In western culture a majority of our time per week is spent in the workplace. At 1 Million Women, we often talk about reducing our carbon footprint at home, but with so many hours per week spent in our places of work, shouldn't we look at our eco-habits at work too? One thing you can try is greening your office wardrobe. Whether you are facing the dilemma of having nothing to wear each day to the office, or perhaps you've just landed a new job and need some new clothes to wear - follow our planet friendly tips for sustainable office style...
Here are some tips to green your office wardrobe
- 1 . Repair and rebirth: Do you have a great black work skirt with a broken zipper, or perhaps a button up blouse which doesn't fit so well anymore and you find it unflattering? Make small repairs or alterations , or get them done if you don't have the materials to do them yourself to make your clothes feel new again. So many simple repairs or alterations don’t get done because we're not organised enough to take care of them when we need to, and many items of clothing go to waste because of this which is not sustainable.
- 2. Upcycle it: If you're a handy seamstress there are countless ideas for you to turn clothing items you already own into suitable work attire. It might be turning an old A-line skirt into a Pencil Skirt. Or, another great item for the office is a semi-casual scarf which can be upcycled from a dress or a blouse you no longer wear. Search online for an upcycling tutorial if there is a specific office-wear item you need, or browse through our favourite DIY upcycling fashion ideas here.
- 3. Share & Swap: Buying new clothes all of the time makes no sense at all when you can have fun with your friends sharing and exchanging. Hosting a clothes swap is a great way to stop clothes being thrown out and ending up in landfill, you could plan an office-attire only clothes swap (just for something a little different) but it could be really beneficial for you and your friends.
- 4. Take care of your clothes: When you get home, change out of work gear and into your comfy home clothes. Don't cook or check the tire pressure in the clothes you want to wear in public to work.
Here are some tips if you will be buying new
- 1. Buy vintage or used: You never know what you'll find at a vintage or second hand store, sometimes there's hidden gems in perfect condition that you just can't understand why someone would throw away. If you need something in particular for your office wardrobe it's likely you can find it for second hand. You'll be giving a cast-off garment a second life, and possibly supporting charitable work in the process. Also online market places like Etsy have beautiful vintage, upcycled and used products for purchase too.
- 2. Do your research: When buying new, check for Fair Trade, Organic and other ethical or sustainability certifications before you buy. Supporting brands who are working with a sustainable ethos is better for the environment and for future generations.
- 3. Cover your basics: Don't follow trends, fill your office wardrobe with classic work essentials which won't go out of style and in many cases if you change jobs you'll be able to use again, such as; button up blouses, a black pencil skirt, black/navy/or neutral trousers/pants, a semi-casual sleeveless top, a black belt, blazer or semi-formal cardigan/sweater, and pumps with a low or high heel depending on your preference.