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Green Your Life: Greening Out Your Closet

4/22/2009 3:43:05 PM

Tags: green your life, dani hurst, green clothes, green wardrobe

With all the clothing options out there, make sure you keep the planet in mind when you’re shopping the racks. Photo by jcolman/Courtesy Flickr.

On my quest to slowly green my life, I realize that there is still one huge facet of my life that I haven’t really dealt with yet: my wardrobe. Most of my favorite shirts, skirts and dresses—many made from fabric hodgepodges—weren’t very Earth-friendly. For the first time, I was ashamed of my clothes.

I’ve decided that from now on, I’ll be keeping the planet in mind when I shop. Here are some of the things I’ll be considering the next time I buy clothes.

There are some really great Earth-friendly fabrics out there, each with its own list of benefits, and here are the three I’ll focus on in the future.

-Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides and is processed without chemical dyes or bleach—which means fewer chemicals for you to worry about. Organic cotton is the eco-friendly version of a classic, so one of its biggest benefits is its familiarity; it’s a fabric that everyone has grown up with, so there are no surprises down the road, like how it feels or how to care for it. Sites such as offer a wide variety of organic cotton apparel.

-Hemp is another viable clothing option. It is a very renewable resource because it grows so quickly, and is naturally resistant to weeds and other pests, so it doesn’t require any chemicals to grow. I’ve never worn hemp before, so I can’t attest to its comfort, but looking at sites like really makes me want to try some on.

-Bamboo may seem an odd choice to use, but it is actually extremely soft when made into fabric. Like hemp, bamboo is a very renewable resource, and it, too, requires no chemicals to grow. One of bamboo’s downsides is that much of the bamboo used in the US is actually shipped from other parts of the world. So, although it is a sustainable resource itself, some consider it light-green because of its shipping requirements. is a good resource both to buy bamboo products as well as to learn more about bamboo textiles.

Garments aren’t the only items going green. Shoes also have a place in the spotlight. has shown me that shoes can be both eco-friendly and fashion-friendly. Shoe materials range from hemp and organic cotton to recycled inner tubes and 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper.

Buying eco-friendly is one thing, but what about the stuff I already have? Here are a few ways I’ve found to responsibly repurpose my old clothes.

-From green craft projects to hosting a clothing swap party, the possibilities are endless for how to reuse and repurpose your unwanted clothes.

-If you don’t have the time (or ability) to make new things, consider selling your clothes to a resale clothing store, like Plato’s Closet, or any local consignment shop. That way, you can gain a little green while staying green.

-If all else fails, donate your clothes to a local donation center, like Goodwill, so someone else can benefit from your boundless generosity.

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