The Fashion of Sustainability

by | Jul 2021

clothing collage

Photo: Chris Emeott

Consider switching your closet to an eco-friendly model.

“Most people in the United States only wear about 20 percent of their wardrobes. That means that 80 percent of the clothes are languishing in their closet being unworn,” says Nancy Dilts, a personal wardrobe stylist, who specializes in sustainable shopping. “That’s an enormous amount of waste.”

Dilts offers ideas to counter that practice.

Start with what you have. She suggests creating a wardrobe foundation from currently-owned quality pieces. Once a shopper makes use of what is already in his/her wardrobe, Dilts suggests giving a second life outdated or ill-fitting clothing by collaborating with consignment stores, selling online or donating to thrift shops rather than throwing away the garments.

Shop at second-hand stores. Thrift and consignment stores can extend the life of clothing. “Consignment is a closed loop,” Dilts says. “The consignor is a local person, the shop owner is a local retailer, the person buying it is local and [clothing is] being reused.” Shopping at thrift or consignment stores can uncover some hidden treasures, and there is a strategy to follow. Dilts recommends, be patient, be persistent and know your style.

Shop ethically for new items. This often means understanding where garments come from, how they are made and how long they will last. Look for companies that utilize recycled materials, focus on timeless styles or are dedicated to responsible factory and employment practices.

Opt out of fast fashion. There are ways to show personal style without sacrificing sustainability. “Invest in high-quality, enduring, classic pieces,” Dilts says, adding to save trend purchases for accessories and wardrobe elements that are interchangeable. If a trend proves too tempting, she recommends looking for one that will stay relevant longer. “If you’re not going to wear it 30 times, don’t buy it,” she says.

Dilts’ go-to consignment shops.

Turnstyle carries home furnishings, accessories and clothing for men, women and children. 13744 83rd Way, Maple Grove; 763.420.2864;

Clothes Mentor offers consigned women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. 13641 Grove Drive, Maple Grove; 763.494.4584;

Fashion Avenue features couture, designer and contemporary clothing and accessories for men and women.  810 Lake Street E. Suite 2, Wayzata; 952.224.7014;


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