The Impact of Climate Change on Style

Climate change has always been on my mind, but never more so than this summer. We’ve had strange weather these past few months, and it’s chilling to think that this is the new normal–sweater weather through June, thundering rainstorms, unbearable heat all mixed together. I’m writing this post during yet another rainstorm. The impact to the environment is noticeable–flooding, beaches closed from rising bacteria counts, collapsing homes, and so on. It’s affected so many, and we’re lucky to just be concerned about what to wear.

In that vein, what impact will climate change have on what we wear in the future? With a handful of extremely warm days early in the spring, close-to-freezing days in May and June, and now the deluge through July, how will that change what is “acceptable” to wear? Right now, I feel as though “style rules” (i.e. no white clothing/bright prints before Memorial Day/after Labor Day) were made for a different era–and not just a different social era. With the seasons shifting by at least a month, are style rules going to change as well? And if so, how and when? I know that I’ve had to adapt my wardrobe to this year’s particularly pronounced change in climate, but I’ve felt uncomfortable breaking these “style rules.” It’s been an interesting time–one that has prompted a lot of thought, both about the “rules” and what they mean, and the climate change that’s prompted me to reconsider them now.

Sartorially, what can we do to help slow climate change? One thing is to commit to buying once and buying for life–to purchase sustainable, well-made products you’ll only need to purchase once. I read a fascinating article in Permanent Style about how different materials decompose, highlighting an experiment undertaken by Aigat, the Japanese company that produces loopwheel fabric (aka what’s on the inside of most sweatshirts). It’s incredible to see how different materials decompose–and which ones don’t. It’s worth the read. It’s made me recommit to my principles and what I look for when I purchase new clothing. Well-made clothing consisting of only natural materials will always be more sustainable than fast fashion, no matter how attractive the price may be.

What are your thoughts on the links between style and climate change? I’d love to discuss them with you!

5 thoughts on “The Impact of Climate Change on Style

  1. A major and important topic to explore for sure. Do you read Neela’s fabulous blog Of a Certain Vintage? She explores this space in depth and is incredibly articulate, well-informed and insightful:
    You two are definitely kindred spirits.

  2. It’s wonderful to see you write about the significant link between clothing and climate change. It can sometimes feel futile on the individual level – what good is my buying “fewer, better” when more, more, more is being pushed on (and purchased by) others? It’s a big and challenging question!

    1. It certainly is a big and challenging question, and one I’m struggling to deal with too. I could go on (and on and on) about this. I think the important thing is, however, to start at the individual level. If you and your household can reduce waste, that does end up making a much larger impact, over time, than you may think! Possibly more to come on this topic… thank you, as always, for your comment!

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