How to Keep Your Wardrobe Fresh Without Spending Money

Photo: Africa Studio, Shutterstock
Photo: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

For a lot of people, our relationship with clothing has changed quite a bit this year. Only a few short months ago, we were putting together outfits (and I use that term loosely) to go to work, meet friends, or do other out-of-the-house activities. Now, our daily dressing decisions come down to regular soft pants, dressy soft pants, and staying in pajamas all day.

And yet for some, the temptation to buy new clothes and accessories for their post-pandemic lives is still there. What season will it be? Are fashion trends even a thing anymore? Will we be able to retain a certain level of the comfort we’ve become accustomed to? Who knows! But as long as we’re still inside, it’s the perfect time for a wardrobe refresh. Here are some tips from a recent CNN article on how to do that without spending any (or at least much) money.

Avoid A ‘Fast Food’ Approach To Clothing By Buying For Life

Most of us probably buy too much stuff. When we think of reducing our disposable approach to consumerism, we might think of buying better gadgets or tools. News site Quartz suggests that your clothes are a big area in which we should buy fewer but higher-quality items.

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How to give new life to your wardrobe

At this point, we know about the many downsides of our fast fashion culture, from unfair labour practices, to discarded items ending up in landfills. So instead of adding to that, here are some things you can do to make the clothing you already have last longer and use them to create new additions to your wardrobe, courtesy of Hena Sharma and Allyssia Alleyne at CNN.

Learn the basics

Do you have a pile of clothes that you want to wear again, but are missing a button, or have a hole or broken zipper? These sewing basics are probably not as difficult as you think they are, and there are plenty of tutorials out there to walk you through the process. Once you’ve mastered a few techniques, you’ll be able to put some of your most well-loved pieces back in circulation.

Visible mending

Though you may stress about whether it’s obvious that you repaired your own clothes, in some cases, this “mistake” could work to your advantage. In fact, it could be a way to make something you’ve had for a while feel new and different. Per Sharma and Alleyne:

“Visible mending” refers to the process of repairing holes and signs of wear on clothes in bold, obvious ways. In Japan, such flaws are embraced through the handiwork of Japanese Sashiko (literally “little stabs”), a practice that uses hand embroidery to create a delicate pattern over tears in jeans, sweaters or dresses.

They recommend following Lily Fulop, author of “Wear, Repair, Repurpose: A Maker’s Guide to Mending and Upcycling Clothes,” on Instagram for inspiration.

Your wardrobe: The remix

If there’s something you own that you’re not so in love with anymore, think about what else you could do with it before putting it in the give-away pile. Yes, a lot of this depends on your sewing ability — so unless you know what you’re doing, don’t expect to be able to transform an old cardigan into a pair of nice slacks or any kind of magic like that.

But, there plenty of things those of us without advanced sewing skills can do. For example, it’s possible to turn an old shirt into a face mask with matching headband (or bandana, if you prefer), without having to sew anything at all:

That’s essentially the 2020 version of when we’d use discarded clothes to make our own scrunchies in the ‘80s and ‘90s, though it appears they’re a thing again? Anyway, there are plenty of videos out there walking you through that process too.

And these are just the very basics. To get other ideas, Sharma and Alleyne recommend checking out YouTubers like Annika Victoria and April Yang (aka Coolirpa) who post all kinds of upcycling and repurposing videos.

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