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Article: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a More Ethical Dancewear wardrobe

ballet dancer wearing a pair of used tights recycled into a ballet warm up top

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a More Ethical Dancewear wardrobe

Are you worried that your budget combined with your love of buying new dancewear will overrule your desire to shop more ethically? Scared of being forced to opt for cheap and nasty over eco-conscious? You’re not alone. Here are our top tips to create a versatile and responsible wardrobe without breaking the bank.

A responsible dancewear wardrobe on a budget? It’s totally doable

In a world that often pits financial constraints against the desire to shop responsibly, finding a middle ground can seem challenging. To help out, we’ve compiled a guide to help you navigate the dancewear landscape, providing tips and tricks to create a versatile and responsible wardrobe that aligns with your values......and ours.

We've already debunked the myth that ethical dancewear comes with a hefty price tag. From revamping your existing wardrobe to embracing second hand treasures, here are some practical strategies for mindful dancewear and overall fashion consumption. Learn how to make the most of your clothing, be environmentally-conscious during the laundering process, and discover the impact of better fibres on sustainability.

Fall back in love with your wardrobe and shop sustainably with us and our fellow small ethical brands.The most sustainable wardrobe is the one you already own! But.......there’s no use throwing out the clothing you already own and rebuilding your leotard or unitard collection from scratch. The deed has been done and it shouldn’t go to waste, we are not here to shame you for purchases past! Style your existing pieces with different accessories, reinvent them with a DIY project, or try combining that gorgeous leotard from last year with a different skirt.

Find the hero items that always make you look and feel great and wear those babies as much as you can. After all, the most ethical wardrobe is the one you already have.

Be mindful during the laundering process

The consumer use phase, aka wearing, storing, maintaining, washing, and drying all the dancewear and tights you buy, is a key contributor to the overall energy consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions associated with clothing, not to mention the deal with Microplastics. Doing laundry better is an essential step to keeping your clothing around for longer and reducing your impact. see our tights washcare guide

Choose recycled nylon over virgin nylon.

Going for non-synthetic fibres is rarely practical for dancewear.

In ballet, its highly impractical to go for natural fibres and difficult to find functional fabrics that are non-synthetic. We choose to make our dancewear from recycled materials, Recycled Nylon has the same benefits as recycled polyester: It diverts waste from landfills and its production uses much fewer resources than virgin nylon (including water, energy and fossil fuel).

We use ECONYL® regenerated Nylon and for our tights, made in collaboration with Swedish Stockings, we use SENSIL® EcoCare recycled nylon. These fabrics are made from a combination of ocean plastic waste and industrial plastic waste. When brands talk about saving the oceans and say they are creating garments from ocean plastic waste, we think that is a romantic view, and only partially the true picture. 

Loved clothes last

Always repair your dancewear and tights wherever possible.
As a dancer, challenge yourself to think of imperfections as opportunities.
In a fashion system that sends a truckload of clothing and textiles to landfill or incineration every single second, mending is not only a practical skill but an act of resistance. It’s estimated that by extending the life of a garment by just nine months, we reduce its water, waste, and carbon footprints by 20–30% each.
Maintenance is a word we no longer associate with clothing, but it lies at the crux of the problem and is a way to define part of the solution—a way to redress the balance between consumption and disposal.

We will always try to repair any Imperfect Pointes dancewear for free, to keep it in use for as long as possible, as long as you have washed and cared for it according to the wash care label.

Shop preloved

According to resale platform thredUP, “if everyone bought one item used instead of new this year, it would save 5.7bn lbs of CO2e.”
We started to sell preloved dancewear on the Depop platform because, as yet, we haven’t found a way to make our dancewear fully circular and we want to take responsibility for your Imperfect Pointes items throughout their life cycle. This means you can send us your old Imperfect Pointes in exchange for a discount on a new item.
Find out more about selling to us for Depop or see if we have anything stocked on our Depop @dancewear_dilemmas to suit your budget.

Upcycle, upcycle, upcycle

Upcycling is a way of tweaking an item to make it even better than the original. This means taking something that doesn’t fit or is stained/torn and refashioning it as a fabulous new piece. Add an elasticated ruche to a piece you’ve fallen out of love with or cut the sleeves off a long sleeved garment.
We always recommend getting every last bit of life out of your Imperfect Pointes convertible tights by cutting them down into a warm-up top. Often the convertible foot area can be the first to go, but the unique deep waistband makes the cut-down tights ideal as a stylish top.

Embrace ‘less is more’

A capsule wardrobe refers to a small collection of seasonally appropriate, mix-and-match outfits. It’s a good ieas to start building a capsule wardrobe of leotards or dancewear you know you feel confident in – there’s always that trusty leotard you keep for Mondays in the studio, for example.
We have a whole range of stunning responsibly-made dancewear now stocked, to help you build the perfect Imperfect capsule dancewear wardrobe.

Taking control over your wardrobe also means you no longer have to put up with dancewear that “isn’t quite right”—you can tweak things as your style changes, getting optimum wear from your well-loved items—and earning yourself some bonus bragging points.

Before you reach for your wallet, first ask yourself these three questions: How much will I wear it? How much do I already own? How long will it last?

Invest in quality pieces of dance gear from Imperfect Pointes

Resist the impulse to buy huge numbers of cheap items from big brands churning out styles each week, in favour of investing in quality pieces that not only make your look more streamlined, it also reduces the amount you consume overall. Saving your hard-earned cash for quality is really a win-win. 

Although shopping ethical dancewear may seem like a more pricey up-front commitment, taking the time to curate a careful and worthwhile wardrobe of items made with love and purpose, will be much gentler on your wallet—and the planet—in the long run.

Tips for a Sustainable dance wardrobe adapted from Sophie Benson, Fashion Journalist and Good On You

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