Treehugger Style: Create It.

April 18, 2013 in DIY, Fashion, Social Responsibility, Style, Sustainability by alliemcc

I started off this series with a rant about Earth Day marketing and how we need to ramp up our commitments to the planet.

Now I'll bring it back to the topic of style, and how to stop killing the planet with your wardrobe habits.

I have 5 ways for you to make your wardrobe more amenable to a healthy planet, based on a talk I gave last year at Womanologie in Bethel, CT, that was, in turn, inspired by this Ecouterre article.

blog nyc street style 2012 stripe scarf

My original street style photo, West 39th Street, NYC, April, 2012. The scarf and shades just make it.

Step 1: CREATE

Extend your wardrobe through creative styling, getting crafty, and doing your own alterations or custom designs.

  • I'm sure I don't need to tell you: accessories are an easy, affordable way to change your look. Use what you've got!
  • Flip it and/or turn it inside out— can you wear pieces you already own in a completely different way? Skirts, sweaters, scarves, and oversized pieces are ideal for this.
  • Layer it up— try wearing a sweater or top over a dress, or a short dress over pants to create the look of separates.
  • Play around with unexpected combinations to get more use out of your basics and your special pieces that don't get into rotation very often.
  • Pair something formal with something casual for a surprisingly chic outfit.
  • Wear it off-season! Jackets and cardigans can extend the life of your spring and summer pieces. Fall and winter garments are more challenging to switch seasons, but see what you can do!
  • Cover up stains or holes with patches or appliques from the craft store– or make your own from scrap fabric.
  • Transform garments that don't fit, are out of style, have stains or holes, into something else.
  • Fabric dye is a (messy, water intensive) way to revive dingy whites, brighten faded colors, or even cover stains.
  • We all have pieces that are a little too tight/big/long/short— make an appointment with yourself to finally do those alterations, or with a friend. Or take them to a tailor. The time and the cash are less expensive than what you spent on it in the first place, and you can eliminate the guilt you might have about buying, or keeping, something that no longer fits.
  • Want to learn to sew, or brush up your rusty skills? Start stitching up some commercial patterns, or experiment with your own designs. Skirts are a great starter project– easy peasy– and when you find a style and size that works for you, it's easy to alter the design or add embellishments.

See below for links to stylish DIY projects and styling inspiration.

Styling Inspiration

Accessorize, layer, reconsider, wear it off-season…

Advanced Style – an ode to older babes and their fearless style

Joe Zee – Elle Magazine's creative director and a nice guy

Justina Blakeney – zany and zaftig, as she says; rather West-Coast; more of her ideas here

Lucky Magazine – young-ish, modern, practical, all sizes and shapes

Pinterest – possible side effects include pinning-addiction

Refinery 29 – young-ish, trendy, modern

Treehugger – Discover Channel's sustainable lifestyle site; eco fashion and design

Uniform Project – flat out great styling, for a good cause


blog mending ww2

photo via Wartime Fashion

DIY Style

Embellish, alter, mend, repurpose…

BooksCompaiGeneration T, many, many more – check the library!

Analogue Chic – Have you tried my capelet-from-a-sweatshirt project?

Craftster – lots and lots of inspiring clothing projects, and a handy list of how-tos from other crafters

Ecouterre – very eco-minded

Honestly WTF – modern trendy how-tos, heavy on accessories and jewelry

JayNSarah's Good Life – very resourceful alterations and upcycled DIYs, inspired by J. Crew and Anthropologie

Refinery 29 – "younger", on-trend ideas

Threadbanger – fun video tutorials for just about anything you can wear

WobiSobi – many crazy-awesome upcycling and DIY projects, modern, fun, and classy

Google it: Do a search with the garment you want to remake + the words "upcycle", "repurpose", "recycle", "diy", "how to", "tutorial", for example "tank top repurpose diy". If you don't know how to sew, or don't want to, add the words "no sew".

Series NavigationEarth Day is so twentieth-century.