making the most of your wardrobe (without buying anything new)

2020, creativity, fashion, sustainability

Hello!

This is my third attempt at writing a blog post for today. I just couldn’t settle on idea but after browsing The Anna Edit for some inspiration, I thought I’d have a ramble about clothes as someone who doesn’t have the income to buy anything new but quite often feels overwhelmed by what I have.

Often, we can feel a little lack lustre with our wardrobe – the ‘I have nothing to wear while I’m staring at a full wardrobe’ syndrome. I’m by no means an expert – I haven’t nailed the capsule wardrobe, I still spend more time than I care to admit browsing clothing websites and I quite often end up wearing the same outfits again and again.

But I have been on a long relationship with refining my wardrobe – two years ago I sorted through my clothes and donated six bin bags of clothes I didn’t wear. I really don’t know how I ever fit them in my uni house in the first place. From there I continued refining my wardrobe – when I was packing to move I got rid of more clothes, when I unpacked I got rid of more clothes and two years later I have got a wardrobe that I feel works for all seasons and reflects my style, each item getting the appropriate amount of wear.

One of the key things I found helped with actually wearing everything in my wardrobe was storage – if you can’t see everything in your wardrobe, there’s no way you’ll remember everything you’ve got and several piles of clothes will just gather dust at the back of your shelves. In this respect, the seasonal capsule wardrobe works really well for this because you’re constantly switching out and keeping everything fresh but if that’s not what you want, some new storage solutions might be the way.

Whether it’s buying some shelf dividers, folding your clothes in a different way or just pulling everything out and starting again, refreshing how your wardrobe is organised will not only help you see everything better but it can also remind you of particular items you’ve not worn for a while that you still love!

The next thing I would recommend, is sorting through your wardrobe regularly to decide whether there’s anything you want to donate or replace or if there’s any gaps you think a new item may help with. I did a ‘wear it all’ challenge in February where I only wore each item in my wardrobe once throughout the month, then at the end of the month I went through everything that was left and it made me think about why I hadn’t worn it and whether I still wanted to keep it. I made a note in my bullet journal that I want to sort through my wardrobe again at the beginning of the September – as the summer starts to change into autumn I can think about which clothes I’ve been avoiding, bring my winter clothes to the front and get excited for chunky knits and cosy coats.

And lastly, if you’re feeling creatively stumped by your wardrobe, get crafty with it! Turn those dungarees into a playsuit (but probably get someone to help you make sure both legs are even!), add some patches to your favourite jeans (you can use any clothes you’ve put aside as spare material) or tie dye an old t-shirt or hoodie to give it a fresh look! The longer we’re in lockdown, the longer we’ll all be looking for something to do so why not get creative with your clothes? @lucid.seams on instagram up-cycles clothes with the most beautiful acrylic painting, @catherinehyden did this really cute embroidery on a t-shirt and my sister @lauradoesathing makes entire cosplay costumes, from scratch, designing her own patterns, and making actual clothes. You don’t have to be super skilled at sewing to try something new with your clothes.

Personal fashion and style changes so often, so finding new ways to wear clothes you already have and matching new pieces together can feel so creatively invigorating!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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wear it all February | sustainable clothing challenge

2020, fashion, goals, sustainability

Hello!

My relationship with fashion has always been a bit strange – between owning a hundred t-shirts, enjoying a bit of ‘fast fashion’ before the phrase existed and now trying to re-establish what I actually consider my ‘style’ and approach to fashion.

Last summer, someone I follow on Instagram did a challenge called ‘wear it all July’ – she only allowed herself to wear everything in her wardrobe once and it forced her to try new things with her clothes and really highlighted the clothes she kept avoiding that she didn’t want to wear them. I’d thought about trying it for a while but the last few months have been hectic and now is the first chance I’ve had to do it.

So I’m doing ‘wear it all February’ – a challenge where I only wear the items in my wardrobe once. Obviously I’m not including any underwear, pyjamas, workout gear or shoes (I definitely don’t have enough) and my plan is to rewear clothes only if I run out in that ‘category’. For example, I know I don’t have enough trousers to get my through the month but I’m already incorporating more dresses into my outfits than I’ve worn in a very long time.

I’m finding taking this approach makes choosing what to wear more thoughtful than ‘jeans and a cosy knit’. I’m looking at my wardrobe in a whole new way and it’s going to help me see more of what I’ve got, especially when I’m down to the last few days at the end of the month.

Currently, the way I’m organising my clothes is that once I’ve worn them, I’ll either put them in the wash if they need washing or fold them up in the bottom of my wardrobe to redistribute next month when I reintegrate all my clothes back into the wardrobe. And as more clothes go into the pile at the bottom of the wardrobe I’ll be able to literally see the clothes I don’t wear very often more clearly.

