5 Easy Steps to a Summer Wardrobe Refresh
Photo: Sarah Peel

The summer is such a fun time to play around with fashion. Warm weather, longer days and explosion of growth in nature gives us a joie de vivre and openness to experimentation that we just don’t tend to have when it’s cold. Here are 5 Easy Steps To A Sustainable Summer Wardrobe Refresh.

Commuter trains filled with somber grey, navy and black will turn instantly to pops of colour, pattern, and variety of silhouettes as soon as the first gorgeous spring day arrives. If the arrival of summer has you feeling excited, but your closet isn’t matching your inner vibe, these simple steps will help get you festival- or picnic-ready with minimal impact on your wallet and our planet.

#1. Instead of heading straight for magazines, or the Instagram feeds of fashion influencers, why not start with sourcing some inspiration from within? What do you love wearing in the summer? I’m not talking about the cozy/schlumpy tee and shorts you wear on repeat at the cottage (unless that truly *is* what makes you feel great . . . but if you’re reading this article, that’s probably not you!) What makes you feel fabulous and alive? What are the colours, textures, prints, silhouettes, and summer accessories that light you up? Make a list with pen and paper, or digital mood board of screenshots and put them in a separate folder on your phone.

#2. Next, you’re ready to get inspiration from outside sources. Since you’ve established a foundation of your personal preferences, you’re more likely to gravitate to trends that are authentic to you. If you’re a tactile person, go to the library and browse all the latest issues of your fave magazines. If you’re a digital person, get some inspiration on Pinterest, or blogs such as Refinery 29, or The Everygirl. What matches your vibe or makes your heart race a bit? Add these to your mood board or list.

#3. Now that we’ve covered the inspo, what do you already have hiding away in your closet? Time to do the seasonal clothing switch where you unbox your warm weather clothes, or bring items to the front of your closet! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve happily rediscovered favourite pieces. It’s like getting the dopamine rush of shopping for something new.

#4. Once you see your summer clothes hanging up again, you can now start to make your shopping list. What are the actual gaps in your wardrobe for things you need, or a few items just for fun? Can you fill any of these gaps with mending, or tailoring items you presently have?

5 Easy Steps to a Summer Wardrobe RefreshPhoto: Sarah Peel

#5. Finally, go ahead and make that shopping list! Keeping in mind your budget and the fact that investment pieces have more value because they last many years, figure out what you can get second-hand, consigned, or vintage. Going to a wedding this summer? How about renting a dress from a service like Fitzroy Rentals? If there are items you find hard to source thrift, such as pants, what are the sustainable brands or mainline retail brands that are at least working towards greater transparency? Want to figure out which brands those are? Check out the lists on The Good Trade, the browser extension, Done Good, or the app, Good On You.

You are now officially ready to cycle to the beach wearing the cutest and most planet-friendly outfit ever!

BONUS: Want to take it a step further? Now that you have everything you need, do you feel confident to downsize so that you only have your powerhouse minimal-ish closet full of items you love and feel great in?

5 Easy Steps to a Summer Wardrobe RefreshPhoto: Sarah Peel

The summer is a great time to see how few items you really do need to be happy. Try a 10×10 challenge where you choose 10 items to wear 10 different ways over 10 days! 

Ready for something even more ‘next level’? How about joining in with 1000s of others and pledging not to buy any NEW clothes for three months? (Thrifted, swapped, and borrowed items don’t count.) Collaction is leading the second annual ‘Slow Fashion Season’ from June 21 to September 21. If 10,000 people sign up, they estimate that collective efforts will “save up to 360 million liters of water and prevent 1,4 million kilograms of CO2 being emitted.” Sign up here.

Want to get more from your wardrobe? check out The Year of Great Style. 


5 Easy Steps to a Summer Wardrobe Refresh

Sarah Peel

Sarah is fascinated by style as a tool for self-expression with the power to change the world. With degrees in Environmental Studies, Education and 10 years of startup street-cred, Sarah founded Citizenne, where she teaches the skills of style and sustainability as if they went together naturally (because they do). She also pours a lot of passion into Fashion Takes Action as the Program Director, doing whatever needs to get done to run a small but nimble social enterprise. Her main joy is teaching the My Clothes My World program to students and seeing the sparks of future fashion leaders in kids’ eyes.
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