Although he is the ruling monarch of England, King Charles III also reigns supreme when it comes to fashion sustainability. Known for his “make do and mend” mentality, the king’s very practical and environmentally friendly approach to fashion is one we could all stand to learn from.
The King On Fashion: ‘I Can’t Bear Any Waste’
Reduce, reuse, recycle is more than a phrase for the king. In fact, His Majesty practices what he preaches. Known for being a committed environmentalist, the sustainable king shared with British Vogue why he has a difficult time getting rid of clothes.
“I’d rather have them maintained, even patched if necessary, than to abandon them,” Charles remarked. “The difficulty is, as you get older, you tend to change shape, and it’s not so easy to fit into the clothes. I can’t bear any waste,” the king continued. “I’d much rather find another use.”
One “other use” the king has found is rewearing vintage threads, including a morning suit he’s owned for 40 years. He’s been seen in the Anderson & Sheppard suit several times, including at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding in 2018.
When asked if he had thought about wearing a new piece to the wedding, the king admitted to considering it. “But in the case of that particular morning coat,” His Majesty said, “as long as I can go on getting into it, I only wear it a few times a year, in the summer, so obviously you want to keep those sorts of things going. But if I can’t fit into them, then I just have to have something new made.”
Turns out, the king doesn’t have to worry too much about not fitting into his old clothes. In fact, the monarch was seen wearing another 40-year-old piece this year at St. Mary Magdalene Church’s New Year’s Day service in Norfolk: a longline tweed double-breasted overcoat. Fans of the royal family easily recognized the vintage coat.
Even though the king makes an effort to re-wear pieces when possible, he does have some expensive and well-made clothes. For these pieces and everything else in his wardrobe, the monarch is committed to having them maintained by tailors and cobblers.
As the king said, “I happen to be one of those people who’d get shoes—or any item of clothing—repaired if I can, rather than just throw it away.”
It’s a good reminder in our disposable society that rewearing and repairing clothes are part of a sustainability mindset!