Not only is this going to stop me buying new clothes, I think it’ll give a new lise of life to clothes I already have and remind me why I loved them in the first place. I’m loving finding a new approach to fashion – looking in charity shops, watching videos of people upcycling some of their clothes and having the same clothes for years and years sounds like something I should have always been doing. Consumerism, the business of fast fashion and the short-term gratification of shiny new things is hard to unlearn!

But this month that is my intention. I haven’t been taking outfit photos so far (because I forgot on day one and didn’t see the point in continuing at that point). I’m definitely going to write another post at the end of this month talking about how it went but if you have any questions or ideas about the ‘wear it all challenge’ then please let me know!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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curating a practical wardrobe

2019, fashion

Hello!

Between fashion bloggers, YouTubers and the sustainability movement, everywhere I turn it seems there’s talk about capsule wardrobe, minimalist lifestyles and anti-fast-fashion.

It’s really opened my eyes to how I adopt these approaches into my own lifestyle – I love shopping but I also don’t like spending money and I hate not making use of what I’ve got so if I find something in my wardrobe that I don’t wear I’ll donate it to a charity shop.

It’s been over a year now that I’ve been slowly refining my wardrobe – cutting it down to be somewhere between a capsule wardrobe and a minimalist wardrobe which is really practical for me.

I’ve had three big clear outs – the first time was when I was in Southampton and I had so many clothes I literally didn’t have enough space for them all, I think I got rid of 6 bin bags worth of clothes in a charity bin (which is mind blowing, really) and I just about had enough room for my remaining clothes!

I did another clear out after I’d moved home and we got everything back out of storage – as I was unpacking all my clothes I did another big sort out and made another pile of a couple of bags of stuff I didn’t wear.

And the third one was fairly recently – I was ruthless, I got rid of things that were too small for me and things that were too big for me and I started being a lot more honest with myself about what I actually wear. When I finished that one my wardrobe looked so neat and tidy, it was beautiful.

But I still don’t think I’m done – I have too many t-shirts that I don’t really wear, too many pairs of trousers and I can’t see them on the shelf they’re on so I need to display them so I can actually see them all.

I’m not a big fan of the capsule wardrobe though – for me, I just don’t like the idea of only having a couple of colours so that everything matches, because I just don’t think that’s very sustainable. Having a shirt or a pair of trousers that go with a few options but not every option is far more realistic than making sure every top goes with every bottom option I have!

The main thing I don’t like about capsule wardrobes is swapping out parts of my wardrobe every season – I’m a big fan of layers and I’m also incredibly lazy so having to change up my whole wardrobe four times a year sounds like a lot more effort than I’m prepared to put in. And I think that having one wardrobe that works all year round is probably smaller and more environmentally conscious than a bigger wardrobe where you swap items out seasonally? It means I get more wear out of my clothes because I wear a lot of them all year round.

But then my wardrobe isn’t quite minimalist because I think it’s too big – I feel like a proper minimalist wardrobe should all fit on one rail or only have 5 shirts, 2 bottoms and a pair of shoes or something! Maybe I’m thinking a bit extreme, but whilst I want to be sustainable and get lots of wear out of my clothes I also like having choice and mixing and matching my clothes into lots of different outfits.

I love the idea of living a minimalistic lifestyle but I’m too sentimental – between clothes, photo albums, ornaments and even plush toys, I really do struggle to get rid of things but it’s all about balance isn’t it! It’s learning to let go of the things I don’t actually have a sentimental attachment to and keeping the things that mean something to me.

The last thing I’ve found that has helped me curate my wardrobe has been shopping more consciously – the amount of times I’ve been in New Look or Primark and really liked the look of something, but most of the time I realise it’s because:

  1. It looks like something I already own
  2. It’s trendy and ‘everyone has one’ so I’ve convinced myself that I need and I don’t
  3. I want it

But what I’ve found has worked particularly well for me is thinking about what I need rather than what I want – thinking about how an item will compliment the rest of my wardrobe or potentially thinking of something it could replace. Thinking a lot more consciously about what I’m buying makes such a difference when I’ve got an armful of clothes in Primark!

I like having a smaller wardrobe because I feel like I’m getting lots of wear out of what I’ve got and at the end of the day, I’m not good at making decisions so if I’ve got less clothes to choose from it’s much easier for me!

It’s all about balance – having enough clothes to get through day to day but focusing as much on what you need as what you want.

Everyone is different and different things work for different people – but I think it’s worth talking about because when someone shouts ‘sustainability’ you think about plastic bottles and single-use straws, but fast fashion is something we can do something about! People complain about Primark but anything is fast fashion if you treat it poorly – Primark isn’t the problem if you make the clothes last.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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