If you’ve decided you want to be more sustainable in your shopping habits, you’re probably wondering what your options are. The good news is that there are plenty. From swapping with friends to renting online, this process of elimination will help you reduce the amount you buy and your impact on the planet.

1. Consult your wardrobe

The first thing to do before you consider purchasing something new is to consult your existing wardrobe. A 2018 study found that the average Australian woman wears only 33% of their wardrobe, so the odds are that there’s something in there you haven’t touched in a while. If not, consider accessorising to add an exciting edge to an existing outfit. Using fun scarves, hats and funky earrings helps to give life to outfits in different ways.

2. Rent or borrow an outfit

Why buy when you can borrow? There are a heap of clothes renting platforms that will allow you to borrow a beautiful outfit for a fee. Alternatively, consult your friends and family to see if they have something that might fit the bill. It could even be fun to start a clothes swap group with your friends so you can all access each other’s wardrobes. This means you’ll have something fun and fresh to wear without adding to your wardrobe unnecessarily. Ready to rent? Check out my list of clothes renting and borrowing services in Australia here.

3. Op shop ’til you drop

SWOP Clothing Exchange

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. With more and more fast fashion landing in op shops, it’s easy to be disheartened about the quality of clothing on offer, but there’s still plenty of gems to find if you look for them. Buying from op shops helps to fund charities and saves clothes from landfill. As a bonus, you’ll also save a few pennies which can be put towards buying a quality item next time you do want to buy something new.

4. New to you

When it comes time to buying clothes, brand new isn’t the only option. Thanks to double-sided marketplaces like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook marketplace, you can find quality second-hand clothing online. Browse your favourite brands or get onto the various buy, swap and sell groups on Facebook. It’s a great way to extend the lifetime of a garment.

5. Apply the #30Wears rule

Livia Firth is a champion for sustainable fashion, and co-founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age. She’s also the creator of the #30Wears rule – a movement to encourage shoppers to consider how much wear or value they should get out of a garment.

“The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, ‘will i wear it a minimum of 30 times?’ if the answer is yes, then buy it. But you’d be surprised how many times you say no,” Firth encourages.

Her suggestion is that consuming or shopping sustainably should really at its core, involve buying less. If you have got to this point and you still want to buy something, this is the golden rule.

Compiling a sustainable wardrobe takes time, but will leave you feeling more fulfilled, happier in your clothes and way more responsible about your budget and your purchases. It’s also a win for the people who make your clothes, brands working hard to do the right thing, and the environment.