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How to Get the Most from Your Existing Wardrobe

Today’s hot fashion topic is sustainability. Avoid fast fashion. Reuse and re-purpose. Purchase from stores and designers that source their products responsibly.

You want to be a good steward of the plant, and want to do your part. But it’s exhausting, isn’t it? And it can also be expensive if you approach it from the wrong angle.

What is the easiest way to start a sustainable fashion lifestyle? Wear what you have. You’re your budget tells you that you cannot afford another thing, look inside - your closet is probably already full of great clothes to wear. But what if some are last year’s styles? Adapt, modify, and update. The phrase that defines the new shopping trend, “shop your closet,” is apropos for the current social and economic climate. Most of us (including image professionals!) are saving our pennies and not investing in new clothes. Our old shopping habits have died - and hard! - and now it’s time to “make do with what you have.”

You can still wear your current clothes this year – all it takes is a little innovation and creativity to learn how to style those old looks into new! Re-fashion your existing wardrobe and to look at your clothing collection with newer, fresher eyes.

First, study current trends to get ideas.

One of the best resources for studying clothing trends is fashion magazines (bonus points for electronic versions). Here you get visuals, trend reports and exciting ideas. Use the fashion photographs to determine the trends you want to appropriate for yourself and decide which current looks you like to building your new selections.

Next, “shop” your closet.

Remember when you used to shop by season? Spring would follow winter and that was the time to purchase lighter sweaters and pastel colors. Then summer would follow spring and you’d go buy a selection of shorts, dresses and hot weather tops, not to mention sandals and hats and sunglasses! Let’s follow this concept and pay a visit to our closets.

Then, think about the season you are in right now.

By themselves, your individual pieces can be run of the mill. Switch up your styling to get a newer, fresher look out of these “older” pieces. Check out current magazines or online fashion sites to see what’s happening in fashion NOW. When you see looks that appeal to you try to translate the looks by using what already exists in your closet. For instance, last year’s peasant blouses can be transformed this year by tucking them INTO your jeans or skirts.

Here are a few more last year/this year’s suggestions:

  • Last year’s ombréd looks: layer them this year. Put a silk cami over last year’s ombré tank top, then pair with mid knee leggings for a whole new look.

  • Last year’s oversize men’s white shirt: add a colorful belt and an enormous/bold necklace. Wear over a pair of skinny jeans (also from last year).

  • Last year’s transparency trend – this year wear something over it.

You get the idea – develop your styling skills by reviewing last year’s clothes and re-interpreting them into this season’s hot looks.

Finally, much of fashion changes only slightly from one year to the next. Silhouettes are re-interpreted by designers to look fresh. Stylists take last years' looks and re-fashion them by tailoring or changing the cut of a jacket, pants or top to make them more relevant to today’s trends. You can do this yourself easily.

Find a good alterationist or tailor who can help you achieve your vision. Have an idea in mind for converting the item you have pulled from your closet. Jackets can easily convert to sleeveless vest styles (very hot for this coming season). Skirts can be made longer or shorter depending on the mood of the fashion moment. Pants can be made into capris or shorts.

And color? Certainly there are seasonal and even annual color trends, but you should always remain true to what looks best on you.

Open your mind and let your imagination roam wild - and get resourceful with your closet. The minute you start to look at your clothes in a new light your creativity will ignite, and you will create hot new looks. You’ll have tons of new things to wear!

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