In fashion today—and certainly in menswear—I’ve noticed a trend towards brands that have an emphasis on sustainability, particularly with their marketing.
More and more, brands are being exposed and accused of greenwashing which is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound.
Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly.
This article is intended to help you be more sustainable with your clothing and provides 5 practical and simple sustainability tips for stylish men.
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A Trend In Sustainability
I think it’s great that brands are actively pursuing sustainability and transparency. And I’m completely onboard with both the big and direct-to-consumer brands that are putting more emphasis on clothing made with recycled materials.
All that’s fantastic, but true sustainability in fashion must go beyond that—for example, does the brand offer fair wages? Or do they have a positive culture that’s all inclusive? Although those concerns are beyond the scope of this article, it’s definitely worth thinking about.
5 Simple Sustainability Tips for Stylish Guys
Sustainability in fashion—I feel—encompasses more than just supporting brands with these eco-friendly messages. And so going beyond the trend, here are a handful of actionable things you can do to practice sustainability with your style.
1. Wardrobe Audit
I think the most important thing you can do in building a sustainable wardrobe is a wardrobe audit, and ultimately wardrobe purge. Take a full day and take inventory of what you have, clear out what you don’t need or absolutely love, and only purchase what you do need to fill gaps that you may have in your wardrobe. It’s all about being intentional with what makes it into your closet.
I used to buy clothes on a whim when I was at the mall, impulse purchases of pieces that I thought I needed, but didn’t really and it didn’t get much wear. It’s the pieces that you wear often that you should invest more into. So if you love a particular denim shirt, jeans or t-shirt, maybe get a handful of those tees in versatile colors like navy, grey, white and olive and you’ll be set.
2. Cost Per Wear
Cost per wear (CPW) is basically getting the most out of the clothing that you buy by considering how often it is that you wear a particular garment.
Don’t feel deterred from investing in nice shoes, a trendy leather jacket or a grail watch if it’s high quality and you know that you’ll get plenty of mileage out of it. Avoid articles of clothing that aren’t all that versatile that will most likely be collecting dust in the back of your closet.
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I used to buy accessories or flashy sneakers that could only be worn with certain outfits and so I literally never wore them, maybe once or twice. And so items like those in my closet are more expensive than they seem. However for example, I bought a Seiko 5 which is a classic field watch and I wear it all the time, all year-round and so the CPW is really low, making it a worthwhile purchase.
3. Focus More on Timeless Styles
Classic menswear will never go out of style and usually consists of 3 hallmarks of quality, versatility and longevity. If you focus on these three areas when buying your clothing, chance are you’ll build out a timeless, well-rounded wardrobe.
For example a navy or gray suit, pair of brown oxfords and a silk knitted tie and pocket square combination. It’s these classic styles that will stand the test of time, hence timeless style.
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4. Capsule Wardrobes
Playing off timeless styles, you can look into a capsule wardrobe. This is also an emphasis on quality, key pieces as opposed to fast fashion and lower quality garments from brands like ASOS or h&m.
Related: How to Care for Your Clothes so that they last longer.
It takes time to build a wardrobe that you’ll truly love. Don’t rush and haphazardly build your wardrobe. Take your time acquiring pieces that you know you’ll love and wear time and time again. And that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment either.
Ultimately, wear what you love and makes you feel your best and wear it often.
5. A Minimalist Approach
Finally, if there’s an article of clothing you absolutely love to wear and tend to gravitate towards, I would say to pick up more items like that and build around those. Quality over quantity. Think like a minimalist would.
And then for a next step you can begin to think about a personal uniform and what that would look like. There are all kinds of benefits of developing a personal uniform, sustainability being one of them.
6. Wash Your Clothes Less
And finally, a bonus tip. If your aim is to be more environmentally conscious consider washing your clothing less.
Related: You might enjoy this primer on How to Build A Men’s Minimalist Wardrobe.
For example I rarely ever wash my jeans, only when they have visible stains or I’ve been sweating profusely in them. This will not only prolong life of your clothing, but also put less strain on the environment. A win-win if you ask me.
In the end, I think consumers are more educated these days and conscious of where they spend their hard earned dollars. With the social and racial awakening in 2020, so called “conscious brands” will be held to a higher standard and understandably so.
Ultimately, I think brands will need to have more accountability, and not just wear a mask of sustainability and ethical practice, but actually put the money where their mouth is.
What are your thoughts on sustainability in menswear?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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Henry Nichols says
Wonderful post! Thank you very much for sharing.
Khoi Nguyen says
Appreciate you stopping by, Henry. –K