Yuka Yoneda

5 Cheap & Easy Ways to Green Your Wardrobe

by , 08/09/09

5 cheap and easy ways to green your wardrobe, sustainable  style, sustainable fashion, green fashion, green clothing, green garments, repurpose clothing, recycled clothing, diy, do it yourself, threadbanger, eco fashion

As Inhabitat’s fashion editor, I spend a lot of time (yes, a tad bit little longer than is required for my job) perusing through seriously crave-worthy fashions, from the frilly and ethereal, to the haunting and hardcore. That being said, looking at all of these beautiful clothes can be very bittersweet when you’re working with a less than rockstar budget. In fact, one of the biggest complaints I hear about ethical and eco-conscious fashion is that it is just too expensive! I definitely acknowledge the fact that buying a lot of these labels is not cheap, but you have to admit that it makes sense that clothing using the latest and most innovative fabrics and paying fair wages to local people would be more pricey. I try my best to save up and buy my favorite eco-chic pieces when they go on sale to support the cause, but who says you need to spend big bucks to rock a look that is both green and cutting edge? Here are 5 easy and supercheap ways to green your wardrobe by using your noggin instead of your benjamins.

5. Flip It and Reverse It

Instead of buying two separate garments, diversify your wardrobe by looking for clothes that are reversible or double duty in some way. Dresses with cute patterns on both the inside and out (like the supercute baby blue number below) are a great example of getting two dresses for the price of one!

4. Call In the Swap Team

Swap meetups are a simple way to score fresh pieces for the new season without actually having to spend money on them. And since you’re basically trading clothing with other people instead of purchasing new, the whole process is very sustainable. If you’re looking for a swap meetup in your area, Meetup.com is a great place to find one (I recommend the Five Borough Clothing Swap Meetup if you are in NYC), or you can always host your own swap party with your friends! Real Simple has a wonderful guide with everything from how to organize your swap party to what to serve.

3. No One Has to Know That It’s the Same Dress!

In the past, fashion has been all about buying new clothes to keep your look fresh and discarding old ones. But why not revamp what you already have by accessorizing wisely? Take a cue from The Uniform Project, a clever and inspirational website that follows the daily fashion adventures of one girl as she recycles the same little black dress into a new creation everyday for a whole year, and use your imagination to make your own wardrobes staples sparkle again.

2. Threadbangers Unite!

This one is a no-brainer. Sewing your own outfits (especially out of reclaimed fabric from clothing you already have) means that you’re saving energy, materials and avoiding unethical labor. We love Threadbanger for ideas about everything from making a stylish slouchy dress out of old t-shirts to crafting a Balenciaga jumper out of scrap fabric. Need patterns? SANS has some simple and elegant ones for as little as $6.

1. Repurpose What You Already Have

Wait – don’t throw that away! Before you discard old clothes or accessories, consider what other ways you may be able to use them. From transforming tank tops that no longer fit into handy grocery bags to repurposing padded bra inserts as shoe insoles, chances are there are some pretty ingenious ways that you can turn your old junk into something you really need and save some cash while you’re at it!

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2 Comments

  1. patis1km September 24, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    This is a fantastic idea for the economically-challenged among us. I have never been much of a seamstress, but I can at least alter my clothes so that they last longer. When jeans wear out, sweaters fit wierd or shirts get holes in them, I try to whip up solutions that are fun and different. Not only to alternative solutions save you money, but they give you a chance to be creative and revamp an entire wardrobe.

    A good place to start is to collect fabrics (either remnants from craft/retail stores or old garments/bedclothes) and make a good stash. Use up that ugly fabric on lining torn purses or patching a pair of pants. Even haphazard knee patches on an old pair of jeans make for an interesting conversation piece and fashion statement. Not only that, you can convert pillowcases into handbags or old shirts into bandanas.

    I have a terrible habit of getting stains or holes in my university T-shirts, and have a whole stack of ‘em just wasting space. Instead of letting them sit there, I could make car pillows, stuffed animals, purses or headbands out of them. Whatever your skill-set with sewing, there are alternative clothing options for everyone (though making good friends with a sewing whiz helps a lot). Best of luck to fellow wardrobe wizards out there!

  2. bochica.co.uk August 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Love the fact you are championing ways to green up your wardrobe…I wanted to let you know about Bochica.co.uk which is an affordable ethical fashion website to suit the most credit crunched of budgets…check us out http://www.bochica.co.uk. I set up Bochica precisely because I couldn’t afford the majority of ethical fashion out there….hope you like the site

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