Second Chances: Renovate your Wardrobe Instead of Buying New

Even if your budget is limited, or want to reduce landfill waste – or maybe both – renovating your wardrobe instead of buying a new one is a lot easier than you think. Good wardrobes are must-have for many, and we like and tend to invest in new clothes without taking a look of what we have already in our closets. Giving your wardrobe an economical but fun fashion facelift, could be an easy way to resist the temptation.

Modifying and transforming your wardrobe instead of buying, saves money. If you’re a single mom whose job requires changing wardrobe, or you’re young and are building up a solid income; maybe you’re interested in upcycling and recycling. We have great advice and some techniques to find Eart-friendly and budget-easy ways to update your wardrobe.

A Second Life

Our clothing secrets, those gotta-have purchases that we hang in the closet, waiting there for our next perfect occasion. But that perfect cocktail night or party, just never materializes. We forget it’s hanging there, even with the tags still attached, and now it’s no longer trendy or it doesn’t fit like before.

Don’t just toss clothes: it would be good to give them a second life. Our clothes, most of the times end up in a landfill. More than 10 million tons of fabrics went to landfills in 2015, according to the EPA. Only about 14% of clothing and shoes were recycled, yet within the same year. Energy, water, and other resources are required when producing new clothes and other textiles. When renewing your wardrobe,linens, bed sheets, drapes, and blankets instead of discarding, you do your part reducing landfill waste.

Clothes Renewal Selection

Let’s dig in and decide which clothes stay, which clothes leave, and which are good candidates for a transformation.

Go through your closet. Take clothes out and start working on an organization system. Some people organize types of clothes together: button-down shirts together, slacks, pants, skirts, dresses, etc. Others group their wardrobe according to use: work clothes, party clothes, casual clothes. Still, others group their clothes according to colors.

Whatever organizing system you use, stick to it, and revisit the selection process every few months, or at minimum once a year. You probably discover clothes you haven’t noticed or used for years. New variety can be brought by rotating those into your regular wardrobe.

How Often Do You Use it?

Ask yourself how often you use it, as you go through your closet every now and then. Be honest when you look at that dress or pair of slacks You could transform that dress into a cute blouse, if you renovate those slacks. If you haven’t worn something for a year, you probably won’t and it would be good if you give serious thought to remove and renovate it it from your closet.

Does it Still Suit You?

That skirt you used to love10 years ago when it fitted or was a trend. Think, can’t you live without it? Still feel the same for it? This might be a good candidate for a subtle or grand transformation.

What to Do with Clothes you Don’t Need?

By now you should have a keep pile, a keep but renovate pile, and a leave pile. What should you do with these clothes? Take a look at them and evaluate: Fashion-wise oif they are good quality, Consider selling them at online social media groups or consignment shop or Facebook Marketplace.

If the clothes aren’t top quality, donate them to a thrift shop or a program that helps the disadvantaged. Offering them for free on sites like The Freecycle Network could be another option. Clothes have a use for others while staying out of the landfill.

Here are some techniques and tips to renew them once you have chosen the keepers.

Upcycle, Downcycle, and Renovation Techniques

Your wardrobe is an amazing source of creative upcycle and downcycle projects.

When you upcycle, it involves turning an existing item into something of higher value. Those old jeans could become an on-trend, functional denim tank top, shopping tote, or a woven sink floor mat. This saves energy and materials used by new-item manufacturing processes. Some people make their income when crafting and selling items using upcycled materials.

Do the same woth your wardrobe – turn the fabric into something else useful! Turn soft wearable cotton T-shirts into dust cloths, that sweater for your dog, or a snuggly small pet toy. Also downcycle shirts to wax your car. People have recycled clothes into sewn protective face masks, by using t-shirt strips as tie straps.

Look for second-life ideas for upcycling your clothing. You’ll be amazed of what scissors, creativity and sewing thread can acomplish. Theresi no need to be a professional seamstress or DIY fashion guru to achieve amazing results.

Here are some great fabrics for craft or upcycle projects that are probably hanging in your closet right now:

  • Denim, like jeans and jean jackets
  • Cotton shirts
  • T-shirts
  • Shirts
  • Cotton blouses or dresses
  • Flannel or plaid shirts
  • Bedsheets
  • Wool sweaters and blankets

Using various techniques and very handy online tutorials, cut, sew, glue, and transform unwanted, fabrics into exiting, new, home decorating, even craft creations. Take a look at this ideas for transforming closet rejects:


Scissors and Fabrics are the perfect match when you’re giving a second chance to clothes. When you Renovate can be as easy as cutting slacks into shorts and hemming the frayed ends. Cut strips and weave together and turn it into a rug, cut clothes or tie off the ends for future quilting pieces.

Transform Dresses into Trendy Tops or Skirts

That cute dress that you almost never wore, turn it into a top or a skirt! May be as simple as making the dress a little higher and you could add a cute belt. Look for inspiration and tutorials, on online sites.

