10 ways to create a sustainable and affordable wardrobe

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Updated June 2023

Keeping up with different styles and seasons can be costly, and this bad news for your bank balance and the planet. Here are 10 ways to create an affordable and sustainable wardrobe…

1. Mix and match

When you’re shopping, try to pick items that can be mixed and matched. For instance, if you have three skirts and three tops that all go nicely together, you can mix and match to make 9 outfits! Think about what will compliment each other, or pick new items that could team up with other clothing pieces that you already own. It’ll save you money and wardrobe space!


2. Buy second hand

Have a good search on selling websites, such as eBay, along with social media pages and in charity shops before you buy new. Shopping second hand will make your money go further – you’ll be able to buy quality pieces for bargain prices and give clothes a second-lease of life, reducing what goes to landfill. I LOVE a preloved clothing bargain – why not take part in Oxfam’s second-hand September campaign and see what treasures you can find?


3. Invest in denim

Some items never go out of fashion and seem to last a lifetime! Denim is generally very ‘mummy-proof’ and will wash and wear for years! Plus, it goes with pretty much everything and can be dressed up or down. Some great jeans for the colder months, a denim jacket to pop over dresses and a nice pair of jean shorts for the summer are items that are well worth the investment.


4. Sometimes dearer is better

As much as I love a bargain, super cheap clothes that won’t last five minutes can often cost you more in the long run as you’ll replenish your wardrobe more frequently, and they’re absolutely no good for a sustainable wardrobe. Whilst these clothes can be fine for growing children who will need new clothes regularly, for an adult it may be worth spending a little more to make sure that your clothes last for years to come.


5. Get a fabric shaver

You can’t beat a cosy winter jumper or a knitted scarf, but nothing’s worse than your favourite knitwear getting bobbly and scruffy! One of the best things I’ve ever invested in is a fabric shaver – or ‘debobbler’ as I call it! It doesn’t take long, it’s super addictive (you’ll end up doing your whole wardrobe! 😂) and it makes everything look brand new again. This is great news for your wallet and the planet! You can find a debobbler for around a tenner on Amazon!


6. Shop for timeless classics

Following every fashion fad is expensive and can be wasteful too. Mix on-trend purchases with timeless classics, and think ahead when you make a new purchase. Some items seem to stand the test of time and can be worn year after year, so make sure your wardrobe has a good balance, to reduce waste and save money.


7. Avoid impulse shopping

It’s easy to get caught up in a fun afternoon of shopping, or get so excited about a sale or a bargain, that we buy things we don’t really love or need. I think the best test is not to buy something on the spot; if you’re still thinking about it in a week’s time then you probably will value that item, but if it completely slips your mind then it was wise to walk away.


8. Look for ethical brands

As we become more mindful about looking after our planet, many manufacturers and retailers are making positive changes to ensure a more eco-friendly and sustainable shopping experience. Some companies are much better at this than others, so it’s important to support those making these positive steps – currently the world of retail creates a huge amount of waste and pollution.


9. Less is more

I don’t have a huge wardrobe and it isn’t full to the brim either. Instead of buying in big quantities, I buy bits as and when I actually need them or purchase things that I fall in love with and will keep for a long time. It’s better to have a few bits that you love rather than lots of clothes you’ll never wear; mix and match cleverly, and go for quality over quantity, to avoid needing a huge amount of clothing.


10. Donate and recycle

If you fall out of love with something, fancy a change or have clothes that no longer fit, make sure you sell them on or donate them to charity. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, and everything sold on avoids landfill a little longer. If your clothes are too tatty to be passed on, recycle them so that the material can be repurposed.

H&M are running a brilliant scheme to help the planet and your bank balance! Recycle your old clothes to get a £5 voucher. Simply take a bag of unwanted clothes or home textiles to your nearest H&M store to receive the voucher.

The donated clothes can be any brand and in any condition – you just need to fill a standard-sized carrier bag with your unwanted items and bring it with you when you next go clothes shopping. In exchange you’ll get a £5 off £25 voucher to spend in store or online.

This scheme is a great idea if you have items that are not in good enough condition to sell on or donate to charity. But, whatever the condition of your donation, your clothes will be in good hands. All clothes collected by H&M are either reused, reworn or recycled with 0% going to landfill.

REWEAR: Clothing that can be worn again is marketed worldwide as second-hand goods.

RE-USE: Clothing that is no longer wearable is converted into new products, such as remake collections or cleaning cloths.

RECYCLE: Clothing that can’t be reused is recycled into textile fibres and used to make new materials and products such as insulation for cars.


Looking to update your wardrobe without spending a fortune? Check out everything5pounds.com – clothes and shoes from your favourite brands sold at bargain basement prices!

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