How to Fall Back In Love With What’s Already In Your Wardrobe

How to Fall Back In Love With What’s Already In Your Wardrobe

It’s hardly news that our consistent over-consumption of fashion is putting strain on the planet. Due to its contribution to pollution, resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions, fashion is considered one of the most environmentally harmful industries in the world. Constant production also contributed to creating a working environment of modern slavery, where workers are forced to toil for long hours every day, with wages that often don’t come close to covering the bare minimum needed to survive. 

How did we get to this point? It can be argued that fast fashion is the culprit – but low-cost chains are only one factor in what is essentially an all-around broken system. Social media is fuelling an anxious, trend-driven climate where we frantically chase what’s new, afraid to be seen wearing the same thing twice, especially on Instagram.

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Influencers also do their part to contribute to the hype: how many times have you seen your favourite influencer wear the same outfit more than once? This shopping craze that holds today’s fashion lovers firmly in its grip is a relatively new occurrence: the average person today buys 60% more items of clothing and keeps them for half as long as 15 years ago. And sometimes we don’t even wear our much-coveted purchases – 30% of clothing in the average UK wardrobe has not been worn in the past year.

Photo: Nugroho Wahyu.

There are many ways to be a more ethical shopper, but limiting our consumption must be a key priority on our quest to a more sustainable fashion system, and the quickest way to minimise our impact is to re-love what we already have. By “shopping your wardrobe”, you are not contributing to any of the harmful issues that are connected to the fashion industry. And it’s easier than you may think – as tired as you may be of your current wardrobe, sometimes all we need is a hit of inspiration to revive our love for our clothes.

Here’s how:

1. Use social media for inspiration.

You know those jeans you’re so tired of that you’ve pushed them to the very back of your wardrobe? An Instagram influencer or a Pinterest streetstyle star might wear them in a way that you have never thought of, bringing new life to a tired design. Take a tour around your favourite photo-based social networks, type the name of your garment into the search box and get inspired.

2. Find your styling creativity.

Many of us get stuck wearing the same pieces in the same ways, and when we tire of these same outfits, we tend to think that it’s the clothes that we’re tired of. But experimenting with what’s in your wardrobe and trying different ways to mix and match clothes that you already own can renew their appeal and give them a fresher feel.

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3. Revive basic pieces with statement styles.

Having a go-to “uniform” style formula helps you keep those nothing-to-wear mornings to a minimum – but it’s also a sure-fire way to get tired of the same old. Hit the thrift shop, have a swap party with friends or dig out a family treasure from a relative’s wardrobe to spice up your go-to outfits.

4. Learn to mend.

Our immediate reaction when a piece of clothing or an accessory breaks is to get rid of it – after all, it was so cheap! But if we want to stop the mass influx of garments ending up in landfill, we need to rethink our approach to the lifespan of clothes – and learning to fix what’s broken is not as daunting as it might seem. Stylist and slow-fashion advocate Meg Pirie, who regularly runs mending workshops, says: “Mending has at its very core a set of values that anticipate the need to preserve and covet our belongings, something that we have lost touch with. Caring for things in this way makes the piece uniquely yours.”

5. Set an experiment for yourself.

Want to push yourself to get more creative? Pick an item in your wardrobe and give yourself the challenge to wear it in five different ways. This exercise might also help you to learn what works for your personal style and what you are comfortable in – one of the outfits might resonate with you in ways that others don’t. 

Bottom line is this: every time we’re thinking of getting rid of a piece of clothing, we should ask ourselves if we can give it new life. Whether it’s through mending, a conscious styling exercise, or a free-spirited sprinkling of creativity, there’s a good chance that those shoes or that dress aren’t quite done with us yet.

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