Whether we love clothes shopping or hate it. There’s no denying that wonderful rush of well-being when we add a new pretty piece to our wardrobe. We feel that much more special and confident when stepping out of our doors, sporting some fresh new garb. In this day and age, environmental awareness should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Especially when it comes to consumerism.
Yes, there are lots of steps that we can take that help us be more eco-friendly. Buy local, recycle, reusable cups and bottles. The sad fact of the matter is, these little steps, make a relatively small dent in mankind’s overall carbon footprint. A step that will make a bigger impact is the mend, not replace.
When a garment is worn, stained, or torn the temptation to throw it out is huge. But we’re here to give you some great tips to not only make your clothes last much longer but find the best possible way of reusing and recycling them when you’re ready to let an outfit go.
Love your clothes longer
This part is all about being creative. Don’t be limited by how the model online wears your blouse or your dress or your jeans. Even the simplest t-shirt can have dozens of different looks. Accessories and playing around with styling are your best friends when it comes to breathing new life into an old piece!
High waisted jeans can completely transform the look of your top – tuck it in or do a half tuck. Get some bangles or bracelets.; A “stylishly” messy up-do. Maybe even with a hair stick, roll up your sleeves and suddenly a work shirt will scream boho chic. If you have a bunch of t-shirts that have got a bit dull – cut a new neckline.
Trim the top collar off – try to follow the natural line of your collarbone – and you’ll have a much more flattering t-shirt. If you couple it with a bra with brightly coloured or lacey straps, it’ll add to the look all the more.
Winter vs Summer
When winter turns to spring, any long-sleeved numbers you have can easily be jazzed up to a more summery look. Simply cut off the sleeves! If you’re worried about the hems, you can take your tops to a local tailor or alterations spot. It’s super cheap and you’ll bring home a top that feels brand new.
Waist belts are another brilliant way to spice up your closet. Instead of buying 5 new dresses, invest in a couple of well made waist belts instead. A thin, delicate black leather belt is perfect for a more formal look. A thick bold belt will make the perfect statement piece. Or a low, hip hanging, metal belt will not only change the look of the same dress, but also alter how it sits on you – experiment with different position to see which look makes the biggest impact.
And an oldie but goodie – summer shorts are a nightmare. Finding a flattering pair that won’t shine your undies through and goes with your tops can be tricky. But if you have an old pair of jeans or chinos that are past their prime, simply grab a pair of scissors and chop! Remember not to get overzealous!
You can always go shorter, but not longer! So start carefully – a very flattering length is just covering the knee. It’ll still be plenty airy for those hot days, while not getting bunched up in your erm… special place, as you walk. Denim will likely naturally get a fringe going as you wear your new shorts, but with things like chinos, or if you’re not a fan of fringe, just roll up the bottoms in a narrow double fold and you’ll have a nice neat hem.
Learn to sew!
This might not sound like an appealing option for the less dexterous, but if we really want to help Te Fiti, some basic home ec skills should be added to our repertoire. If an outfit has ripped at the seam, don’t think that’s the end of the line. A simple running stitch is the easiest thing in the world. Turn your garment inside out and you can literally follow the original line of stitching. Your mum or craft friend will definitely have a stash of hotel contraband that features sewing kits, so pick the colour that’s closest to your garment – doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, we’re stitching on the reverse side, so nobody will see it anyway.
A few minutes of sewing and your clothes are good as new. If a rip is more complicated – like worn through jeans – if the jeans are a great fit and well made, it would be a shame to let them go. You can take them to a dry cleaner that does repairs or again, a local seamstress, and the jeans can be patched! They’re very good at finding the right colour and typically use more sturdy material to make sure the patch stays strong for many more wears.
Reuse, recycle and donate clothes!
I’m sure you’ve seen this hack before, but when a garment has gone past its heyday, you can cut it up and use it around the house as a towel or cloth. If you’re sentimental, you could take swatches from several of your old favourite outfits and sew them together into a cushion cover. Otherwise, it’s all about donating to charity.
Very often, people judge an outfit too harshly, think it’s not in a state good enough for a charity shop and wind up throwing a garment away. Don’t! Any article of clothing that’s not good enough to sell can still be recycled, and charity shops get money for this. So don’t be too precious and donate as much as possible.
If dragging bags of old stuff to a charity shop is a bit of a hassle, these days most large supermarkets have clothes recycling stations, so you can recycle old clothes and shoes when you take out the glass. Also, many charities make donating even easier and pick up your old clothes directly from your home.
Look out for their collection bags in the post, put together everything you no longer wear and simply pop the bag outside, as you would your trash bags. They’ll get collected on the designated day – easy peasy!