What is a Conscious Closet

Before we start our read along, I think it’s important to define what exactly a ‘conscious closet’ is and acknowledge that this will mean different things to different people. Cline defines the term in the introduction, “A conscious closet is a wardrobe built with greater intention and awareness of clothes, where they come from, what they’re made of, and why they matter.”

Clothes are political, even if you don’t think you are, and what you wear matters. Apparel is a 2.5 trillion dollar business and holds up 3% of the global economy. It employs hundreds of millions of people, most of whom are young women. Only a handful of garmet workers earn a living wage- anywhere! Understanding that what you buy directly affects people around the world is important.

Apparel is also one of the largest industries contributing to carbon emissions and water pollution. Again, knowing how your clothes are made and understanding the impact your purchases have on the planet is a good thing.

We all need to realize that something as simple as buying a t-shirt is tied to our environment, human rights, and a global economy. Pretending these things don’t matter or succumbing to convenience over consciousness over and over again is creating a major problem in the world. Looking at your closet is a great place to start changing how you make decisions and can truly make a lasting impact on people’s lives you may never meet.

“Conscious fashion is a mind-set, a movement, and a way of life. It is a manifesto and a call to action.” I also think it can be fun! Getting dressed is fun, supporting local artists, hunting for thrifted treasures, all of these things can become a new fun way of filling your closet. I love Cline’s approach because before, everything I had looked into about creating a sustainable wardrobe had revolved around a minimalist mindset. Cline’s approach works for whatever way fashion plays into your life. Maybe you do only need set number of garments. Maybe you prefer an overflowing, endless supply of inspiration. Maybe you collect, maybe you only want trendy. Maybe you’re a mix of all of the above. It doesn’t matter! A conscious closet can be built however works for you.

When I think of my own closet and knowing what I know now about the real place fashion has in the world, I want my conscious closet to be

A place of inspiration! I love getting dressed. I like dressing how I feel for the day (or how I want to feel). I’ve tried capsule wardrobes and they don’t work for me but I’m not someone who needs the trendiest piece at the moment either.

Full of clothes that make me feel good I hate putting something on and it almost feels good. The fit is off, something is scratchy, or the color just isn’t right. I want to pay attention to what feels good on and makes me feel good and then know when I’m in a store or making something that almost isn’t good enough. To live in my closet it has to work when I put it on.

Full of clothes that I actually wear and take care of I’m ready to let go of pieces that reflect a person I want to be or used to be. I am fine with having a sparkly dress in the back for special occasions, but I want most everything else to get worn. I also want to mend clothes that need it, meaning I love them so much I want to extend their life.

Full of clothes that I feel good about how they were made I want to know the people that made my clothes are getting a decent wage and that the process to get the clothes to me didn’t destroy the planet along the way. I want to support other artists and save up for things I want instead of filling my closet with cheap things I kind of like. I also want to take the time in planning and making clothes. To know that care went into my makes and that they will last and be worn for years to come.

Going forward, these are the things I will be focusing on in building my conscious closet. Your list may look different, but that’s great! We all have different values, different needs, and what we bring into our home and wear on our bodies should reflect those things. The main thing is to think about and pay attention to what you have and wear it came from and then from there you will have plenty of room to play and get dressed!

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