The 5 "R's"of Responsible Style

Responsible style can be intimidating to pursue at first, but there are several ways to make the process simple and practical. Several months ago, I began developing a long laundry list of ethical brands that I wanted to purchase from. But the reality was, I couldn't afford to rebuild a closet from the ground up. Now, I am pursuing ways to use what I have and slowly incorporate new pieces into my closet - which all of us can do in easy ways.

Below are the 5 "R's" that encompass what a responsible closet can be while making it easier to restyle what we own... before purchasing a new wardrobe.


make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size

This is a simple one and is talked about often with any de-clutter mindset. Reducing our closets has become popular as more people are committing to capsule wardrobes or minimalist closets. Because in theory, reducing what we own can save us time, money and stress.

For the closet reformer:

Reducing in simple ways like selling clothes to consignment can be the easiest choice. To narrow down your closet, these are 3 questions you can ask yourself:

1. Do I love it?
2. Have I worn it in the past year?
3. Do I have something just like it?

I have been using these 3 questions to challenge what's in my wardrobe. The purpose is to help rid my closet of clothing that I'm not excited about, haven't worn in a long period of time OR have multiples of the same style. This process has made it easier to avoid the debate of "well I could wear it one day"... I probably won't.

And for the seasonal shopper:

If you've already reduced your closet as much as you see possible, reduce by the amount you're consuming. Your closet is an investment so look for ways to invest in higher quality items rather than the quick buys (they just don't last as long). And although it might cost extra upfront, it will pay off in the long run when you still have loved items for years to come. Here are a few places to look: Everlane, Zady, VETTA.


fix or mend

This concept may be intimidating for some to think about, as it was for me. I often like DIY ideas, but typically lack the expertise or patience for the execution. But repairing clothes can make a HUGE difference to your closet. Even companies like Patagonia are seeing the difference a fix makes to a valuable + timeless item.

Do you have an old cardigan you love but it has a hole in the seam? Or shoes that fit perfectly but the sole is broken? This is where repairing comes in. One way is to invest is with a tiny sewing kit and getting it done yourself (if I can sew a hole, you can too). But if that still worries you, there are plenty of resources online to get you there.

As for fixing items that you can't do at-home, I've begun investing in ways to fix or tidy up items that are worn out. For shoes, there are repurposing locations who will resole your shoes, recolor your leather, repair, etc. For clothing, I'll take my damaged items to a seamstress OR a friend who does freelance work (this is cheaper in the long run and helps you keep those loved + worn items).


convert into reusable material

Recycling is common but sometimes viewed as inconvenient. One of The Good Wears' goals is to commit the time to see the results. Throwing away clothes is not an option as with more research, the more I see the impact of tossing clothes in the trash.

Here are a few ways to recycle your items:

- If the consignment shop won't take them, donate to Goodwill, Planet Earth's yellow boxes, Salvation Army, local shelters, charities etc.
- Recycle denim at Madewell : throughout the year, Madewell will offer a special promotion to receive 20$ off their denim if you donate ANY pair of old jeans, no matter the brand or wear. They then use the denim to recycle into insulation for homes.
- Even fast fashion retailer, H&M, has made changes to boost their recycling. Bring bags of clothes into their store and they will donate/recycle your items. (This initiative began after the reveal of an issue back in 2010, but with accountability, H&M seeks steps to reform towards transparency)
- Nervous of letting go? Package up those items into boxes and save them in a closet... they'll eventually come back into style! 

*Want more recycling inspiration? Read more about The Good Wear's sustainability muse, Emma Watson of course! (here and here)


adapt for use in a different purpose

Repurposing clothes can go hand-in-hand with recycling. We recycle what we have to repurpose for a new use... so if you love creative DIY ideas, then this step is for you.

When I first thought through how to repurpose what I own, my ideas were to create a t-shirt into a pillow case or use cotton strips of fabric from old t-shirts for homemade garland (it's evident this concept is not my area of expertise). But there are far more clever people out there than me so click here for a few more options.

Other ways to repurpose:

- Create a no-sew tote bag for this Spring's farmers markets
- Repurpose your old t-shirts into a blanket for yourself or gift to mom.


change to appear entirely new

I love the idea of reinventing clothes into something entirely new. I haven't always practiced this idea but I've seen others do it perfectly and consistently.

So to experiment with reinventing, I found 2 button downs in my closet that I have not worn in the past 6 months (I should have REDUCED these right?). But with Spring + Summer coming up fast, I decided to experiment and cut the sleeves off for a tank. Luckily, the unfinished look is in style so there is not a need to hem the sleeves - that option is up to you. And after the cut, I love the difference these 2 tops now add to my closet, especially since it was easy and free!

Other ways to reinvent :

- Garment dye an old shirt into a new color
- Hem jeans for an frayed finish
- Knot your tee at the waist to add a new, temporary look
- Cut an old pair of pants into shorts (optional: fold up for a clean seam)


1. There are a variety of ways we can start small + creative with our responsible style... it just takes a little extra time and commitment

2. Creating a habit around just ONE of the FIVE "R's" of Responsible Style is practicing sustainability and on the right track to prevent waste in our closets.

3. Seek helpful resources in different places; Look to a friend for guidance or an online site with DIY advice (...and keep following along with The Good Wear blog!)