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Article: 3 ways you can upgrade your wardrobe - cheap & sustainable

Frau legt Klamotten zusammen

3 ways you can upgrade your wardrobe - cheap & sustainable

We all feel a certain amount of pressure when it comes to owning new and trendy clothes. With each passing season there are new, cool, hip clothes to buy in stores and online. We are also often led to believe that we have to adapt to these new styles and trends. And yes – it’s fun to shop, put together cute new outfits and pick up clothes you love! But hyper-consumption behavior not only harms our wallets, but also the environment. I have put together a few tips for you that you can use to transform your wardrobe cheaply and sustainably.

3 tips to help you transform your wardrobe cheaply and sustainably

1. Swap clothes with family or friends

My first clothing swap was organized by the student council of my course. I had never heard of this concept before and never thought about how useful something like this actually is. The principle is simple: Each person who takes part brings along discarded items of clothing and offers them for exchange . All clothes you bring with you should of course be clean and intact.

Whether you end up swapping a sweater for a tank top, pants for a jacket or a designer bag for a jute bag is up to you. The only condition is that both parties are happy with the exchange. Of course you can also give away or sell items of clothing; But, as the name suggests, the exchange transaction is the main focus of a clothing exchange.

At the university clothing swap I took part in, any clothes that were left over at the end were donated to an organization for people in need . I think that's a great thing and it's definitely something you can consider when swapping clothes with family or friends.

What I like so much about the principle is that you have a completely different motivation for cleaning out your own closet: you are not alone, you have a deadline for the clothes exchange (and are therefore more likely to pull yourself together) and have new clothes on the horizon!

So why not start a clothes swap with colleagues, friends or family members? In times of WhatsApp groups, email distribution lists and social media, organizing such an event is child's play! The whole thing can also be wonderfully combined with events such as summer festivals, garden parties or even film evenings .

Clothes swap between friends

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

2. Improve the design of existing clothing items

Regardless of whether it's about stains, holes or simply a color that you've had enough of - there are a lot of ways to upgrade existing clothes that you actually like but somehow don't wear anymore and give them new ones again to add pep. On YouTube, Instagram or Pinterest, for example, there is tons of inspiration for such DIY ideas (“DIY” stands for “do it yourself”). For example, in one of their latest videos, TheSorryGirls show three ways to make stains on clothing “disappear”.

Last year I grabbed three older, plain t-shirts that I found in my closet and tie-dyed them. Because one of the shirts was way too big for me, I quickly cut it into a crop top . And hey presto, I had three “new” items of clothing!
By the way, batik is also a great activity for children - after all, you can't mess around with colors so uninhibitedly every day, right?

So if there are clothes that you hardly wear anymore and want to give away, it's worth thinking about whether you can brighten up the garment with a fun tailoring or craft activity.

Have existing clothing tailored to flatter your body shape

While we were on the subject of “tailor”: Our bodies change several times over the course of our lives. Children often grow in size overnight, pregnancies require a lot of flexibility and weight gain or loss can occur for numerous reasons. All of this has an impact on the clothing items we need.
But far too rarely do we think about adapting existing clothes to our changing bodies and go shopping for new clothes instead. Simply because it feels like the quicker and easier solution. Tailors are often even cheaper than purchasing a new item of clothing. Maybe there is a sewing enthusiast in your environment who would make small changes for you?

Not all items of clothing can be adjusted “just like that”. Sometimes the right material is simply missing or there is irreparable damage. That's not my point at all. Because I'm more interested in making the option of tailor-made tailoring more present in our minds again . Because often more is possible than we initially think.

Woman at sewing machine

3. Shop secondhand before buying new clothes

A point that is perhaps obvious. But maybe not. Although shopping for used clothing has become more common again in recent years as awareness of our environment grows , it still has a somewhat frowned upon reputation in certain circles. “Second-hand clothing smells bad” “Clothes are only given away if something is wrong with them” or “in second-hand shops you only find clothes from the 70s” – these are all prejudices that still exist . Admittedly, you have to take some time when shopping secondhand. And yes, there are stores that take advantage of the hype that has arisen around second hand and offer their clothing at completely overpriced prices. But these things shouldn't stop you from at least trying it .

If you don't want to leave the house, you can use online platforms like Vinted . There you can list and sell clothes that you want to get rid of, as well as buy used clothes from other people . The entire buying and selling process is made very easy. I've also made quite a few snaps at Vinted (formerly Kleiderkreisel )!

Bonus tip: 5 questions to ask yourself before buying new clothes

  1. Does this item of clothing actually enrich my wardrobe?

  2. Can it be styled in different ways?

  3. Does the color match the rest of my clothes?

  4. What about the quality of the garment, is it sustainable and long-lasting?

  5. Will I still wear this item of clothing next year?

These questions will help you make more sustainable purchasing decisions. If you can answer all or most of the questions with a “yes,” then you are well on your way to conscious consumer behavior. :-)

If you would like to learn more about sustainability, mindfulness, healthy eating or family and pregnancy, check out more exciting blog articles on these topics here .

Wardrobe transformation at flea market

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