dress with sense: the practical guide to a conscious closet

After my mocks have finished I’ve gone slightly mad with the book orders, after Tolly‘s recommendation I ordered ‘to die for‘ by Lucy Siegle and after flicking through a magazine a few weeks ago I stumbled on ‘Dress with Sense: the practical guide to a conscious closest‘. Initially, the fun illustrations drew me to the book but it was the chapters that covered the whole life cycle of a garment that led me to purchasing Dress with Sense.
Written by not one but a compilation of people (Redress, an environmental NGO working of reduce waste in the fashion industry), Dress with Sense is an incredibly practical and visual guide to what consumers can do to work for a better closet. The repetition of key ideas by different bloggers or women behind online publications or brands result in a book that leaves you wanting to make a change to your wardrobe because of the harsh reality that is fast fashion, the illustrations and images alongside the insightful comments make you want to make the change because ethical and sustainable fashion is hella cool. 

What did I learn from the book?

Buying your clothes ethically is the first step to a conscious wardrobe but caring for them is so important. Whilst I write about buying ethically, I haven’t really looked into the impact that caring for our garments has on the garment. From reading the book (with a whole chapter dedicated to caring for your clothes) I learnt that washing, drying and ironing the clothes in our wardrobes represent 75-80% of the total energy consumed in a garment’s life cycle – a shocking figure to read from someone that doesn’t take as much care into caring for their clothes as they should. However, this practical guide provides tips to reduce the impact our clothes have on the environment, including a DIY refresh spray and tips for washing denim. As I mentioned previously, getting other peoples point of view on the same topic is all the more insightful, it’s so easy to flick from page to page and note down a collation of different tips  that allow the reader to gain knowledge whilst being able to develop better habits from reading the book. 

The fashion industry relies on the consumer, therefore the choices we make with our money is at the core of it. Fashion consumers – whether it is the style conscious fashionista or the girl who dresses for functional purposes – are integral for the future that is for sustainable. Nonetheless, it requires consumers to speak out about their shopping habits. Speak to friends, take action. A particular example is Orsola De Castro (founder of Fashion Revolution), she speaks in the book about how “the message is spreading, and the consumer is beginning to ask relevant and meaningful questions about how the fashion industry operates”. What can the consumer do? Make small steps towards sustainability, combine a capsule wardrobe with pieces that are bought ethically either second-hand or from a company that has ethical and sustainable practices.


Much like I am writing this post now, speaking up about issues on social media, engaging with others has the power to make a difference. Fashion Revolution week (the 24th-30th April) is a fantastic opportunity to pledge your support, it doesn’t have to be big but initiatives such as #haulternative (I may feature one on my blog next month) are a fantastic way to connect consumers with a collated interest of wanting to make a positive change to the way the fashion world operates

There are some easy and practical alternatives to giving your clothes to charity. The linchpin holding the book together is really how practical it is. Did you know it can take 30-40 years for a nylon fabric to decompose? Or that whilst cotton is a a fantastic natural fibre and takes only 6 months to decompose, when cotton decomposes it produces methane – a major contributor to climate change? Offering alternatives and solutions to the choices we already make with the disposal of our clothes; Dress with Sense shows you how you can donate, resell and rethink your clothes with examples and tricks on how to sell. Clothes swaps are a fantastic alternative, an opportunity to get together with friends that have similar styles and dispose of old clothes in a way that is much more beneficial for the environment. Or if you fancied something that allowed you to earn a bit of money in the process, reselling on websites such as depop are superb as well. 

The book has quick facts that may be shocking yet the book provides some really easy ways on how to change shopping, wearing, caring and disposal habits. It may not be as in depth as books such as ‘to die for’ yet if you have never read a book about curating a better wardrobe I would highly recommend it. In no way does it come across as intimidating, the illustrations allowing ethical fashion to be fun and making a wardrobe that you love but is ultimately better for the environment. Covering every step of your wardrobes life cycle, I now have ideas that I can put forward to further how ethical my wardrobe is but I’ve also discovered some new fashion gems as well. A new discovery due to the book is A Boy Named Sue, an online eco-boutique co-founded by Tania Reinhart-Shchelkanovtseva and Samantha Wong (Tania discusses her essentials for a capsule wardrobe in the book). 

Overall, Dress with Sense is a great book that doesn’t make ethical fashion feeling overwhelming although not so worth it if you want more knowledge of certain aspects surrounding ethical fashion. The illustrations and unique insights from activists and people that are directly linked to ethical fashion result in a unique read that I haven’t found anywhere else. 
Have you read any insightful books lately? I would love to know your recommendations as I’m constantly on the lookout for a new read! 
eleanor //


  1. Ciara Bottrell 21st March 2017 at 10:32 am

    This book looks wonderful, I'm currently trying to make the transition to an ethical wardrobe and it would help me so much thank you for the recommendation!


  2. Eleanor Pritchard 21st March 2017 at 3:46 pm

    I would wholeheartedly recommend this book then! Such great tips 🙂 x

  3. Elizabeth 21st March 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Ooooh was thinking about ordering this book, may just have to now!

  4. Eleanor Pritchard 21st March 2017 at 5:31 pm

    You really should!! It's such a well put together book with all you need to know about ethical fashion 🙂

  5. Edie 21st March 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Loved this! I will definitely be ordering this soon and giving it a read – I seem to be going through books so much faster than I normally do right now??

    Edie x

  6. Eleanor Pritchard 22nd March 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I'm not but only due to revision increasing! I have more book posts coming soon with books you can add to your wishlist 🙂

  7. Eleanor Pritchard 22nd March 2017 at 5:01 pm

    It really is a great start! More and more of my clothes are coming from charity shops as well 🙂 x

  8. Lisa S. 24th March 2017 at 6:25 pm

    This sounds so great! I really don´t have any clue about having a conscious closet so having a book that explains the basics is great! Definitely putting this on my to-read list!
    xx Lisa | Following Lisa

  9. Hannah lane 26th March 2017 at 8:43 am

    Thank you so much for a great write up! So glad you are enjoying the book and inspired to make positive change!

  10. Rebecca Miriam 26th March 2017 at 4:39 pm

    This seems to be a really well written book with useful tips, will put it on my wishlist!

    xx, rebecca

  11. Eleanor Pritchard 26th March 2017 at 5:10 pm

    It really is! I've seen the true cost and it's such a great documentary, I'll have a watch of the YouTube video later! I'll definitely do some more sustainable fashion posts 🙂 xx

  12. Eleanor Pritchard 26th March 2017 at 5:11 pm

    I would totally recommend it, it's definitely been a very insightful read 🙂 x

  13. Eleanor Pritchard 26th March 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you for commenting! It's a wonderful book and I'm so glad I've found it 🙂

  14. Eleanor Pritchard 26th March 2017 at 5:12 pm

    It's an amazingly well written book, definitely worth the read!


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