Your Guide to Attractive, Sustainable Fashion


Woman in Black Double Breasted Long-sleeved Dress by Ike Louis Natividad via Pexels

Liz Sinigaglio, Editor-in-Chief

School uniform: most people hate it. But how do you dress outside of school? Where do you shop, and how often? Everyone has different habits when it comes to shopping and dressing themselves, so it is good to be accepting of other people’s choices. However, when push comes to shove, there are basics that everyone needs to teach themselves before they navigate a world that doesn’t require the same plaid skirt or khaki pants every day. In addition, it’s important to learn exactly where to find your clothes and how to pick them.

Before learning what and how, first you have to find out what for. One main benefit of learning how to dress yourself is sustainability. Too many people wear something once and then discard it into the back of the closet, (or the trashcan) instead of re-wearing it and making it a closet staple. Instead try hitting up your local thrift store for some upcycled finds that don’t require new products to be produced. If you know exactly what to buy and where, much time, money, and effort can be saved. Not to mention you’ll be helping the earth by preventing that once-worn T-shirt from ending up in the landfill.

The other “what for” is for general attractiveness. Whether it be for your first date or an important job interview, people will subconsciously judge you on how you look. The perfect outfit is a great way to ensure a positive first impression. Going out on the town in a shabby pair of jeans and a shirt that clashes with your hair color doesn’t exude confidence or comfort isn’t on purpose. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of days to wear your quarantine sweatpants and a free t-shirt from your local college, but that may not cut it in every situation.

When it comes to remedies for your fashion woes, there are a couple principles which should be put to use in conjunction with each other.

Embrace Thrifting
As mentioned before, thrifting is a good way to reduce the amount of waste building up in our world. Some thrift shop finds can mold your closet to current trends, and occasionally you can find name brands at cheap prices. For example, when looking for a plain black dress, I found a White House Black Market one for eight dollars! A typical dress from that store can cost between fifty to two-hundred dollars. Talk about a steal. Thrifting is an all around healthy experience for the world. As an added bonus, many stores like the Samaritan Center use their profits to fund their community programs. You can even make a day out of it, taking a group of friends to see just what kind of deals you can find.

Spend Now, Save Later
While getting a good deal is awesome, it can be worth it to shell out a little extra for high-quality clothing! When you buy new clothes, buy more expensive pieces! As with many people, money can be a concern. However, you can ultimately save more money if you buy quality closet-staples that are more durable, will last longer than the current fashion trends, and can work with more than one or two outfits. Now, if you need a plain tank top that will likely get dirty, the smart option is Walmart for sure. However, items like a bold pair of black jeans that you’ll want to have for years need to be bought at a higher price tag and worn until they give out. Higher quality jeans can last for years, while cheaper brands may fall apart in a few months of wear, and you’ll have to keep rebuying them.

Reduce, reuse, re-wear!

Normalize wearing the same outfit, or combination of outfits, multiple times, without washing in-between. While common fashion sentiment says that wearing the same shirt two days in a row is a no-no, there’s really nothing wrong with wearing that shirt again with shorts instead of jeans, or sprucing it up with a new accessory. Wearing clothes multiple times in a row, and not washing them after every wear has several benefits: your clothes will last longer,  you’ll use less water, and you have to do laundry less often! That favorite church dress will last a lot longer if you don’t wash it every week. (Please note: this rule doesn’t apply to underclothes, workout clothes, or other garments that get dirty after one wear.)

Now you may be wondering, “Well, if she has all these tips then I wonder what she thinks I should buy?”
When purchasing clothes, there are a few different things to take into account.

Find your true colors.
See how a piece matches your skin, hair, and eye color. For example, someone with cooler skin undertones and dark hair/eyes will probably look better with jewel toned clothing (e.g. emerald greens and rich blues). On the contrary, someone with fair warm/peachy colored skin and brown hair will look better in earthy brown colors and natural pink hues. If you have dark skin with warm undertones, chances are any fall colors will look wonderful. A redhead with lighter skin will want to stay away from any reds that will clash with their hair, and stick to other colors of the same tone (an olive green, murky blue, and coppery orange-red pair decently). Knowing your colors is vital to picking items that will really make you stand out.

Embrace the classics
Now, while fashion trends are fantastic, being able to outlast them is even better. Instead of buying with the trend, pick out classic pieces that will stay in style for longer than a year. For example, distressed denim will be in for the foreseeable future, but chunky Fila shoes and colors like mustard and plum won’t always be popular. Can you guess which of those things it would be appropriate to spend more money on? There’s absolutely no problem with staying trendy, but a closet filled with pieces that you can wear any time, accented by pieces or colors that fit seasonal trends, is a way to constantly be stylish with less effort.

Staples vs. Statements
Another important step to take is knowing the difference between staple pieces and statement pieces. Typically, staple pieces meant to be worn until they wear out. These are your  jeans, black dress pants, suede heels, or black hoodies. Statement pieces are the fun pieces that you can easily mix and match with staples Instead of spending an abundance of money on these (unless you have it), it’s okay to throw a little petty cash around. These are your neon green hoodies, heart shaped sunglasses, jeans with decorations on them, or your seasonal colored items. It is crucial to learn what exactly you will and won’t wear, and honestly this step comes most naturally with practice.

Only you can decide what you want to wear.
Fashion sure seems like a lot doesn’t it? In some ways it is. However, with the right amount of self-knowledge and good advice, you can feel more confident in clothes that look good on you, and are good for planet! If you want to learn more about fashion advice, I’d suggest doing some research based on your appearance, what you’re comfortable with, and then cross referencing that information with what is/has been trending.