Six Ways to Dress Sustainably this Christmas

December 8, 2022

By Period Dignity Team

Christmas is coming! Whilst this is a joyous season for many, it can also be one filled with excess and I don’t just mean eating one too many mince pies. It’s that time of year when Instagram is filled with celeb families in matching festive pjs and we attend sparkly parties which seem to demand endless new outfits.

But all this has an impact on our environment. In 2019, environmental charity Hubbub predicted that 12 million new Christmas jumpers would be purchased in the UK that year and two in five would be worn just once during the festive season. What’s more, 95% of Christmas jumpers contain plastic, adding to the plastic pollution crisis. This festive overconsumption is contributing to climate change and creating a lot of waste.

So, what can we do?

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to dress more sustainably this Christmas. Here are our top tips:

1 – Rewear
Start with a wardrobe count by gathering all your festive pieces and making a tally. Dig to the bottom of that underbed winter box, you never know what you might find! Seeing everything together will remind you of what you own and might even shock you. With this insight, it should help you to buy less and use what you already have.

2 – Slow down
The longer clothes last, the more sustainable they are. If you’re in need of something new, do your research and choose quality items from slow fashion brands that are designed to last. Clothes produced by fast fashion brands are notorious for breaking easily, fueling the problem of disposable fashion. Instead, look for companies with transparent environmental policies, stocking a small number of collections and styles, using organic and natural materials.

3 – Choose versatile
Remember the 30 Wear Rule to choose timeless pieces which can be used for other occasions and that you’ll want to wear again and again. For example, a fairisle jumper looks great all winter but one with Rudolph on is only wearable for a couple weeks of the year. Can you see yourself in that evening gown at other parties? If not, chances are it will only get worn a few times in its life, best to invest in something else.

4 – Second Hand
The resale market is booming, with ever more apps and preloved sections on retailer’s websites, we’ve never had so much choice. Buying second-hand and keeping clothes that already exist in circulation is one of the most sustainable options we have. Charity shops are a great place to pick up a bargain whilst supporting a good cause and vintage boutiques are ideal for finding that unique show-stopper piece.

5 – Borrow
Ever been jealous of that amazing sequin top your sister bought? Ask to borrow it! Clothes swapping with friends and family is a great way to refresh your wardrobe without costing you a penny or harming the planet. You could also attend or even organise a clothes swap event in your community to get everyone involved.

6 – Rent
Clothes renting is a growing industry, with many highstreet and luxury brands now getting involved. These enable you to hire outfits, perhaps for fancier occasions, for a fraction of the cost and show off new looks without buying anything new. For designer wear, there’s Harrods and Selfridges, or for more budget-friendly options, check out, Hirestreet. There are also peer-to-peer services where you can rent out and hire clothes from other people such as By Rotation or Hurr.

Final thoughts

The golden rule this Christmas is to keep clothes in circulation as long as possible, whether that’s through rewearing, borrowing or buying second-hand. Keep in mind what you already own and consider how to pair items, to avoid buying an entire new outfit. If you’re after a more sustainable Christmas this year, perhaps hold off from buying those matching pjs and instead choose things which will last for years to come.

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