I recently saw an old episode of Seinfeld where Jerry can’t date a woman because she keeps re-wearing the same dress. Honestly, this got me kind of mad. Why wouldn’t she re-wear a dress? You can clean and dry your dress in a day but even if you don’t, where’s the problem? It’s perfectly fine and acceptable to re-wear a dress you wore to dinner, a social event or even to work without washing it every time. Of course, you’re not going to do it if you stained it or sweat really hard that day. But if you showered before wearing it and hadn’t dirtied it, it’s perfectly fine to re-wear your clothes.
It was right about the time when we had our very first party for employees and clients at the company I work for and I had to figure out what to wear. I don’t own many dresses and have appeared and been photographed many times in the two pieces I own. Obviously, I wanted something different but I didn’t want to buy more stuff. That’s when I started thinking about the ways to re-wear my clothes and finding ways to wear something new without buying it. So here are my thoughts that might as well become your New Year’s resolutions. (Yes, I did start writing this in December and now it’s February. Don’t be petty.)
Well, this one is pretty simple. Just stop buying. You don’t need so many items in your closet, you don’t need every new trend that appears. When you see a piece and feel like you have to buy it just ask yourself do I really need this?
Most of the time the answer will be no, so try to ask yourself that more often. Build a capsule wardrobe and stick to it if that’s your jam, combine each item in a new way, layer them, wear a T-shirt as a scarf or your shirt as a skirt. There are so many possibilities. Trust me, I know. I read Man Repeller.
BORROW FROM FRIENDS
For the aforementioned event I borrowed a dress from my colleague. It’s a fun way to upgrade your closet, especially when you need a piece for a one time event.
And don’t stop there. Borrow from your sister or brother, from your boyfriend or girlfriend. Oh, you’ll also want to borrow some from your mom, or even better, your GRANDMA. Now that’s a way to upgrade one’s style.
BUY FROM SUSTAINABLE SOURCES
When the day comes and you realize your T-shirts have holes or the dry cleaners ruined your trench, shop mindfully. Choose brands that use sustainable fabrics and pay their workers fairly. That means buying clothes made from organic fibers and plant-based substitute for animal fibers.
Second-hand and vintage stores are a good option, too. Just make sure you’re not buying polyester or any other fabric that’s essentially made of plastic. (I’ll give you more details in future posts on how to know what’s harmful and what’s not.)
GIVE MORE LOVE TO YOUR CLOTHES
I already wrote a piece on washing your clothes. Sustainability expert Steve Richardson found that 65 percent of all greenhouse gases are produced during the use of a product (ISPO) through the use of energy for washing and drying, and just washing your plastic clothes can pollute oceans (Vox).
Try using soap berries and stop wearing plastic clothes altogether. Get yourself some good ironing or steaming tools that won’t ruin your clothes. Think about getting a fabric shaver from Steamery or Remington. That will make your clothes last longer and look better longer. Also, Seinfeld was wrong. It’s okay to re-wear your clothes.
Photo from “Seinfeld/S07E13/The Seven” (1996).