What’s Old Is New Again
Repair, Recycle or Resell: All in Fashion

Photography by AB-Photography.us

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Between changing seasons and keeping up with trends, it’s no surprise that we go through a fair amount of clothing in a year. Some of the related stats are a little more jarring. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the average U.S. citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.

Yikes! What’s a style-loving, yet wasteconscious woman to do? Let’s start by getting creative in saving what we already own and a little savvier in how we deal with the rest.

Bring old favorites back to life

Cleansing your closet of items that no longer serve you is always a good feeling, but what about those items you still really love that are a little “worse for the wear”? Before giving any favorites the toss, consider seeing if your issue can be repaired by a local expert. Here are just a few problems worth looking into to save your much-loved item:

  • busted zipper or hardware
  • missing heel cap
  • fallen hem
  • gaping hole
  • elastic damage
  • leather piping or bonding

Thee Only Shoe Repair in Rochester not only provides repair to shoes, but also purses, luggage, zippers and more. I wish that I’d have known about these options before; it could have saved me SO much money on shoes and purses alone!

The same goes for alterations. The notion that women are meant to perfectly fit into standard store-bought clothing, while tailoring for men is common practice, is frustrating and can be damaging to body image and confidence.

Having a seam adjusted to hit you at just the right waistdefining spot or changing up a neckline can make all the difference in taking your piece from like to LOVE. Brooke Burch Custom Sewing & Alterations works this kind of magic on everything from casual tops to formal gowns. She’s also quite intuitive and creative with her solutions. I once brought Burch a jumpsuit that was a little long, intending to have it hemmed.

After reviewing the fit on me, she suggested instead taking in the sleeve holes, which both brought it to the perfect length and better hid my bra. I left feeling like a million bucks for much less than buying brand new.

Whether your goal is to save time, money, the earth or all of the above, giving your old favorites new lives instead of shopping for something new is definitely a win-win-win!

Secondhand style is chic

Now, say you have the above goals in mind but still need to do a little shopping in order to update your wardrobe. Many are trying to get away from the big-box stores, instead choosing to invest in a few key pieces from brands with more ethical, sustainable materials and production. Shopping secondhand is a great way to save money on quality clothing that has already proven it can stand the test of time. Many of our local secondhand stores also cycle through the latest trends, so you can feel at least a little better about trying something new without breaking the bank or contributing to the fast fashion industry.

Be sure to use the following tips when shopping secondhand:

  • Make a shopping list to curb impulse buys. You’re going to come across unique pieces at a steal, but remember it’s not a steal if you won’t ever actually wear it!
  • Sizing can be unpredictable, especially with vintage. Some stores don’t offer fitting rooms so be sure to dress so that you can try things on over what you’re wearing.
  • Diligently look over each item for small tears or holes, stains, missing buttons, etc. Bringing home your incredible finds only to realize something is damaged is no fun!

Sell like a pro

Need some extra cash to fund your secondhand shopping excursion? Try your hand at secondhand selling! Consignment stores purchase their inventory from the public—often for cash on the spot. Bring your items in for inspection and take the time to browse their inventory. Clothes Mentor even offers more for your clothing if you choose to take store credit.

In order to make secondhand selling worth your time, keep the following in mind before you lug totes across town:

  • Research each store’s typical demographic and buying patterns, as well as which seasonal items they are currently taking. Most will list this right on their website; otherwise give them a call.
  • Don’t be offended by whatever the store decides to pass on and make an immediate plan for those items so that they don’t end up back in your closet. Either try taking them to another nearby store or donate them, if they were denied because of condition.
  • Double check that consignment is your best option for selling. For higher ticket items, such as designer shoes and purses or authentic vintage, Facebook Marketplace can be a better alternative. Look up similar listings to get an idea of price point and take a few pics in good lighting. Though it’s more work, you can make more money this way.
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About Author

Samantha Erickson

Samantha has always loved making things "pretty." Her level of patience necessitates that pretty must also be simple and practical to remain sustainable! Currently a professional organizer by day, Samantha holds a professional background in both cosmetology and personal styling. A true believer of the term "more with less," she hopes to bring a balanced approach to the fashion & beauty department for RWM readers.

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