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ethical fashion advice for teens

How Teens Can Grow out of Clothes Sustainably

By August 30, 2017 Ethical

I like to say that I do a fairly reasonable job at keeping my content appropriate for all ages but seeing as I am still within the teenage age bracket, from time to time, I think it’s helpful to reach out to my fellow young audience. Today I’m talking about growing out of clothes sustainably because there comes a point where that jumper just isn’t going to fit anymore.

Growing out of Clothes Sustainably - Teen Fashion Advice

I’d like to say that I’m a great example of growing out of clothes sustainably but I understand that has a lot to do with the fact that I’m on the slim size and I can easily squeeze into clothes which I’ve had since I was about 10 years old. For example, within the past year, I’ve only just gotten around to buying new camisoles and vests because elastic stretches and there was just no need to waste any money when they were still fitting me perfectly.

However, this, of course, isn’t the case for everyone especially when you’re going through growth spurts and changes faster than I can spit out the phrase ‘ethical and sustainable fashion’. I’ve had a good think though (thank me later) and I’ve tried to narrow down some ideas on how you can avoid putting all of your old clothes into a bin bag and throwing them away without much thought. Perhaps these ideas might even work for all ages, after all…

Growing out of Clothes Sustainably - Teen Fashion Advice

Shop with your future-self in mind…

If you’re thinking about replacing or buying new (which doesn’t necessarily have to be new, remember; second-hand shopping is your friend!), think about your future self and whether what you’re buying will last in your wardrobe for a considerable amount of time. This post from my archives might be useful.

Of course, we will all grow out of styles and clothes at certain points during our lives. I can’t say what I wear now will be anything like what I’ll wear in say, five or ten years’ time, but it’s important to think about what could last rather than not thinking about it at all. This works for both style and size.

It can be done by avoiding trends or novelty clothing (slogan tees which perhaps won’t be relevant a few years down the line) and buying colours and prints which you know will continue to match and create a base for your wardrobe (stripes are a great example). Of course, your style might not change much at all if you’ve hit the nail on the head and are comfortable with what you wear, but it’s always good to leave room for changing and evolving. This is especially important if you’re in your later teens and what you wear now, is more than certainly going to travel around with you when you leave home!

Growing out of Clothes Sustainably - Teen Fashion Advice

Switch up how you wear your clothes…

This sounds odd but I’ve kept so many of my clothes for three times as long as they should have been kept by simply wearing or layering them differently. A piece I once wore as a dress has now become a top with three-quarter length sleeves and my denim jacket has become a cropped sleeveless vest with a snip of some scissors.

Think about how else you could style what’s in your wardrobe before deciding to put it to rest. You may even be able to save a piece which used to be your favourite. As I mentioned with my denim jacket, this can, of course, involve upcycling and revamping.

Sell or swap, rather than donate…

If you have clothes which unfortunately cannot be worn or upcycled any longer, why not think about selling them? Not only can you earn yourself some pocket money, you can also engage in second-hand selling. You can also swap clothes with you friends too! Take a browse through each other’s wardrobes or find a local clothes swap to take part in. If you’re interested in learning why donating clothes to charity might not be the best option if you’re wanting to let old clothes go, read my post all about it here

Growing out of Clothes Sustainably - Teen Fashion Advice

Go a size up…

Finally, if you have to replace or go shopping, go a size up if you’re really growing out of things. It ties into switching up how you wear different pieces because you can just start out by wearing clothes oversized or with belts and accessories to make you feel more fitted. This might be extra useful to remember when you next go shoe shopping, especially.

Sadly, I grew out of my first pair of second-hand Dr Martens after a year. I have, however, kept them in storage to one day pass down. That’s another idea, even if it sounds a little over board.

Have any other tips and tricks to grow out of clothes sustainably? Leave suggestions in the comments!


Do you feel inspired? If so, perhaps you might be interested in nominating Tolly Dolly Posh for an Observer Ethical Award. If you believe my commitment to ethical fashion is award-winning, click this link and leave my name, link and a few words in the Young Green Leaders category. 

  Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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