself if you can envision 3 different outfits (with clothes that you already own of course) that you can style this piece with. If you can build 3 different outfits off the top of your head, it’s deemed an essential piece and it has safely passed the test! However, if you struggled to build 3 outfits, it should be returned to the racks. 

This easy tip has gone a long way in helping to keep my wardrobe from bursting and has definitely kept my wallet full! It also pushes me to explore different styles and build outfits I’d never think to wear usually, which in my opinion is really fun. Try it the next time you go on your shopping spree and you’ll see how enjoyable it can be too!


5. Invest in forever pieces

Basics, essentials or staples — you can call it what you want, but these make the foundation of every person’s wardrobe. Even though basics could just be a plain white tee or a basic pair of denim jeans, they make every outfit look put together yet they require minimal effort. Another trending practice on the Internet is to build a capsule wardrobe. Originally coined in the 1970s by fashion guru Susie Faux, capsule wardrobes favours timelessness, promotes personal style and rejects fast fashion. The wardrobe comprises a small, well-curated selection of staple items. Now, you may be thinking, doesn’t that mean my outfits will only rotate around the same few? That’s where you’re wrong. Items in a capsule wardrobe are often interchangeable and colour co-ordinated, so they are able to provide an extensive range of looks from a modest selection. If you need some visual inspiration, you can check out our Tiktok on how to build a capsule wardrobe here!


I hope today’s read will inspire you to embark on your sustainability journey with your closet! 🌱 For more sustainability content and sneaks, follow us on our Instagram (@refashsg) and Facebook.

Let's all do our part to protect our home. 🌏 ❤️ Till next time, and remember, sometimes less is really more. 

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