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Why Having Fewer Clothes Doesn’t Mean Your Wardrobe Is Sustainable

By February 8, 2017 Ethical

I began writing this blog post because as some of you might know, towards the end of last year (on Halloween, precisely) life took a bit of a turn for the second time (read here for the first), meaning I had to part with some of my wardrobe for a while. After tweeting and Facebooking and asking how many clothes my readers and followers own, the topic of this blog post has ended up being slightly different.

creating a sustainable wardrobe - second hand fashion

I originally intended to tell you that living with only 38 pieces of clothing over the past three months has been relatively easy. I, unfortunately, can’t pinpoint how many items of clothes I genuinely own seeing as I haven’t completed a full count before, but I know that the number in total would probably be double or perhaps even more than.

I can live with 38 items of clothing. Seeing as it’s winter, that number roughly includes about five pairs of trousers (2 pairs of jeans; 1 pair of black trousers; 1 pair of suit trousers; 1 pair of patterned), multiple tops (including 4 sweatshirts, 2 of which are the same with a different variation of design), one skirt (for wearing with tights which I didn’t include within the number – there are some essentials we can’t live without) and four choices of jackets for varying weather conditions and outfit choices.

Usually, if my clothes weren’t stuck in a building damaged by an earthquake, I would have the choice of a fair bit more. Although I do sort my clothes by summer and winter, in turn, technically creating two separate wardrobes of choice, I like to say I have gradually mastered the art of wearing summer dresses layered up for the colder months meaning I have missed the extra choice.

There is a pair of ASOS Africa trousers which I thoroughly enjoy wearing, sat in a drawer, waiting to be worn by me again soon. There’s my grey and floral slip dress you may have seen in one of my final summer outfit posts, which I would have loved to have worn with a turtleneck and some tights.

I love clothes, obviously. I want to have my own collections one day; there’s no denying that, which means there have been moments so far where I’ve been bored and a little uninspired of what I have to choose from. I worked out that technically if I’m wearing about 4 items of clothing (excluding shoes, socks and accessories), I could wear about 361 different outfits with what I currently have with me. I’m not going to do that however because my suit jacket doesn’t match with my bohemian maxi dress but the idea that, that is a possibility is what has got me thinking.

creating a sustainable wardrobe - second hand fashion


WHAT I WORE: Floral Shirt (Jumble Sale) // Botanical Print Trousers (Motivi) // Vintage Yellow Leather Jacket (Jumble Sale)


After running polls and asking how many clothes you own, I received a lot of feedback which has had me questioning – does having fewer clothes, actually make a wardrobe any more sustainable? My answer is in fact, no.

52% of you own between 30 and 60 items of clothing in your wardrobe, which I will presume is a fairly rough estimate as I’m not expecting everyone to have rifled through and counted each individual item. That number surprised me because I happened to believe it would have been more. Only 26% (which is still a fairly large amount) of people responded saying they couldn’t count, or at least that the number went over 100. But; none of these numbers included shopping habits.

In a 2015 Barnardo’s report which I often refer people to, it states that typically in the UK, the average woman will spend £64 per month on new clothes, with 33% of the surveyed women deeming an item ‘old’ after only wearing it three times. And I don’t know about you, but I often read or hear the phrase ‘spring cleaning’ when it comes to clothes, which means there must be a high number for how many times those ‘old’ clothes are being removed and sent elsewhere.

Only having 38 items of clothing doesn’t make my wardrobe sustainable – my shopping habits do. Your shopping habits do. If 52% of you are living with between 30 and 60 items of clothes, that means you have around the same amount of options as I currently do; 361 outfit combinations, or more. That’s just under a year’s worth of outfits, for one per day. That only becomes unsustainable when you increase, and yes, decrease that total number.

creating a sustainable wardrobe - second hand fashion

A wonderful member of the #EthicalHour Facebook group brought up the fact of why decreasing the number of clothes you own is just as important as to how frequently you increase it. Starting a capsule wardrobe shouldn’t mean chucking away all of your clothes because that will then create waste, which creates a whole separate issue.

Some will say that you can donate to a charity shop and there won’t be anything to worry about, but as I will talk about in an upcoming blog post, that isn’t always the best option. Becoming vegan or changing an element of your lifestyle elsewhere, also shouldn’t mean suddenly and dramatically changing what you wear.

There are consequences to so many of these decisions. It’s about working out a way to get around all of them for you. Consciously shopping and working out whether you’ll actually end up wearing what you buy are super important elements to keeping your wardrobe at a sustainable level, and passing on clothes to other individuals or attempting to revamp an item will leave you feeling much more satisfied than taking your textiles to the dump.

