There is a well-known fashion rule that many girls strive to follow: “Never wear the same thing twice.” But in our limited closets, never repeating an outfit just doesn’t seem feasible. Many have made recycling clothes and repeat outfits just as fashionable as a new outfit.
Sheena Matheiken founded The Uniform Project to fundraise for The Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organization in Mumbai, India bringing education to children living in the slums. She pledged to wear seven identical dresses, one for each day of the week, for an entire year. The dress is accessorized with pre-owned, vintage, or handmade items that are donated by the public through the project’s website. Matheiken makes wearing a uniform look easy, citing some benefits like “having something you don’t have to think twice about and becomes part of your skin.”
For accessorizing and spicing up the same basic dress over and over again, Matheiken recommends taking advantage of hats, scarves, shoes, belts, and collars. “This project is also an attempt to freshen up the dialogue of sustainability in fashion and to prove that the style and sustainability needn’t be mutually exclusive,” said Matheiken. “It promotes recycling and encourages people to shop their own closet and get creative with what they already own. Admirers from all around the world who visit the project website agree.
If the idea of wearing a uniform is still daunting, another way to engage in thrifty and eco-friendly fashion without breaking the piggy bank is by hosting a clothing swap with some friends. A clothing swap can update one’s wardrobe with new clothes and boost new life into old clothes as they find a new owner.
The number of clothes swappers should be comfortably intimate since everyone will be trying on the clothes in proximity, but large enough to gather a variety of clothing types and sizes so no one gets left out. Having fifteen people is a realistic numberto start. Have at least one full-length mirror available (two or three would be even more ideal) and advise more modest friends to wear a tank top and leggings underneath for changing in front of others. Invest in simple and clothing-safe refreshments for a party atmosphere — clear sparkling mineral water, cold cuts, and gummy candy are some options. Play some upbeat music to create a slumber party meets sample sale vibe that clothes swappers won’t forget.
Additionally, set a minimum number of clothes that each person must bring on the invitation and make sure that everyone washes and presses their clothes. A few garment racks can create a retail store atmosphere and make the clothing easier to see and access if the swap gets crowded. Remind everyone to bring accessories, too In a successful swap, everyone goes home with an entire new outfit.
Next time you find yourself worrying about not having anything to wear, think about these easy solutions for recycling and reworking what you (and your friends) already have.
Last modified: August 31, 2009