screen-shot-2016-04-24-at-4-11-23-pmI don’t want to jinx it but I think spring might actually be here…

We haven’t had snow in over a week, the daily temperature highs are consistently above zero, and the world of Instagram is gushing over fresh greenery and little flower blossoms. Could it be we have officially survived another Winnipeg winter?

One trademark notification the nicer weather is here is how suddenly we all want to be outdoors! The only catch is, it isn’t really THAT nice outside yet, so what are we to do? We could layer up and hit the pavements, venturing into our dull and drab, dirty, and still dead looking city. However, a more common answer is go shopping! Spring weather brings out the “I have nothing to wear” mentality, which leads to the coveted ‘spring wardrobe’. After a winter of hiding indoors nothing says ‘welcome spring’ like new clothing– and this new clothing often screams ‘summer is coming!’ while it adorns your ‘summer has been gone waaay too long’ pasty body.

The first signs of spring often leave us wanting to reinvent ourselves to reflect the rejuvenation that comes with budding leaves and rain showers. We are given a time in life where anything seems possible, where we can be anyone, where the winter melts away to reveal the new person we have become.

The ‘spring wardrobe’ often reflects the change of self. For us humans, a heavy sense of pride is put on our outward appearance—it’s the most basic way we represent ourselves to those we haven’t been able to communicate with. The classic ‘first impression’ is simply the outward reflection out of our heart in a way the world can see. We are beautiful and unique, and it’s at the break of spring when shake the dust off of colours, patterns, and our sense of who we are, and bring it to new life.

This whole ‘new spring wardrobe’ thing is something we will never get rid of so we need to find a way to make it ethical and sustainable.

First off, when you get the jitters in the warmer weather to go into all the cute stores selling spring radiance and summer whimsy of memories to come, take a moment and remember; you are a strong person who values human lives and believes every person should be treated fairly.

Now, let’s take a deep breath, remember spring has existed before, and let’s go over my 6 tips for an ethical spring wardrobe.

.. And trust me, tip number 6 is super fun!

  • Tip One: Go through your closet and see what you already have that works for spring.

This step comes with a warning! Do not perform step one if you are currently feeling all sorts of lustful towards the latest prints, silhouettes, and trends. Doing so will just make you want to toss everything in sight and start over.

One day, as you are casually folding laundry, decide to open up the closet and asses all the items available to you. Chances are, most of your wardrobe is spring appropriate. It is in this years hottest colour or fad silhouette? Maybe not. Is it still wearable? Probably—especially if it is still in your closet.  Chances are many of your items will still work if paired with different accessories or other complimentary items (which we will address soon! Keep reading!)

  • Tip Two: Make a list of anything you actually need.

The truth is, there may be an item or two you actually need. A light-weight jacket? A pair of casual runners? Currently, I am without a pair of flats. The pair I currently own are from years ago and are without support (which my feet can’t take these days) and are getting pretty tattered. My closet currently contains boots and heels—no sort of generic flat footwear for daytime strolls or hitting up festivals (or hot dog carts). It’s understandable to need a few items—clothing worn for years wears out or ends up not fitting quite right. Asses what you actually need and make a list!

  • Tip Three: Source out what you need and purchase.

I use the phrase ‘source out’ because I don’t want you to go into the mall and grab whatever strikes your fancy of the latest trends. I want you to do a quick google search of “ethical and sustainable ________”. You fill in the blank of what you are looking to purchase. Options will pop up that will be good for your wardrobe and those making the item.

*A little note, these items may be a little more pricey—which means you will want to make a smart decision when purchasing. Choose silhouettes, colours and styles that will last past this spring and summer. You want timeless, not on-trend-for-the-next-10-minutes.

*Another great place to source clothing from are second hand stores, a local shop that sells locally made garments, or even a friends closet!

  • Tip Four: Play Dress Up!

Take everything out of your closet and start playing around with what you own! If you’re like most people (myself, included), we are creatures of habit and tend to pair together the same ensembles time after time. Try on a skirt with your favourite top instead of jeans, wear a dress but throw a cardigan over top, play with accessories like hats and jewelry. Even something as simple as tucking in a shirt can add a whole new, more trendy look, to an outfit that may already be a staple in your closet. Playing around with what you have will help you realize your closet full of clothing is still wearable and still relevant.

  • Tip Five: Remember Summer is around the corner!

Before you go crazy buying ‘SPRING’ items, remember that in a couple months, summer will be hitting the shelves and you’ll find your closet lacking in the wardrobe department once again. Take this opportunity to find pieces that will work for both seasons! Tank tops can be paired with lighter weight cardigans, jeans can roll up, and booties work with just about any outfit.

  • EXTRA FUN PRO TIP 6!  Have a clothing swap!

If you have a number of friends all feeling the spring wardrobe craze, set a date for a clothing swap! Grab some wine and snacks, and invite your friends to come over, telling them to bring anything they’d want to get rid of! Shut the drapes, set out all the clothing, and shop through what everyone else wants to get rid of! You might find some amazing things you’ve been meaning to buy, and you’ll get try on fun silhouettes and prints with the help of friends who are honest with you– not sales staff looking for commission. Donate any left over clothing to a women’s shelter or second hand store. I went to a clothing swap a few years back and left with an awesome maxi dress I still have!

screen-shot-2016-04-24-at-5-19-40-pmI know I say it often but it’s so important—we vote with our dollars for the world we want to see! If you want to see a world where no one is a victim, where those making your clothing (and food, and electronics, and any other item you use) are treated fairly throughout the process, and where companies place more value on humans than on profits, shop smart! Shop ethical companies with standards in place so you know you’re being an advocate for change with your hard earned dollars, shop second hand, shop local, shop your friends closets!

And with the money you save from completely re-buying your entire wardrobe, use that cash to buy a stranger a coffee, donate some cash to a local animal shelter, or buy some plants for your living space. Spring brings about that feeling of unstoppable reinvention; a desire to create love and light, breathe in the enchantment of fresh air, and feel unstoppable —be that love and light and spread it wherever you go. You’ll feel happier than any brand new spring wardrobe could ever bring!

For more info on creating an ethical wardrobe—

check out my how to post!