When I started my blog I thought fashion would be the bulk of my content, but that’s not quite what’s happened. Currently, my ethical fashion content is shopping guides, which are fun, but I want to show you my style and prove that ethical fashion isn’t boring or granola.
There’s a bit of a problem though… My current closet is uninspired and missing key items. On the bright side, it gives me an opportunity to share my process of refreshing my wardrobe ethically and on a budget. Let’s do it.
…but maybe not yet?
I’ve been through this phase so many times over the past year partially because I don’t have the space for extra clothes and I just want all areas of my life to be more streamlined. Yet, I still find myself looking through my dresser drawers thinking, “I could get rid of that and that… What the hell is this? I don’t even wear it.”
Go through all your clothes and pull out any items you don’t love or don’t wear. I suggest making this a quick process because the longer I allow myself to think about whether I should keep a garment, the more likely I am to keep it even if it really should go. The catch is we can’t afford to replace everything at once, so if you don’t love that cardigan, but it’s your only one and you’re always cold, keep it for now. Just set it aside for the next step.
Of course, don’t throw your unwanted clothes away! Give them to a friend, donate or sell them to make an extra buck.
grab your pen and paper
Now that your wardrobe has been reduced to just the items you enjoy wearing, you may be able to clearly see what you’re missing. Because I’ve been unhappy with my wardrobe for a little while and I think I have a pretty good understanding of my personal style, it’s easy for me to see what I’m lacking.
I love making lists, so naturally I suggest you make a list. If you can think of garments you’d like off the top of your head, or set some aside to replace during the purge, write them down.
If you’re stumped there are two approaches. The first is to think functionally. You can go by season and ask questions like, “Do I have a winter coat? A light jacket? Summer clothes?” or you can consider the different occasions you dress for like work, formal events, and weekend wear. The second approach is to make your list by building outfits in your current wardrobe. For instance, you have a pair of cropped wide leg trousers. What would you wear with them? If you think a tailored blouse, but you don’t have one, add it to the list.
When deciding what to add, I choose pieces that can be styled lots of different ways and aren’t too trendy because I don’t turn over my wardrobe that often. A few things I’m in the market for include:
Blouses– I have a few, but they’re made of heavier fabrics. I don’t think you can go wrong with a light cotton blouse paired with jeans for a casual put together look.
Slim Cut Tees– Oversized t-shirts are great until you realize they’re too bulky to layer.
Bodysuit– Again, I think a bodysuit would be great for layering and offsetting oversized pieces. A lot of my clothes are oversized because I like the look, but it’s also made me bit apprehensive to wear fitted clothes again, so I want to overcome that.
Smock/Swing Dress– I used to wear dresses all the time, but I’ve slowly got rid of most of them as my style changed. I love playing with volume, so a short smock or swing dress would be a perfect addition to my wardrobe.
Sandals– Like I said in this post, I don’t have any and I’d like to participate in summer for once.
aka the fun part
Shopping time! Now that we have our lists, it’s easier to navigate stores without getting overwhelmed or making impulsive purchases.
Because we’re doing this on a budget, my strategy is to thrift first. Not only is it fun, but it saves you a lot of money. If you’re looking for very specific, modern, and/or tailored piece, you probably won’t find it at the thrift store and that’s okay. The idea is you invest key pieces and offset the costs with cheaper items on your list that are easy to thrift like t-shirts, sweaters or jeans. I’m doubtful I’ll find the perfect sandals and I just feel weird about thrifting a bodysuit, so those will be definitely be new ethically produced purchases. If you spend more on the garments that more important to you, you can’t go wrong.
Please comment if you want me to make the wardrobe refresh a series! I want to make content you enjoy, so if you liked this post and found it helpful, let me know. If I continue, you can expect hauls, how to find your personal style, OOTDs and maybe even a lookbook. You decide!