Repurpose Old T-shirts into Something New

If you have drawers where is full of oversized t-shirts or old ones? Give them a new life. Change them into totes, make some crop tops, and find ways to reuse the fabric. T-shirt material is the ideal to renovate, upcycle, or downcycle. When cut, t-shirts don’t fray, so you can will be able to cut and handle without the need to hem. Use T-shirts as knitting yarn to make macrame, rag rugs, pillow cushions, patchwork quilts, potholdersand even shirt bags, or even potholders.


Never goes out of style. Tie-dyeing makes a terrific family activity. Time to transform those white shirts and other clothes, even the ones that may be stained. Unless they’re bad stains, the tie-dye pattern will hide those imperfections, and ready to be wearable again.

Watch videos online with step-by-step directions before you tie-dye. Lots of different techniques to achieve the patterns and color combinations you want, are otu there.

Not into tie-dye? No problem, you can use different painting materials on clothing to change that look. What about acrylic pens? Or natural pigments? Even fabric paints watered down so they are just like a dreamy watercolor painting. In sites like have lots of ideas to bring new life to your clothes.

Bleach Techniques

Transform your dark clothes, into vibrant, statement pieces using a creative reverse dye technique process of bleaching out the color and then adding bright dye colors to the bleached, white sections. Bleach pens to create cool, colorful images on fabric are useful too.

Knitting, Sewing, and Crocheting

Traditional methods knitting, sewing, and crocheting are time-honored skills you can learn as you add beautiful accents to your clothes.

Hem a long skirt into a shorter version or transform slacks into shorts or Hem a long beautiful skirt into cool shorts. You can add a contrasting color block to an existing skirt. On an ordinary blouse, sew a lace hem on shorts or a crocheted accent for a charming touch.

Repair Old Clothes

Consider repairing your clothes before throwing them away. Resist that urge to dismiss clothes bacause of a hole or missing button. Invest a little time in repair instead of replace, invest some time and have fun, and you’ll save lots of money. Iron on or sew on a cool, on-trend patch on your jeans! Change out the buttons on your sweater! Research online shops for eye-catching buttons that could show your personality.

If you have no idea how to sew, darn, or sew-on button, don’t worry: lots of tutorials online for almost any repair situation are available.

Denim Jeans and Jacket

Denim jeans are very versatile for renovating projects, when you sew some patches or lace onto existing jeans or maybe a jacket for a specific-chic fashion statement. For embellish with flowers, peace symbols, or cool sayings, use fabric paint.

Denim’s fabric can also be transformed into totes, light-blocking curtains, woven denim rugs, or reupholstering fabric for chairs! Quilts, baskets and pillows can be made out of denim. For your favorite pet, make a braided tug-toy (making sure he doesn’t swallow it) or make a grocery-bag holder, using elastic on each end of a pants leg. You can find lots of tutorials online with amazing and useful ideas for old jeans.


You realize that, clothes worn by kids, don’t last forever. But quick patching can be a solution to give clothes more life. Look for coordinating or contrasting colors! Place the patch on the inside of the worn-out spot and sew it in to make it fashionable.

More DIY Wardrobe Renovation Ideas

There are more creative and unexpesive ways to inject new life into your wardrobe.

Update your accesories by going to thrift stores and estate sales for pieces like earrings, bracelets or necklaces. Search for vintage stores for retro leather handbag. A new set of banglesfor yourself can bring new sparkle to your outfit. Or, mix it up with an oversized scarf for colorful look. You can add a beautiful belt.

Some“basics” to your wardrobe that you can add could be solid-colored sweater or jacket, a classic blouse, simple skirt that you can create multiple and different combinations with. A great place to shop are thrift stores. With these new additions you can match with the pieces you already have.

Colors and patterns can be match and mix. This increases your daily outfits. Don’t be afraid to mix the trend of a pattern paired with a solid. Try florals with stripes.

Have a clothes party. Invite friends over and ask them to bring used accesories, shoes, clothes, and accessories. Share your offerings. Make it a fun, get-together.

Search for business , casual or classic jackets that you can change out with different blouses and skirts or a pair of jeans. Rock a casual look, adding versatility and accesories to your present wardrobe.

The Sky’s the Limit

Rehabbing and renovating your wardrobe can be as creative as you desire and extensive as you want – let your DIY fashion imagination take over! Try out techniques such as painting, sewing, or tie-dye, and in case you mess it up, it’s OK: it’s all part of the experimenting process. If you have kids, let them play with some of their clothes and paint pens or other kid-safe fabric paints.

Find Joy in your Wardrobe Again

Feel good about giving your clothes new life and a new look! You’ll expand your wardrobe choices. You will save money and being a earth-friendly kind of person.

The manufacturing industry is tough on our environment. Companies are now showing creativity using throwaway items like water bottles into new clothes, bed sheets and handbags. But, until all technologies improve with sustainable and recycled materials, you can do your part by having fun using these techniques to bring new purpose to your wardrobe instead of buying new items.

Originally posted on

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.