As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to gear up for the next year and for the fashion obsessed, that means rethinking strategies for building that elusive perfect wardrobe. From wearing more color or more jewelry to keeping an organized closet, we’ve resolved (with varying levels of success) to switch up our look and shop smarter. For 2017, we’re inspired by The RealReal’s recent partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to promote the circular economy. Instead of the traditional linear model of make, use and dispose, we’re finding ways to update our closets the sustainable way, reducing waste and extending the life of our valuable goods. Here, we’ve rounded up our best ideas for refreshing our 2017 wardrobes sustainably.
With year-round runway shows, instantly available collections and weekly product drops, keeping up with the latest trends can be downright exhausting, and costly — both for your wallet and the environment. Each year about 150 billion new clothing items are manufactured worldwide. That’s enough for every person on the planet to buy 20 new pieces every year. That fact is staggering in and of itself, but on top of that, Americans also throw away about 14 million tons of unwanted clothing annually. Left in a landfill, these pieces take (on the low end) 100 years to biodegrade. The solution? A highly curated capsule wardrobe. Pare down your closet to a handful of timeless and versatile, high-quality items that can be easily mixed and matched into several great outfits. With an edited collection of carefully selected pieces, you’ll no longer be a slave to trends and can finally break the cycle of buy and toss.
Whether flipping through magazines or scrolling through your Instagram feed, it’s easy to be filled with envy at the sight of your favorite It girls wearing something chic and different every single day. While you may not be score designer freebies, it is possible to keep your wardrobe looking just as fresh as your favorite editor’s when you consign your gently used pieces with The RealReal.
Luxury goods are made to last — they can change hands multiple times and still look great, bringing joy to the next owner and a great ROI for the seller. Consignment supports the circular economy by promoting the use of quality items to their fullest potential. Instead of hiding the piece you no longer use in the back of your closet, or simply throwing it out, your item is treasured by someone who will love it as much as you did, and you’ll have the earnings to upgrade your look guilt-free.
Though luxury items are designed to be worn a lifetime, they’ll only truly last forever if you treat them with care. You may have the urge to save time and money by hand-washing Dry Clean Only items, but this habit will only cost you more in the long run when you have to replace your new favorite silk dress after wearing it just once. Instead, make friends with your neighborhood dry cleaner and have your designer pieces laundered professionally. While you may only get one or two wears out of a blouse before it needs to be cleaned, other items like pants, skirts and sweaters can be worn up to five or six times before they need to be sent to the cleaners. When it comes to shoes, resoling goes a long way to keep them in good condition and can even save a well-loved pair from the brink.
Handbags should be stored in their dust bags when not in use, which will protect them from light damage. Stuffing bags with tissue paper prevents creasing and helps less structured bags keep their shape. If you have a treasured lady bag like an Hermès Kelly or the aptly-named Lady Dior, wrap the handle with a chic scarf to protect it from damaging oils in your hands. All your extra care and attention will pay off when it comes time to consign and your pieces remain in excellent condition, earning you top commission.
The average woman uses a piece of fast fashion just seven times before throwing it away. Unlike luxury, these low-quality pieces are literally designed to fall apart in the hopes you’ll come back and buy more. While splurging on high-end items can seem daunting, if you invest in a few well-made items, they’ll prove to be more cost-effective in the end. Expertly crafted with high-quality materials, designer goods can withstand hundreds of uses, which means their cost per wear is often lower than some of the cheapest fast fashion pieces you might find at the mall. Factor in consignment and the commission you’ll earn, and the cost per wear becomes even lower.
Ready to commit to your new resolution? Start your first consignment here. To learn more about sustainability in luxury, click here.