Me on a rainbow outfit. Not ashamed. ;)

Fashion for the anti-systemic and anti-capitalist

There is a common misconception that caring about how we dress is only motivated by the wheal of consumerism. Well, I disagree. We primaraly dress ourselves from a basic necessity to be protected from the harsh climatic conditions. But we can take the opportunity to express ourselves. Just like when we eat nice food and not a meal-replacement shakes, fashion can fulfill some subjective needs of humans. However, it's our duty to try to be as kind as possible to our planet, not support exploitation and not become a market-puppet. So, to follow through with all that and still look amazing, requires thought and awareness. Therefore, I would like to discuss some elements that were relevant in my personal journey. I deeply believe you are more likely to be contributing to harmfull industry if you just label yourself as “I don't care”.

If I had to give one advice that can absolutely change the way someone dresses I'd say: have clothes that actually fits you. No matter what style you're after, what colors you put on, if your clothes don't fit, not only does it looks unflattering but it also looks sloopy. Non-fitting clothes is a mistake I'm guilty of, but one I hope not to be repeating in the future.

Apart from that, when you taylor your clothes you help a local worker. Another plus is that you have much more freedom to buy second hand, given all those clothes that “almost” fit can be purchased (if they are bigger, not smaller, never buy smaller clothes).

Because there are some correlation, I'll also add that knowing a good taylor can help you fix clothes that otherwise would be disposed because of stitches that are falling apart or anything similar.

Most of the stuff I purchase today is second hand. It's cheaper and sustainable. You can find incredible pieces and there is very little excuse for not buying second hand. I agree that sometimes is hard to find a specific size that fits you, but then we're back to square one: Be taylor friendly.

I also trade clothes with people I know, sometimes. This can be a fun activity to do among friends and family, and get you some new pieces on your wardrobe! As the saying tells us “One mans trash is another man treasure”.

Nice blouse I bought second hand. It’s silk and it costed me about 5€. White clothes are amongst the hardest thing to buy second hand, but with a bit of “keen eye” you can find great stuff.

I know normally is easier to buy from the big stores and brands, I am not innocent of that, but whenever possible, buy from local stores and, more importantly, local artisans. Supporting clothes and accessories made locally not only grows your community stronger (And we do wanna buy community if we're anti-capitalists!) but also is much more sustainable, given the environmental cost of transportation of goods.

From the fashion perspective, you get unique flavors on your aesthetic and really showcase where you're from and where you've been. What you like and what caught your eye in this life. Fashion should not be about following anything but our own internal image and making it external, so everyone knows who you are, without even speaking to you.

Necklace bought from a street artisan in Rome. Absolutelly love this. It has the aesthetics I enjoy, it has a story from when I bought it, it has a reason to be in my belongings. And it supported someone's work!

I think many of us has an impulse to buy anything that seems surprisingly cheap. However, it's very likely that those super cheap clothes will be made of horrible fabric. And when I mean horrible, I don't mean not breathable that will make you stink by midday (that too), I mean that shred micro plastic fibers to the environment every time you wash and are dyed with incredibly harmful chemicals. Plus, they are non-biodegradable.

So, even if cotton has its own problems with pesticides in crops, nowadays many brands have the 100% organic/sustainable cotton. Those would be much better for the environment and also for you. The level of comfort from natural fibers cannot be matched by sintetic ones. They let your body breathe, sweat and live. Also, they have a much more soft touch, in general, making them much more comfortable.

Natural fabrics like cotton, linen or more modern options like hemp fibers seems to be a good bet both for you and the enviroment.

Reading the tags is not only for letting you know where your clothes came from (and rise suspicions if the use slavery in the process), is to let you know how to take care of your clothes. Every tag has instructions on how to wash, how to dry, how to iron, etc. Depending on the fabric or the dyes present, your wash/dry cycle will be different, and following the appropriate instructions can increase massively the life expectancy of your clothing. Meaning you buy less, you waste less, you look good, the planet looks good.

In doubt (when you buy second hand and the tag was cut, for example), always use cold cycles. Cold cycles are more gentle and exchanging from a warm washing cycle to a cold wash reduces your energy consumption. Which is good for reducing clima chaging impacts. Also, if your fabric looks fragile, use a gentle cycle. If it looks very fragile (like silk), wash by hand. Don't destroy it.

Examples of the symbols you find in your tags and their meanings.

Do not shop on impulse!! And maybe follow this tips:

6.1 Before buying, think what difference it will make in your wardrobe

We have a tendency to stick with what works. But this can be a dangerous tendency when buying clothes. Imagine you have one skinny jeans and you think it looks good. Then you proceed and buy 3 different color of the same model. One day, you wake up with cramps and doesn't want to wear tight clothes. You open your wardrobe and think “I have nothing to wear”. This is an extreme case, but I imagine that a lot of this feeling people get that they don't have enough clothes when they actually have enough clothes is because they don't have enough clothes that fullfil their needs. This happens from buying always similar clothes. You just have one to-go outfit and when you don't feel like dressing it, for whatever reason, you feel like there is not enough clothes.

The solution I found for this is, instead of relying instinctively on what I know it would work, I look at a piece I intend buying and think “What difference would it make?”. If I come out with similar pieces in my wardbrode, or I can't find a reason to purchase it, than is a no. If I instantaneously think “Oh, I can wear this when I feel like going out in pijamas, but I need to go to work” or “I don't have a single item in this color and I love it”, then I'd probably get it.

6.2 Identify what bothers you in the clothes you own and never wear

I think this is important for two reasons. First, you avoid making the same mistake over and over again. And second, you might be able to fix/save some of those outfits (tailor again, yes!).

I realized a lot of my clothing that I didn't wear as often had one element missing: pockets. I love pockets. When I'm working, I need pockets to put a variety of things, ranging from my phone to a screw driver. Whenever my clothes didn't have pockets, I would only wear them in very specific occasions where I could carry a handbag. So, I stopped buying clothes without pockets. And I added pockets to the clothes I could add pockets. Now I wear almost everything I own in a regular basis (exceptions being party dresses only). I encourage you to think about your clothes and identify the issues right now!

6.3 Know your neutrals

This is more or less secondary, but knowing what are the “neutrals” of your wardrobe can make it much easier to buy clothes. Choose 4 or 5 colors to be your base neutrals. Those are colors that match among them and everything you buy should match with them (if not all, at least most). My neutrals are: Black, white, navy blue and red. And yes, red can be a neutral. After you identified the neutrals, buy stuff that matches those colors. To start with, I advise trying on some colors (specially for shirts, which are closer to the face) to feel what goes better with your skin tone, and note this down. After you learnt about the colors that matches you and your wardrobe, it will be much easier to buy new pieces.

Maybe you really just want to be a rebel. I get it. I believe our clothes should express what we feel inside. But the important bit is that you do it with intention. Don't do it because you “don't care”. Do it because you thought it trhough and think the way you wanna present yourself to the world is the rags-dressing rebel. But please still comply with the enviromental and anti-capitalist structures, this is the most important!

Hope this helps you in the journey of dressing yourself every morning! Stay fabulous!

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