In conclusion, whilst admittedly being bored at times, living with less has given me two challenges which hopefully, you can take something away from. Firstly, it has challenged me to wear outfits I’d never usually think about wearing. Just the other day I wore my vintage yellow leather jacket, the floral oversized shirt and completely contrasting navy floral trousers I’m wearing in this post. (Hands up if you saw it already on my Instagram Story!) In theory, none of that should have matched, but it did because it worked out looking fairly seventies inspired.

creating a sustainable wardrobe - second hand fashion

I discovered a new outfit I would never have worn before because I had nothing else to choose from except the blouse and sweatshirt combination I’d been wearing for a couple of days straight – in a hygienic manner, guys. It challenged me to think about those 361 combinations, and if I, in fact, need to make that number any larger.

And secondly, it has challenged me to think harder about how or if I do increase the choice I have. Recently, the only additions to my wardrobe have been from ethical brands, like Lost Shapes, who are part of my ethical directory. Truly measuring the size and scope of what I own, makes me value what else is eventually included. So, for you reading this, perhaps this will inspire you to count what you have, and count up the value of what you might have in the future.

Sustainability doesn’t happen by removing what isn’t ‘100% organic’ or produced using ‘100% recycled materials’. Sustainability starts when we limit the number of resources we’re using up.


How many clothes are in your wardrobe? How sustainable are your clothes? Let me know in the comments!


Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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My Style: Sardegna, Italy*

By November 27, 2016 My Style

Like every outfit post it seems, it’s been a while since my last. Quite honestly, my appearance hasn’t been on top form over the past few months because I’ve been living in a tent, out of a dust covered house and now a very limited amount of clothes as we start exploring in Sardegna (Sardinia). But I thought I’d take a moment to share with you something I’ve been wearing a lot recently. You may notice I’ve worn the top half of this outfit in photos already but an outfit isn’t much of an outfit without something on the bottom!

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy


WHAT I WORE: Yellow Leather Jacket €35 (Jumble Sale) // Pink Turtleneck £5 (Charity Shop) // Navy Satin Trousers €5 (Jumble Sale) // Dr Martens Pascal Mirror Shift Suede Boots (Mastershoe-MyShu)*


Looks familiar, huh? It probably looks familiar to my whole family seeing as I’ve worn this outfit about 500 times since I bought all of the pieces. It’s a colour blocking outfit and it was even more block-y when I was wearing it with my white platform heels, but I’ve refined it now which means it blends out in the right places. The majority of it as you will see above, is second-hand. Everything other than the Dr Martens and one of my rings are previously owned which means I’m happy to promote the whole look.

And luckily, even though I was wearing it with a winter coat over the top at home in England, the weather here in Sardinia means I can wear it with everything on show. That’s one thing about winter I dislike – sometimes you’ll be wearing an outfit you love, but you have to cover it up with a coat or jacket that isn’t quite as exciting.

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy
ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

Speaking of jackets, I’ve worn my yellow leather number so much more than I expected myself to. One of my biggest concerns before purchasing it was ‘What will I wear it with?’, but it seems I can wear it with quite a lot. I haven’t had the chance to wear it with a dress yet, but I know with the right shoes and accessories, it could work well with something floatier than what I’m wearing here.

The trousers are probably one of my favourite purchases of late. The satin texture is surprisingly wearable, and as I mentioned above about the block outfit blending in certain parts, the sheen and shine to them ties in my Dr Martens. There’s something really satisfying about the contrasting colour of the rest of the outfit, tied in with the shoes and trousers. I’ve yet to wear the matching suit jacket as I was about to adjust the shoulders before another earthquake hit… but you just know I’ll be shooting an outfit as soon as it’s ready to wear.

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy


Sunglasses €2 (Jumble Sale) // Middle Finger Ring (Unknown) // Index Finger Ring (Arezzo D’oro Diamond Cut Stacker Ring – Gemporia)* // Ear Cuff (Claire’s)


If you read my second hand shopping post, not only would you have seen the top half of this outfit before, you would have seen my jewellery and sunglasses. I’m a very simple jewellery person. In fact, I’m so simple that I now hardly ever take my rings off. The only real things I change up are whether I’m wearing a watch or whether I have an ear cuff on (which I really wish was a real piercing. I was planning on getting my helix done, but I haven’t had the time yet). This recent discovery in semi-permanent jewellery has made me question why people worry about mixing silver and gold. My watch is gold but everything else I wear is silver. Mix it up! Forget the norm! Wear what you wanna’ wear. We haven’t got time for rules.

