mannequin on red background with clothing strewn around

Just like Halloween and high school proms, we want to bring another American tradition to the UK, one that involves shopping, clothing and charity.

The 25th of August is National Secondhand Wardrobe Day. On this day, people are encouraged to go through their wardrobes and donate any clothes they haven’t worn for a year or more to clothes banks and charities. What’s more, if they want new clothes they’re encouraged to shop at second hand and charity stores instead.

An estimated 350,000 tonnes of used clothing from the UK goes to landfill every year, so reusing, repairing and reinventing old clothes is a great way to not only save money, but save clothing from landfill too.

The reuse and mend trend has been gaining popularity over the last few years, the recession creating a need for money saving ideas, spawning programmes such as Kirstie Allsop’s Kirstie’s Home Made Home and even celebrities such as Lily Cooper (nee Allen) getting involved with her shop ‘Lucy in Disguise.’

Charity Shop Shopping- Getting The Right Look

Some people may fear how they look in vintage items or are unsure how to make vintage items look contemporary. Here are some tips:

  • If you can, try pieces on before you buy and be creative, how would it look with some minor amends.
  • Choose items carefully.
  • Mix and match items- wear vintage and contemporary clothing to create your look.
  • Don’t be afraid to customise items.
  • Be fearless!

Shopping at second hand shops is a great way to save money, but remember these key things:

  • Whilst it saves money, it only does so if you’re replacing high street shopping with charity shopping.
  • Do you actually need the item you’re buying?
  • Charity shop shopping takes commitment; you may have to go in a few times before you find something.
  • Vintage clothes shops are more expensive than charity shops. Whilst bargains can be found, it usually takes a keen eye.

Breathe Life Into Old Clothing

Fashions change every season but there are a couple of things you can do to breathe life into old clothing to keep them for longer and save some money too.

Washing/maintenance– clothes can sometimes look old before their time depending on how they’re cared for. Whilst we’re often encouraged to wash at 40 degrees, washing at 30 improves the lifespan of clothing and saves energy too.

Make do and mend– we all know this one, repair clothing instead of throwing it out. If you’re interested in learning how to make do and mend but don’t have the sewing skills needed, these classes could help.

Customise– team old clothing with new accessories to create a new look. Don’t be afraid to get creative- adding things like ribbons, diamantés and different textiles to reflect the latest fashions.

Shorten– if you’ve ever been a bridesmaid you know that it’s difficult to know what do to with the dress once the wedding’s finished. If you have a full length dress, why not shorten it for a different look? Alternatively remove or add sleeves as you see fit

Hire– Instead of spending money on outfits for weddings or events, why not hire them? Chic by Choice and Girl Meets Dress lets you to hire designer dresses for events, whilst Moss Hire provides designer suits for men to hire.

Do you have any tops on how to customise/make clothing last longer? Let us know below!