Clothes, clothes, clothes…

I love clothes and springtime has ignited a fire within my spirit. Every time I come in to work at the shop, I look longingly at the colorful window displays at St. Vincent De Paul across the street. I have talked endlessly with my friends about my ideas for my “Spring style” and “wardrobe updates” now that thick coats and sweaters can finally start to be shucked off and put into storage. But recently, even though I have grand ambitions (always and forever) I have exited all of my browser tabs with clothes dangling in the online shopping carts. With each passing year of my life, I’m trying to act more consciously with regards to fashion.

Even though more and more clothing retailers are shifting towards more sustainable materials (shout out to one of my favorites, Girlfriend Collective), deep down, I want nothing more than to have a little less. While scrolling Tik Tok, I came across a woman talking about her wardrobe of only twenty rotating pieces and my ears perked up. Flashing across my screen, cut to snappy music, she demonstrated that her carefully calculated pieces could in fact produce a large variety of fashionable and inspired looks. When I think carefully about when I’ve felt my most en vogue, it’s during a trip or on the road when I have intentionally crafted a base of pieces that work into whatever activities that might lie ahead. 

What I truly want is revival. I want to take the time to sit and sew the buttons back on to one of my favorite pairs of slacks (something that I have been aggressively putting off for months). What I want is to finally purchase a Sweater Stone and get to work on my vintage bright red cardigan and cute retro smiley face sweater. I want to figure out how to style and possibly modify old tank tops that I’ve held onto for forever because I love how they look on me. I know that I need to do these things (and maybe get some more Laundry Strips so that I can do my laundry and actually see my whole wardrobe layed out) before catapulting myself into calculating a new purchase. It’s truly the most sustainable thing for me to do. 

If you are ready to update your wardrobe sustainably, come visit Sami from Sandhill Goods at Green Life on Saturday April 30th from 11am to 3pm for modern vintage and secondhand clothes and accessories. 



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1 comment

Thanks for the thoughtful article about using our clothing in a sustainable way. I,too,have been trying to do this-its a goal, as they say, not a destination. I started by reading a popular bokk on organizing by a Japanese woman, whose name I forget. She approaches it as an exercise that involves taking all of one category -say, tops on my case, and laying them all out in front of you, to touch and see what you really will use. I have also become concerned about, not only the ecologically conditions of so much clothing manufacture, but the lack of concern for just wages and conditions in these industries. I have found several groups that can verify these things, and that’s where I go for new purchases. I, too, have a large pile of things to be shortened, or otherwise made fir to wear. Eventually!

Melie Smith

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Hanna Kohn

Hanna Kohn is the Operations Manager & Marketing Coordinator with Green Life Trading Co. where she has been educating and connecting individuals and small businesses with sustainable products and solutions since 2021. She holds a degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a Sustain Dane Master Recycler and Water Steward. When she's not at the shop, Hanna volunteers at WVMO 98.7 FM - Monona's Community Radio Station where she hosts Playhouse, a weekly broadcast of music including contemporary electronic, synth pop and jazz. Connect with Hanna via email: