Updated: Mar 10, 2022
the most sustainable item of clothing
sketch by Luisa Hernandez-Bailey @lh_bailey_design
When the idea came to me to write about why the dress is the most sustainable item of clothing, I began questioning how and when my love of dresses originated. I love all dresses and at first I thought maybe I was drawn to the glamour of evening dresses. As a little girl I would watch the movie stars parade on the red carpet and dream of what I would wear to the Academy Awards someday (yes, I wanted to be a star..lol) , but no…although I love evening dresses it is the comfy everyday dress that I obsess with. Looking back at photos growing up there aren’t too many with us wearing dresses, we were dressed mostly in twin sets, matching tunic and pants or shorts, rompers and occasionally a dress, certainly not often enough to pinpoint my obsession with how my mother dressed us. Although, there was the nightgown. Yes, I remember always sleeping in a nightgown. Wow, that must be it, the feeling of wearing a nightgown must be what I love about wearing dresses.
Hmmm, I’ll continue processing that, in the meantime let’s move on to why the dress is the most sustainable item of clothing, ever!
Next time you are out in public, take a look around and notice how many pieces of clothing are being worn. Everyday, each person wears at least two articles of clothing not including undergarments and socks. Now, remember this is only ONE days worth of clothing!!! That is ALOT of clothes, just in one day. And it is only one outfit, imagine what’s in their closets!!! That is a lot of clothes, a lot of fabric, a lot of trim, a lot of production and a lot of laundry! Everything you see needs to get washed, right?
However, we tend to wear our dresses more than once before we wash them. We should actually wear everything (besides underwear and socks) more than once before washing but for some reason we are more inclined to hang our dress back up and not throw in hamper at end of day. But when you do need to wash it eventually, it is only one item, so less laundry, less water, is one of the reasons the dress is super sustainable.
Versatility is another key factor in being sustainable. The more ways you can wear it, the more you will wear it ! There is nothing more versatile than a simple dress. Of course, quality matters and having a simple quality dress can last you years, beyond 30 wears and more!
You can transform the look of a dress simply by the accessories you style it with. A good quality dress can transition through seasons as well, with the flexibility of wearing sandals or boots, with a sweater or blazer, the same simple little dress can be worn throughout the year. An investment piece that will not disappoint!
It is also the best item to pack when going on a trip. Not only do you have one piece of clothing that is your entire outfit for the day, it takes up less space than packing a few items of clothing to create an outfit. Last summer I went to Europe for almost 4 weeks with only one carry on suitcase! I was able to do that because I packed mostly dresses (my Gwen and Sessy in a couple colors each) knowing how versatile they are and how little I would really need to bring.
Which brings me to efficiency. The no brainer go to item that has you dressed in seconds! It is not surprising why I am so dress obsessed after all! What can be easier than throwing on a dress? Really? No need to think about what top to wear, should I wear pants or jeans, maybe this skirt but is the top I like with that skirt clean? On and on and on it goes and getting dressed becomes a daunting task. Now I’m not suggesting to not have or wear separates, I’m just making a point that the dress is the hands down winner for getting dressed quickly and most efficiently! It saves so much time and you instantly look put together. So when you have those mornings when you are running late, reach for the dress. When you’re not sure what to wear, reach for the dress. When you’re looking for all day comfort, reach for the dress.
And when it’s time to get out of your dress, reach for the nightgown.