Guest Post: Nancy Dilts on Sustainable Style

Today, I want to introduce you all to Twin Cities personal stylist Nancy Dilts. I met Nancy through mutual friends, and immediately admired her methods and her mission. She’ll tell you about both shortly, but suffice to say she’s helping her clients make choices that are great for their wardrobes and for the planet!

Nancy mentions the film “The True Cost” below, and I must also urge you to watch it. After viewing it myself a few weeks ago, I have vowed to make some serious changes to my own shopping practices forever. More on that soon.

But now, let’s hear from Nancy about her innovative methods and deeply personal motivations.

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nancy dilts

My tagline has two mantras: “new to you” and “true to you.” I specialize in “new to you” shopping – that is, shopping at consignment stores for secondhand clothing. And I help my clients find and embrace their personal style to feel great about themselves and remain “true to you.” When I start talking about these two tenets of my business, I get a little excited.

Here’s why:


I spent close to 20 years in environmental education and outreach. Everything about my work involved raising awareness about environmental issues and teaching about how our behaviors impact the environment. I’d also been shopping consignment for years – not only because I like high-quality clothing, but also because I never really had the budget for it. (Environmental educators are not known for raking in the big bucks – and even if they did, I wouldn’t want to spend that much on clothing.) My current work as a wardrobe consultant specializing in consignment shopping now brings these two passions together.

At consignment stores, you can get that high-quality clothing – designer/top brand garments that will last – at a fraction of the cost. And you will significantly reduce your impact on the environment by reusing good quality clothing, keeping it out of the waste stream, and reducing pollution created and energy used in the manufacture and transport of new clothing.

This summer marked the release of a new documentary “The True Cost,” which looks closely at the human rights and environmental impact of “fast fashion.” Fast fashion is extremely inexpensive trend clothing – clothes meant to last for one season at most, ready to be discarded once the next trend has arrived. They’re so cheap it doesn’t even matter! But it does matter.

The True Cost” is not for the faint of heart. The film vividly illustrates that while the consumer may not pay much for fast fashion, the cost is actually very high. It is high in how it affects the factory workers in developing nations who create this clothing in hideous working conditions for mere pennies a day. It is high in the amount of pollution being created in order to grow cotton in vast quantities and to fabricate synthetic fibers from petroleum products to meet the demand for so much new clothing. It is high in the energy used to transport these items around the globe to consumers like us. And it is high in the impact it has on our waste disposal systems when it is thrown away after only a few wears.

These things are not fun to think about. But knowledge leads to action. When I shop “new to you” for myself and with my clients, we are addressing these issues, one consumer at a time. Exciting stuff!

The True Cost” is available now for streaming on Netflix, or you can download it. Check it out – it’s a powerful film. And if you really want to get your environmental geek on, read Luz Claudio’s article, “Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry,” in Environmental Health Perspectives for an in-depth look.


Personal style is just that: personal. Mine has certainly evolved over the years. I’ve always (ALWAYS) loved clothes and putting them together – just not on myself – for much of my life. That’s where body image comes into play.

Launching my business as a wardrobe consultant was the culmination of gaining the upper hand on a lifelong battle with body image that included struggling with my weight. I hid my body in loose clothes and pretended I didn’t care about how I looked. I consistently felt shame regarding my body.

Having my daughter pushed me to come to terms with my own body image. I did not want my daughter to experience the same self-loathing. Now that she is a pre-teen, this is particularly crucial. I want the messages she receives from me to be ones of self-love, including being healthy, strong, and confident. I worked to accept my body as it was. I embraced that weight doesn’t define beauty.

When weight loss became about being healthy for myself and for my family – rather than being thin (and thus beautiful, in my old, distorted mindset) – I lost weight. That was five years ago. I still work at maintaining the upper hand with positive body image and always will. But I have a much clearer understanding of the insidiousness of shame and the power of self-love.

I now have the privilege of supporting others in their positive body-image journeys. I never tire of working to help people feel better overall by feeling great about how they look. I love the thrill of clients embracing their true selves – inside and out – and expressing themselves with personal style. Talk about getting a little excited.

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Nancy Dilts, founder of Nancy Dilts Wardrobe Consulting, brings her passions – personal style, positive body image, and the environment – together to help her clients feel great about how they look, using an economically and environmentally sustainable approach. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband, daughter, and dog, and is certain she will one day find a way to incorporate her other passion – chocolate – into her business model.

Contact Nancy to book a Wardrobe Consult, Personal Shopping session, or service package. Learn more about Nancy Dilts Wardrobe Consulting at

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3 Responses to “Guest Post: Nancy Dilts on Sustainable Style”

  1. Beverly

    Sally—-I so rarely comment on your powerful posts and I apologize! I read you every day and you have made quite a difference in my thinking about clothes and their meanings. Thank you for today’s guest post (and your own environmental awareness); the documentary is on my must-watch list.

    • Sally McGraw

      Don’t apologize, Beverly – I’m just glad you’re reading! Glad you enjoyed Nancy’s post. She’s fabulous. And I’m sure you’ll find “The True Cost” compelling, if a bit upsetting. More on that soon from me, too … thanks again for your kind words!