Re-use, Re-wear & Recycle

For many, lock down has given us the opportunity to take a look in our wardrobe and start thinking about how we shop and enjoy fashion in a more conscious way.

I’ve been recycling both mine and my children’s clothes for years moving on pieces I’ve fallen out of love with by selling online, at car boots sales, donating to charity and at clothes swaps. I take great pleasure in knowing others will get good wear out of pieces we no longer want (or in my children’s case fit into).

I’m also one for getting maximum wear out of pieces I buy by working the ‘four yes’ rule and asking myself every time I shop – Can I;

  1. Wear it to three different occasions?
  2. Wear it across three different seasons?
  3. Wear it with three other outfits in my wardrobe and
  4. Will it last for 3 years with adaptations?

If I can’t answer yes to all four of the above questions then I don’t buy it – it’s that simple!

So how do you adapt and re-fashion your outfits I hear you cry? I’ve used a variety of different methods over the years – here are a few you could try;

Have the garment altered

I often shorten the length of dresses as many stop mid calf which on me isn’t very flattering.

Dye it a more flattering colour

Dying clothes is a great way to breathe new life into your wardrobe. But before you head out to purchase dye check the fabric as some don’t take on the dye. Cotton, linen, wool, silk, nylon and viscose all dye well as does a polyester/cotton blend that contains less than 35% polyester.

Patch a hole

Patch a hole in your favourite jeans with a colourful piece of fabric.

Add a detail or replace one

Changing the buttons, adding elbow patches to a jumper or shoe clips to a plain pair of flats are all simple yet effective ways to switch up pieces in your wardrobe.

And when your clothes are no longer serving you and ready to move them on there are variety of ways you can do this;

Dress Agencies

If the pieces you’re wanting to move on are still in great condition and your not ready to give them away, sell them online or through a dress agency. Some dress agencies work on a percentage split of the sale price while others will buy your clothes from you and then sell them on.

Selling Online

There are many different sites for selling your clothes online. The likes of Ebay can be great if you’ve plenty of time to upload pictures of the items your selling. If not, the likes of MusicMagpie and other similar sites offer a fuss free way to receive money for clothes you no longer want.

Car Boot & Pre-loved Sales

I’ve sold successfully at both. Just make sure the pieces your selling are well presented as it makes a big difference. Just be prepared to stand your ground on pricing. Everyone loves a bargin and many people are happy to haggle for a better price.

Money back vouchers

H&M accept unwanted clothes by any brand, in any condition, at any of their stores. In return for a bag full of clothes you receive a £5 voucher to use towards your next purchase of £25. All clothes collected are either reused, reworn or recycled – how good is that!

Donate your clothes

There are many different ways to donate your clothes. Over the years I’ve donated to my local church where the clothing was sent to women and children in refuge camps. I’ve passed my children’s clothes (teddies and DVD’s) onto a foster carer. And with the support of my amazing clients we have donated to Smart Works, a UK charity that provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need.

Don’t forget to recycle your bras

Recycling our bra’s isn’t something we necessarily think about but there are various charities who would gratefully receive any bra donations you can give them. I’ve popped a few (in no particular order) below;

  1. Bravissimo recycle old bras and for every kilogram they receive, Bravissimo make a donation to Mind. Just drop them in next time your out shopping.
  2. ZABRA donate pre-owned and new bras in the UK to women in South Africa and other countries who can’t afford their own.
  3. Smalls for All is another fantastic UK charity which accepts new or “gently worn “bra’s. They can be any size and include sports and nursing bra’s. They provide your pre-loved undies to women and girls in need in the UK and Africa.

If your bras are too worn or broken to donate to any of the above, you can still donate them to a textile recycling bank – find one near you at Recycle Now’s website.

So however your choose to re-use or recycle your unwanted clothing remember to do your bit for the environment and avoid throwing away unwanted clothing in the rubbish bin as so much of it is reusable.

How do you get more wear out of your wardrobe?

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