During the challenge I set myself of wearing a different outfit every day in August, I realised that one of the reasons I feel like I have no clothes is that too many of them are broken or missing a button or just slightly torn or the hem is coming down… basically, my wardrobe needed some TLC.
And so, several times over the last few weeks I’ve sat down in front of some good old fashioned trashy TV and mended clothes and altered clothes. None of what I did was difficult (it didn’t require a sewing machine) or time consuming, but it made my wardrobe feel bigger, effectively for free.
Here are some of the things I did:
- Cut the sleeves off shirts with uncomfortable long sleeves to make easy to wear short sleeved shirts with folded hems.
- Added poppers onto dresses and shirts where the buttons gaped.
- Re-hemmed trousers with gaping hems
- Turned up too-long trousers
- Sewed up seams that had split
- Darned small holes
- Reinforced wobbly buttons
- Sewed on missing buttons
- Added hooks and eyes to make low cut tops more modest and work appropriate
Absolutely none of this stuff is rocket science and all of it can easily be learned from YouTube if you don’t know how. You can also use hemming tape to turn up hems if you can’t be bothered to sew.
But it highlights an important fact; that a little bit of effort can have a real impact. Some of my new shortsleeved shirts have gone from unworn to favourite items. I don’t open the wardrobe and pull out a dress only to realise the hem is trailing down and have to put it back again. It’s made a genuine impact on my wardrobe. And it’s far less daunting and more doable than deciding to make lots of new clothes from scratch.
What next for the outfit challenge? I think the time has come for the kill. The last few months have helped me to realise that I quite simply have too many clothes that I don’t like enough. Just because I’ve worn something a couple of times in the last year doesn’t mean I’m obligated to keep it and keep pretending to like wearing it.
I’ve always given a lot of clothes away – to friends, to charity, to my little sister. Giving clothes to people I know lessens the blow of essentially watching all that money just thrown away. The fear and guilt of wasting money also leads me to avoid getting rid of things even after I’ve realised they don’t suit me.
And so we come to my next challenge: the car boot sale. I’ve found one near me, and I’m going to try my luck there in a few weeks. I’m also going to use eBay to try and sell bulkier items, and I’m going to be more ruthless than I dare when I’m just imagining what I would give away.
I’ll put the money aside and when I find a gap in my wardrobe, I’ll use it to buy something I really love and will treasure for the long term. I hope that this process will once and for all break the cycle of mindless consumption that it’s so easy to slip into. Wish me luck!