Whenever a new season approaches, most of us are ready to head to the mall, or more likely, shop online for new clothes. Everyone wants to look good, but did you know that you can save a lot of cash by being conscious about fashion choices? Including upcycling clothes?
Credit Donkey states that adults spend $161 or more a month on clothes. That's almost $,2000 a year! Ask yourself, if that money didn't go towards clothing, what else could you spend it on? Maybe you'd invest or take a much-needed vacation?
Let's talk about how upcycling clothes can save you a ton of money.
Upcycling clothes: What does it mean?
So, saving money sounds great, but what exactly is upcycling, and how do you do it? Well, upcycling is just taking your old clothing and recycling it by changing it into something new which is great for a capsule wardrobe.
A dress becomes a shirt, or an old item gets some personality so that you can wear it again. You become more creative with things you already have, and the price to upgrade them is cheaper than buying new clothes, or, in many cases, free.
Refashioning clothes can be a great money-saver if you're on a tight budget, but you want something new for your wardrobe. It can help you transition your wardrobe for a new season without spending a penny.
Benefits of upcycling clothes
That being said, here are some really great benefits of upcycling clothes:
You will save money
One of the best benefits of refashioning clothes is that you aren't going to spend nearly as much of your hard-earned cash. It frees up your budget a bit and can help you feel better about your financial future.
Try setting money aside each month that you would have otherwise spent on clothing. You keep this cash in your pocket instead of wasting it.
After a short amount of time, you'll see how much you've saved, and you can begin to make a plan for those extra dollars. Plus you'll also find your cost-per-wear is way up! (P.S. You can check out our article on how to look expensive on a budget!)
More unique items that others don't have
With fast fashion, the chances of someone else wearing what you're wearing are pretty high. When you upcycle, you're creating something original.
You can make your wardrobe unique when you opt for slow fashion and add some creativity. A pop of color or a different style will make you stand out from the crowd and appreciate your clothing more.
Helps the environment
Another benefit of upcycling clothes is the contribution to the environment. Business Insider found out that 10% of carbon emissions produced by humans come from the world of fashion.
By upcycling your clothes instead of getting rid of them and buying new ones constantly, you can help the planet. Helping to keep the earth clean can make you feel good and is an excellent reason for upcycling clothes.
15 tips for upcycling fashion
Ready to get started with refashioning your clothes? Here are some great tips for upcycling fashion!
1. Learn basic sewing
If you can master the basics of this skill, you'll be well on your way to upcycling your clothes. Besides being a fun hobby, sewing is also very practical. It can help you to fix ripped or frayed items, in addition to creating new clothing with patterns or your own ideas.
2. Dye your clothes or shoes
If you're tired of your clothes, but they're still in good condition, you can dye them. That boring shirt that fits well but you don't wear? A different color might help! Try one or two items at first to get the hang of it. Pretty soon, you'll be looking at a whole new wardrobe.
3. Thorough cleaning
Sometimes all your clothes need is a little sprucing up. So if a cardigan was hanging in your closet for a couple of months, run it through the wash. Dry clean items that need it. Shine your shoes and get rid of scuff marks. They'll feel brand new again.
4. Add new buttons or details
Try a new look for an old classic. Trading out the buttons on last year's winter coat can give it new life. You can also add details like lace to change the look of some of your outfits. Try different colors and designs to make an impact.
5. Turn a shirt into a headband
This is a fun project that is easier than it sounds. If you have a shirt with a pattern or color you like, but you no longer wear it, change it into something different. Cute headbands to hold your hair back are one way to upcycle an old shirt.
6. Add scarves to make an old outfit new
When in doubt, accessorize! Scarves can completely change an outfit. It can make a drab combination look elegant and put together when you add a silk scarf. Or you might try a funkier look with a colorful scarf that complements your shirt.
7. Add patches or fringe
Think about upcycling clothes by sewing on some patches to old jeans or fringe to a dress. Adding details can bring a lot of interest to your wardrobe and keep you from getting tired of your clothing.
8. Denim skirt or shorts
Speaking of jeans, do you have an old pair that no longer fits well or has holes in the knees? You can change it into something new by making cutoff shorts or a denim skirt. You can continue to get good use out of the item but in a new way and for a new season.
Embroider your clothes for a unique look. Add designs and colors to blouses, pants, or jackets. It will make your style your own and add a lot of personality. Here's a really awesome tutorial on embroidery for beginners!
10. Turn a blanket into a coat
If the weather is turning cooler and you have a favorite plaid blanket, it's the perfect time to turn it into a coat. You'll stay warm and look great. Here's how to create a new coat from a blanket.
11. Purse from a t-shirt
One of the best refashioning clothes options is to change something from one type of clothing to another. For example, you can turn old summer t-shirts into a stylish tote bag. Perfect for the beach or a day trip, and with a design you already love.
12. Add pockets
Adding pockets increases convenience and makes a brand new look. You can create pockets for almost any clothing item, from dresses to shirts to slacks.
13. Turn an oversized shirt into something new by tying it instead of buttoning
You may need to look at an old item in a new way by wearing it differently. If you have a large button-down shirt, don't just button it and tuck it into your jeans.
You can add a tank top underneath the button-down and then tie it in a knot at your waist. It's a classy summer look that requires almost no effort.
14. Turn a long skirt into a dress
If you have a maxi skirt you're tired of, you can quickly turn it into a knee-length dress. Add sleeves to make a brand new outfit.
15. Add sleeves to a tank top
This is a cute way to combine two patterns, and it's pretty simple. Find an old tank top you still like, and grab some material that will compliment it. From there, you can sew on three-quarter length sleeves and end up with a new shirt.
Some thoughts on sustainable fashion
Although there are many ideas for upcycling clothes, when you do need to purchase something, it's essential to be conscious of its sustainability. Fast fashion is popular, but the materials used are usually of bad quality.
They do not last long, on top of the other harmful effects. On the contrary, sustainable fashion uses better quality materials that also consider the impact on employees and the environment. Here are some ways to invest sustainably. (Be sure to check out our favorite books on sustainable living).
Buy classic pieces that don't go out of style
Rather than buying new clothes every season or even every few weeks, buy pieces that will always be popular. Look for solid colors or classic prints like plaid and stripes.
Purchase pieces with designs you like that aren't trendy but tend to wear well over time. You'll end up buying less when the dress you purchased five years ago still looks great today.
Buy in a color palette that goes together
It's easy to curate your wardrobe if everything goes together. To do this, spend some time researching what colors look good on you. In addition to a few neutrals, you can add in some colors that you feel confident in. Begin buying with this color palette in mind.
And remember, all neutrals (black, grey, white, beige, cream) go together. Beyond that, find out if you should wear a summer or winter color palette. Getting dressed will be easier when every item is in a color that looks good on you and goes with the other things in your closet.
Buy quality materials that last
Look for materials that don't fall apart. That means staying away from mostly synthetic fabrics and instead focus on cotton, wool, and linen fabrics, or at least a blend that includes them. Your clothes will look good for years when you buy more sustainable materials.
Pair with different items in your wardrobe
If you always wear the same outfits, spend some time shopping your wardrobe. Go through your closet and pair items differently than usual - different blouses with different pants, skirts with scarves or jackets that you've never worn together, etc.
This will help you to stay creative with your clothing instead of always looking to buy something new when things get boring.
To wrap up: Upcycling fashion is always a great idea!
Now you know how upcycling clothes can save you a ton of money. It's important to be content with your wardrobe, find new ways to wear old items, and consciously add more sustainable clothing. It helps the environment and your wallet.