By now we’ve all seen the memo about the need to consume less, buy less and recycle more. The fashion industry is under close scrutiny partly because the fast fashion we’ve come to adore (Instagrammers!) is far from sustainable and a habit we need to rethink… fast. In the UK, we are among the worst offenders and buy more clothes per person, per annum than anywhere else in Europe.
How then to respond sustainably when we love fashion and want to be stylish?
Being savvy about what we buy and from where is a good start along with wearing what we have for longer (remember the old cost per wear equation) and crucially valuing what we have. If this is beginning to sound old school, dull even, then please bear with us. Remember how good it feels to have space between your hangers?
How wonderful it is to wear something you can rely on to make yourself feel your best time and time again. Surely it’s better all round to only wear things you feel good in and to wear those things more often. Looked after well, it is perfectly possible to wear an outfit such as a black trouser suit for many years to many occasions. This is one reason why the Duchess of Sussex has included one in her Smart Works Collection.
It is the cornerstone of any capsule wardrobe and gives the LBD a stylish run for its money. From day to night, office to evening do, the black trouser suit is your best friend especially as the party season approaches and we find ourselves (staggering) walking elegantly from desk to drinks and dinner
As well as choosing what we do buy carefully and wearing what we choose more, another way of not contributing to fashion waste is of course not to buy in the first place. But that doesn’t mean we can’t wear something new to us. This is where fashion rental comes in. Renting cars, homes and holiday accommodation is the norm. Hat hire and morning suit rental are long established but did you know… drum roll please… there is a new kid in the rental space? Fashion and accessory rental is a growing trend and can really add edge to those wardrobe heroes you already own.
From brooches (Hello Lady Hale) to bandeaux, from Chanel to Dior, it’s all there, giving us access to fabulous brands we might not normally be able to reach for, for a fraction of the retail value. All this without taking up permanent wardrobe space, without buyer’s remorse and importantly without contributing to fashion waste. Cue the black suit mentioned earlier hanging beautifully in your curated closet. Why not use rental accessory pieces to dial up the style status in seconds. For a sharp chic day look add a fine wool (sustainable) crew neck under the jacket, a colour pop with a silk scarf and a ‘good’ bag. To transform effortlessly to an after dark aesthetic without needing to lug a suitcase to the office – remove the knit to reveal a silk cami, replace the jacket and add some statement jewellery. How about a gold brooch, a stunning neck collar or perhaps some dazzling earrings?
For warmth without sabotaging your sartorial credentials wrap yourself in a wool and silk shawl. No need to leave your bag in office livery either as accessories can be accessorised too. Style up your bag with a silk bandeau left dangling or tied in an artful bow to really add some euro chic to your evening attire and if it’s rented there are no dry-cleaning errands either. This really must be the future of fashion!