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

ethical fashion blogger outfit ideas - sardegna italy

I’ve come to the conclusion that my Dr Martens are a fairly sustainable purchase. They’re not the most ethical from what I know, and there are definitely better options (even from Dr Martens themselves with their vegan and Made in England collections), but if they’re going to be lasting me years and I’m only buying a pair every once in a while, I don’t feel too bad about it. I’m always talking about how we have to take small personal steps to becoming more ethical and sustainable in our lives, so I’m going to admit that this is a small step I have yet to take.

What have you been wearing recently? How would you style a yellow jacket? What’s your small step you’ve yet to take? Let me know in the comments!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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Turning Sixteen…

By May 19, 2016 My Style

Hello during this random blog post, the month and day of which coincide numerically with my expulsion from a uterus… yes, it’s my birthday! I’m officially sixteen… throw streamers, shoot out the confetti, pop the champagne (wait – can I drink that yet? 🤔) and get the balloons out because yeah, it’s my “sweet sixteenth”. Crazy, huh? I wonder if any of you have been here from the beginning? Let me know in the comments how long you’ve been reading! 1⃣6⃣ Today’s post is a little update! Hold on tight…

turning sixteen - ootd teen fashion blogger dr martens pull & bear

turning sixteen - ootd teen fashion blogger dr martens pull & bear


WHAT I WORE: Floral Denim Jacket (Jumble Sale) // Good Morning Sweatshirt (Wildfox)* // Blouse (Stradivarius) // Mom Jeans (Pull & Bear) // Mono Pascal Boots (Dr Martens) // Sunglasses (SCOUT)


Recently I’ve been having a bit of self-doubt, especially when it comes to my blog, so even though I know I shouldn’t, I’m going to apologise for the lack of content coming your way. I’m the sort of person who only really likes to put their best foot forward, or in this case, their best posts forward, so when I’m not especially proud of what I’m writing, I end up not publishing anything for a while. Luckily, I’m starting to realise that, that’s okay, but I just needed you to know, in case you’re wondering where I am at.

It always feels as if I have a lot more going on behind the scenes of my blog, rather than actually on it. For example, I just signed off the start of a new documentary style project that I’m going to be a part of (I can’t say much more just in case 1 – I’m not allowed, and 2 – something changes) and I’m still collaborating with different brands on upcoming features… it’s just the bit in between that I get a stuck with.

turning sixteen - ootd teen fashion blogger dr martens pull & bear

I know exactly the type of posts I want to put out, but it’s coming up with the individual ideas every four, or however many days. I also have to take into account that I’ve changed a lot in the past couple of years. My likes and dislikes have changed meaning that how I want to come across has been altered. At the moment I’m big on laid-back, carefree photography (inspired by film and polaroids) so my photoshopped profile pictures and header images don’t quite showcase that, do they?

Honestly, doing a whole overhaul of my blog has been on my mind recently… there are just several things in the way of stopping me, like formatting of old posts etc. I want readers to come to my blog and see who I am now rather than who I was before. I want to get rid of wishlist style posts and solely focus on my own, unique content. That‘s the dream.

But we can’t forget our origins, can we? Having all of my old posts creates an archive of all of the adventures and stories that have turned me into who I am, so stripping them away doesn’t show all of the hard work… it’s a real dilemma. I suppose what I’m trying to say is, right now, I think I need some time to figure everything out. I absolutely, one hundred percent, no doubt about it, want to keep my blog going, but I need to figure out how to keep it going.

So in the words of Tilly from Miranda; bear with, bear with, bear with.

turning sixteen - ootd teen fashion blogger dr martens pull & bear

turning sixteen - ootd teen fashion blogger dr martens pull & bear


OOTD My Style Outfit Seventies Bohemian ASOS Dress 1B99 Dr MartensBIRTHDAY PLAYLIST:
Take It Or Leave It (Cage The Elephant) 🎶
Whistle For The Choir (The Fratellis) 🎶
Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare (Matt and Kim) 🎶
Everyday (The Tragic Thrills) 🎶


I didn’t mean for this post to be quite so dramatic and rather depressing, but it’s actually lifted a weight off my shoulders, writing everything out for you to know. Today I’m going to relax and enjoy the day with my family (this will be my last birthday as an aunt to one – my next niece/nephew is on the way – woo!) and celebrate the fact that I’m still happy and healthy and going strong; because that’s all that matters, right?

Thank you for sticking with me over these past four (well, five birth) years, seeing me change and grow. It’s quite an exciting prospect that one day I’ll be able to look back on it all and see how I evolved into who I’m going to become. The great thing is, that even in these moments of doubt, I know I have you guys to spur me on!

Lots of Love… Tolly Dolly Posh xx

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