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Lifespan Of Clothes: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Clothing

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Be a trendsetter: Use your wardrobe in new creative ways, express your style, and say goodbye to shortsighted fast-fashion.

Today’s post was written by Rebecca Piersol, who writes for ThredUp.com.

We are all guilty of window shopping, online browsing, or coveting the wardrobes of friends and family members and thinking, “I really need some new clothes!” But purchasing new clothes every season might not be the best solution for you, your wallet, or the environment. Most of us just don’t have the expendable cash to be constantly updating our wardrobes to keep up with fast-fashion trends — not to mention it’s important to stay conscious of the waste that buying new clothes creates.

Before you decide to replace your old clothes with new ones, take a look at these ways to make your old pieces feel fresh again. These helpful tools will make you feel like you have a new wardrobe while still incorporating your favorites — along with pieces you have been neglecting in the back of your closet! You’ll still keep up with trends, feel comfortable in your personal style, and all the while save yourself a good bit of money, not to mention you’ll be contributing to less waste.

Take Inventory First

The first thing you’ll want to do is take an inventory of what you already have in your wardrobe. This can be an extremely daunting task if your closet is stuffed to the brim, but it’s really important. Make sure to dig deep in your drawers and in the back of your closets. You may find hidden gems that you’ve forgotten all about! This also gives you the opportunity to become reacquainted with old pieces and hopefully to produce a few “Aha!” moments along the way.

Clean Out Your Closet With Care

If you come across items that no longer fit right, or ones you won’t wear again, consider donating them to a local charity — there are plenty of people in need who will put them to good use, especially during the winter months — or consider consigning them to a thrift store for some extra cash. Similarly, as you comb through what you already own, you may find yourself saying something like, “I could wear this top more if only I had a pair of black pants,” or “I’d definitely still wear this dress, but I don’t have any shoes to match.” If purchasing one or two items will help you get more out of your existing wardrobe, give yourself the green-light to shop, but set a clear budget. Buying items secondhand will help you save money, and it saves the energy needed to produce new clothing. Stick to high-quality brands that will ensure your investment piece can be worn for years to come.

Make Old Trends New Again

Fashion is always repeating itself — I call this the “fashion circle of life.” Those tees you have collected over the years are now back en vogue. Sport your old t-shirts with pride as if they were designer “vintage” tees, because chances are you’ll be the only one to know the difference. If you feel confident rocking your old pieces, you’ll look confident too (not to mention stylish)!

DIY Your Denim

If you’re someone who loves a good DIY project, take stock of your jean collection. Research ways to turn your jeans into cutoffs, because that trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. This year, it’s all about frayed denim, uneven hems and cropped jeans, so experiment with those projects as well! Browse Pinterest to find a tutorial that appeals to your style.

Layer, Layer, Layer

I love repurposing old button-down blouses or shirt dresses. In addition to wearing these classics as-is, try wearing them unbuttoned over a slip dress, or with jeans and a tee, to create an edgy yet chic look. You can also throw one on to keep you warm into the Fall or during breezy spring evenings. There’s no need to purchase new lightweight outerwear, as these shirts can serve the same purpose.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably hoarded cocktail and formal dresses thinking you might wear them again in the future, but alas, they remain hanging in the back of your closet. Bring those formal pieces to the front of your closet and experiment with fun ways to dress them down, by wearing them with sneakers or over jeans, for example. The opposite is true for casual dresses — find new ways to dress them up! Pair statement jewelry, or a fun pair of heels, with that shift or maxi dress, and you’ll fit in with the finest-dressed party guests out there.

Rethink The Fit

For those pieces that you think don’t fit anymore, make sure to take a closer look. Loose-fitting clothes are trending right now for that laid back, yet fashion-forward vibe. Hold on to pieces that are just a tad too big, in order rock the effortless, carefree look.

With the change of seasons, it is so tempting to want to get your wallet out and spend like crazy, but we hope you’ll consider these money- and waste-saving tips before you do so!


What your eco-friendly fashion tips? Share them with the community in the comments below!

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About the Author
Rebecca Piersol
Rebecca Piersol

Rebecca Piersol is a stylist turned fashion blogger from Richmond, VA.

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  • Devon L. 2 months ago
    Clothing swaps are fun! You can also sell your clothes at a consignment store. There are even online ones where you can pack all your clothes up in a bag (that they provide) and send it in. Generally, they want higher end stuff but do accept things that aren't designer as long as it's in great condition (like Loft, Banana Republic, Gap, etc). Here's a referral link in case anyone is interested: http://www.thredup.com/r/MBKLLE
  • Les S. 2 months ago
    Consider buying used...I once worked at a thrift store and bought clothes by Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, and other designers, in perfectly fine condition. What you're tired of...sell or give away...give them a second life. A third life even? Yes! Dish towels, rag rugs, pillows, and cleaning cloths can give a final use to old clothing. Just break out that dusty sewing machine and go crazy!
    • Erica D. 1 month ago
      I love thrift stores. Goodwill near me sells jeans for $6.00. If you look you can find brand names and nice jeans that would cost $45 and up in a regular store. Makes sense to me to buy second hand as long as it is in good shape, it should last several years. Hang dry to save energy, and it's a win- win.
  • sharon h. 2 months ago
    Taking inventory is key. Sometimes clothing is pushed to the back of the closet, fallen off hangers, still in bags.