We all want to help the earth instead of hurting it. Now more than ever, people are aware that the things we do on a daily basis can contribute to global disasters like climate change.

However, altering your daily behavior in order to make a positive impact on the planet can feel like a real inconvenience. No one wants to make their life any harder than it has to be. If you want to make a big change without sacrificing your own happiness, consider swapping out new apparel items for thrifted and upcycled clothing. Here’s how it helps.

Stop the Fast Fashion Cycle

women shopping

“Fast fashion” refers to garments that are made quickly and cheaply to be sold in the same manner. Fast fashion stores tend to change their inventory frequently to keep customers interested.  The clothes are meant to fall apart and get thrown away after a couple of uses. The clothes end up in landfills after a few hours of wear. When items are no longer being sold, the remaining inventory will often be thrown away instead of donated, as companies worry that having their products show up in thrift stores will dilute the brand’s value.

Fast fashion hurts the planet on many levels. First, it relies on cheap labor from third-world countries where workers are exploited and underpaid. Second, the amount of waste in the fast fashion cycle is staggering. If you need a new shirt and want to save some money, consider spending a few bucks for some quality gently used items made from quality materials. You can get a lot of wear out of flannel shirts , jean, and corduroy instead. The environment and the world will thank you for removing yourself from participating in the wasteful industry that is fast fashion.

Get Designer Looks Without the Waste

woman at the thrift shop

Sometimes the used clothing items you find in thrift stores don’t exactly meet your needs. This is where the concept of “upcycling” comes into play. Upcycling means that you take an item that would otherwise be considered “junk” and alter it to fit your unique needs and tastes.

If you want a great suit or dress, consider buying an item at the thrift store that is similar to the designer look you had in mind. Then, take the item to a local tailor to have it altered to suit your unique shape and taste. Not only will you be recycling a garment instead of buying something new, but you’ll be supporting a local business when you utilize a local tailor for your alterations. Even after tailoring costs, upcycling items saves you much more money than if you bought a designer item brand new.

We all need to do our part to help the planet. If you follow these tips, you can make your closet eco-friendly while still looking incredibly stylish and trendy.