Her Campus NYU’s Guide to Sustainable College Style

When the fall season rolls around, I always find myself wanting to refresh my closet with sweaters, jeans, and boots - whatever cold-weather chic I’ve been waiting to wear all summer long. Walking around the Village as the leaves change is a fabulous source of fashion inspiration; after all, NYU’s student body is teeming with incredible style.

However, considering the precarious climate situation right now, nobody wants to contribute to a wasteful culture of disposable fashion. This can be especially challenging because new clothes are so expensive, and fast-fashion retailers like Forever 21, H&M and Zara can seriously cut costs. So how do you maintain a cute style while saving money and minimizing harm to the planet? I have 5 tips that should help! 


Thrifting might seem like the most obvious solution, and for good reason - it’s one of the best. When you buy an article of clothing secondhand, you cut out the wasteful manufacturing process and save the garment from a future in a landfill. Additionally, the vast majority of clothes that are in thrift stores today go unsold and become textile waste or are shipped overseas to be sold at a minimal price. When you buy from a thrift store, you help make a dent in the massive surplus of clothes that are on sale today. Plus, the East Village has a wide assortment of thrift stores, from Buffalo Exchange to L Train Vintage to Beacon’s Closet - you’re almost guaranteed to find something you love! 

Resale Apps/Websites

In the same vein of thrifting, resale apps help streamline the secondhand shopping process. If you’re looking for something in particular, like a certain brand or type of sweater (oversized turtlenecks, anyone?) sites like Poshmark and Depop can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Not only are these apps super beneficial when looking to update your wardrobe, but you can also sell what you have and make a profit off the clothes you don't wear anymore! What a great way to make room for more clothes to add to your wardrobe. Poshmark features a lot of current brands and college-ready style, whereas Depop is a hub of cutting-edge, very cool vintage fashion that ensures your closet is totally unique to you. 

Shop Sustainably 

Shopping sustainably doesn’t just mean limiting your shopping to upscale, pricier sustainable retailers like Reformation and Stella McCartney (although of course, those are great options too!). Instead, shopping sustainably can mean simply shifting the way you think about the clothes you buy. Asking yourself simple questions before you check out (such as “will I wear this a minimum of thirty times?” or “would I be happy running into an ex wearing this?”) can help eliminate superfluous purchases and ensure that you absolutely love everything in your closet!

Avoid Fast Fashion

Fast fashion stores - we love them, we hate them, we love to hate them. Whether there’s a themed party and you need to find a costume ASAP or you’re just in need of a quick, inexpensive wardrobe refresh, we’re all guilty of wandering into the palatial aisles of Forever 21 or H&M to find a quick outfit fix. However, fast fashion retailers perpetuate an unethical, wasteful model of clothing manufacturing and buying in which cheap garments that cannot biodegrade are sold and then phased out so we keep having to buy and buy. Why even bother when you can pop into a thrift store and find something even better?

Don't Throw Clothes Away

When you’re done with a piece of clothing and you want to clear out closet space, don't throw your clothes in the trash! If you do that, they’ll end up in a landfill, where they most likely will not biodegrade and will end up polluting the planet. Your best bet is probably to bring those clothes to a thrift store or resale store like Buffalo Exchange (if they don't take your clothes, they’ll donate them to a local cause or homeless shelter) or to try to sell them yourself online If you’re feeling crafty, you could also take a stab at upcycling your clothing by turning your used clothing into something completely new and unique to you! That way, you continue a positive cycle of textile use and help decrease the amount of clothing that ends up wasted! 

We hope you enjoyed our guide to styling sustainably!  

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