Green Expert: Date Your Closet: Inspiration From The Rules

<>H4>Date Your Closet: Inspiration From The Rules
No more hook-ups and one-night-stands: Just say no to disposable fashion and create a long-term relationship with your closet.
By Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff,

The average American family throws out more than 6,000 pounds of trash every year. There’s a plastic bag cemetery the size of two Texases floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Obviously, reducing, reusing and recycling are on everyone’s minds. But what about our textile waste? According to the EPA, each one of us throws out 70 pounds of clothing and textiles every year—that’s four percent of the landfill. It’s time to learn to work what we’ve got—to save money, and the planet.

It’s time to date your closet.

No more hook-ups and one-night-stands: Just say no to disposable fashion and create a long-term relationship with your closet. Think about clothing purchases as things that you want to live with for a long, long time.

To expand on the date your close concept, we went to the experts: The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right, the wildly successful self-help-meets-dating book by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider.

Bear with us. Yes, it’s gotten heavy flak for being retro and anti-feminist and recommending a rather mercenary view of romance, but as this best-selling tome has everyone from Oprah to Beyonce on its bandwagon, we thought it might be fun to interpret its ideas here.

Relax, ecoista, it’s a metaphor.

Rule Number One: Be A Creature Unlike Any Other.

This is the best vote of confidence for shopping your close that we’ve found yet. Because how can you be unique when you’re wearing the latest fashions-clothing that everyone else and her mother is sporting this season? All those seasonal fashion stories you read in magazines are recycled anyway: Think high-waisted sailor pants are a new concept? Check spring issues from 1964 and 1987. Stand out from the pack by wearing-and re-wearing-timeless, classic looks that look good on you and forget about People Style Watch.

Rule Eight: Close The Deal-Rules Women Do Not Date Men For More Than Two Years.

We think this is pretty ridiculous when it comes to dating-one-size-fits-all has never made sense to our romantic trajectory-but when it comes to your closet, it works. Because if something hasn’t been worn in two years-meaning you’ve gone through eight full seasonal changes without giving it a whirl-chances are, you’re never going to wear it.

But that doesn’t mean you have to toss your clothing-upcycle it! Let’s take that dress that’s hiding at the back. Don’t like the way it fits? Turn it into a skirt or a shirt. Jeans too long? Crop them into capris. When you rework something you already have, you give it new life. P.S. If you have to scrap clothing, sell or donate it to a thrift store; really trashed-but-soft pieces can go to animal shelters to cuddle lonely dogs.

For more of EcoStiletto’s “date your closet” rules, please visit our Fashion section at