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How To Ethically Refresh Your Wardrobe When Your Style Gets Stale

How To Ethically Refresh Your Wardrobe When Your Style Gets Stale

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What To Do When Your Style Changes

Wouldn’t it be amazing if our wardrobes stayed perfectly tailored to our lives forever?

In reality, our styles evolve along with our experiences. We cycle through different phases, and our clothes need to adapt accordingly.

Are you currently experiencing a major life change or simply feeling like your wardrobe doesn’t reflect your personal style anymore?

This post will guide you through navigating an identity shift (fashionably and sustainably!) on a budget.

Here’s what you need to know to revamp your wardrobe while staying kind to your wallet and the planet.

When Your Style Changes

When your style changes, it can be tempting to get rid of everything in favor of wearing a new identity. Before making big decisions, try a closet audit! You might find hidden gems or items that can be upcycled to match your changing style.

To prevent potential regrets, take a look at these items you might want to hold onto:

  • Classic pieces. This could be solid colored tops, well-fitting jeans, tailer pieces.
  • Sentimental items. Remember that dress you saved up your entire first paycheck for? Items like that are irreplaceable and worth hanging on to. If it meant something important to you at one point, it will probably mean something to you in the future.
  • Garments in good condition. A piece might be in really great shape and have potential to be styled to fit your new wardrobe, or consider upcycling it with some RIT Dye or simple sewing skills to give it a new life.

After giving everything a careful evaluation, it’s ok to get rid of items in your closet that are no longer serving you.

Organize a clothing swap with friends or donate your items to charities that accept a wide variety of styles and sizes. You can also try selling higher-end pieces online or through consignment shops. Even some clothing recycling programs accept gently-used garments you don’t want anymore!

When Your Size Changes

More often than not, you’re going to go through periods of life where your size changes—sometimes drastically—and you’ll be very frustrated when you look at the clothes from your old life.

When this happens, your instinct might be to donate everything that no longer serves you but I would recommend taking a look at what can be saved, put-aside, or totally discarded:

  • Save items that can be resized. It’s important to try to hold on to as much as you can to save yourself from the hassle of starting your closet over. Inspect the items in your closet and see if items have a seam that can be let out (or easily made smaller!), or could possibly be made to fit better by cutting them off. (ie: a dress too tight in the hips can be snipped into a blouse!)
  • Keep items with elastic. Stretchy items are great for style transitions! If you don’t have already have a stock pile of them in your wardrobe, now would be the time to thrift some to have on hand in case you ever need them.
  • Hold on to sentimental pieces. Contrary to popular advice, I think it’s a good idea to hold on to a few sentimental pieces. But instead of taking up closet space, store them somewhere special, like a keepsake box. Detachment from the expectation of wearing them again is key. Think of them as memories you can look back on, not aspirational items you’ll wear again someday.

This life transition might stir up emotions, but it’s also an exciting opportunity to rediscover yourself! It’s a chance to let go of pieces you never got around to wearing, or to finally part ways with worn-out items that you didn’t have the heart to get rid of sooner.

When Your Size & Style Change At The Same Time

When your size and style change at the same time, it will require a more comprehensive wardrobe overhaul. Here’s how to navigate it sustainably!

Following the above advice, look out for pieces that have styling potential to accommodate your new look. This might be pieces you can belt, tuck, pin, or adjust without any sewing skills.

Then, look through your closet for items that should be altered through more permanent modifications like resizing a whole garment or DIYing some flair or adding distressing.

If you don’t have these skills to pull these off, get in touch with an expert or a good friend to help made these changes!

Final Thoughts on How To Refresh Your Wardrobe Sustainably 

Once you’ve exhausted going through your closet, keep things sustainable and budget friendly by adding back pieces from thrift stores, consignment shops, online resale marketplaces (I love ThredUp and Poshmark!) , or hosting a clothing swap in your community.

If a big event is coming up, you could try renting unique pieces for special occasions instead of buying new. Or borrow something from a friend!


I’d love to hear what you learned from this post and if you have anything else to add to it. Be sure to share it with a friend and Pin it to reference later!



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