With the change of season, when we are all revisiting our Summer wardrobes, it can be disheartening if our favourite pieces are a bit outdated, or aren’t sitting the way they once did.

We might find that we now prefer clothes with a longer hemline, a higher neckline, or that we feel more comfortable with clothes a bit looser around the waist, or that cover our arms.

Instead of going out and buying a whole new wardrobe, there are some easy hacks we can use that will help us get the most out of the clothes we already own. This is the best route for our pockets and also for the planet – the most sustainable clothes are the ones we already own. Keeping our clothes in use for longer can really make an impact in terms of the environment – if we extend the lifespan of a piece of clothing by just 9 months, we can reduce its carbon, water and waste footprints by up to 10%!

Top Tips

  • Shop your own wardrobe! We all have a huge amount of clothes in our wardrobes that we aren’t wearing, we might have even forgotten about them. An evening spent trying things on and styling things in new ways can be very fruitful.
  • Shirts or blouses are great for covering up your arms. They can be worn open and loose, or open but tied at the bottom if you want a bit of shape. Shirts or blouses worn with a belt can also be a very comfortable option, accentuating your waistline.
  • Sometimes jackets or blazers can be a bit tight if our body shape has changed, but they will still work well if they are worn open – again this will help cover a figure hugging outfit, but still give you a nice shape. The same goes for shirt or cardigans, by putting a shirt or vest top underneath you can comfortably wear them open.
  • Scarves, shawls and boleros or shrugs can be a great accessory to wear with dresses, they can add a pop of colour and also help us feel more comfortable.


When you shop your own wardrobe, you might also find that there are pieces that would still work with some basic alterations, for example a bit more length, a higher neckline, a bit of looseness around the waist, or the addition of a sleeve. Depending on your sewing skills, there are lots of alterations you can do yourself, and there’s even some very basic ones that you can do with just a needle and thread, that will help you transition from season to season and trend to trend. We are running a two basic alterations workshop in the Rediscovery Centre in September that covers many of these techniques  – you can book your spot on our Eventbrite: General AlterationsTrousers + Jeans Alterations

Alteration examples

  • Adding a lace trim to a neckline
  • Slitting a top at the side seams to make it a bit looser around the waist.
  • Adding poppers in between buttons if the opening is gaping
  • Turning a scarf into a bolero
  • Adding a frill or a lace trim to the bottom of a skirt to give more length.
  • Taking in or out a waistband
  • Adding a flutter sleeve
  • Turning a dress into a skirt

There are so many great tutorials online these days, and I would definitely encourage everyone to take on these projects themselves – there are so many benefits to improving your sewing skills, but if you do feel it is beyond your skill set, there is a whole network of local alteration businesses around the country.

People can sometimes be put off by the cost of alterations, but we really do need to start taking into account the cost to the environment when we are making these decisions, and in terms of the environment, it is always the best option to keep things in circulation for as long as possible.

Another benefit of going through your wardrobe in this way is that you can identify what you actually need when you do go shopping, and it’s often the case that even 1 or 2 new pieces can bring a whole new lease of life to your wardrobe.

It’s also a good idea, if you are going shopping, to consider having a look in the charity shops – people donate lots of good quality clothes to charity and sometimes things that haven’t even been worn. Because of the fast moving microseasons that typify Fast Fashion, you might find that the current trends on the high street don’t actually work for you, that’s one of the reasons I love charity shopping, as it’s not bound by highstreet trends. And obviously the price point is very attractive, you can get great bargains, and you are also supporting a good cause.

Bringing the mindset that things can work with a little bit of adjustment or alteration when you are shopping in charity shops opens up a world of opportunities.

If you take anything from this blog, I hope to at least encourage you to rediscover what is in your wardrobe, and the opportunities that those clothes can hold.

Arran Murphy, Programme Manager, Rediscover Fashion