Top apps, websites and groups to help you reduce waste and grab a bargain or freebie (UK) : PART 2: Fashion

 

Full wardrobe
Full wardrobe

Welcome to the second in a series of posts linking useful apps and websites to help you reduce waste and save money.  This post focusses on clothes and fashion.

According to WRAP campaign Love Your Clothes an estimated 3000,000 tonnes of clothes goes to landfill in the UK every year. There is no need for any textiles to end up in landfill in the UK – the Love Your Clothes campaign promotes a more circular economy and provides lots of useful tips on extending the life of your clothes to reduce the environmental impact of clothing.

Buying  (or selling) preowned:

New clothing is resource intensive so one of the first things you can do to reduce the impact of clothing is to buy preowned whenever possible, and if you no longer want a piece of clothing, to pass it on rather than throw it away.

My favourite way to buy is by browsing my local charity shops,  or the weekly Swap Rail at the Eco Chi stall on Chichester market (if you are local you can find this near Marks and Spencer on North Street).  Clothes Swaps are another good opportunity to give your wardrobe a bit of a makeover.  But if I am looking for a specific item, online is another good way as you can often set up alerts to be notified when specific products are listed or join brand specific selling groups on Facebook.  Online is also good if you don’t have time to get into town during opening hours.  This is just a selection of the huge online opportunities to buy/ sell/ giveaway or swap.

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Clothes Swap Party

Pre loved Fashion:

Ebay is perhaps the best known and the one I use most.   If you are after a particular brand or size it is easy to set up alerts as new items are listed to make sure you don’t miss out.   Good for selling too as you can reach a large market.  Many charity shops also sell through ebay so you can support your chosen charity at the same time – most offer free returns.

Re- fashion is a great new site for online charity shopping made easy with free returns in case your chosen item doesn’t fit.

Facebook marketplace can also be useful for finding great buys in your local area. Many areas also have local sell/swap groups so it’s worth searching for these groups near you.  There may be dedicated groups for school uniform or uniforms for groups such as guides and scouts.

As well as local groups I use a couple of zero waste related Facebook selling groups:

Journey to Zero Waste UK Sell/Swap/ Gift – for a whole range of items but often includes clothing while Zero Waste Fashion Swap/Sell/Buy is dedicated to clothing and fashion.

Depop  and Vinted  are both sites to browse for your style – although I haven’t used these yet personally.

Free stuff:

Freecycle and Freegle are both, as the names suggest, for free stuff .   You are more likely to find people offering a whole bag of clothes after a clearout here rather than individual items.  You can also share wanted posts asking if anyone  has what you need.

Many areas also have Facebook groups dedicated to free items.

Repair or Upcycle your clothes:

Repairing or upcycling your existing clothes and fabrics is another great way to reduce textile waste.  Love Your Clothes is a really useful resource for this – with a dedicated page for care and repair.

And back to Facebook, the Eco-Friendly Sewing UK  is helpful and friendly.

Look out for sewing  and repair meet ups in your area too.    I’ve taken a few small sewing jobs to my local repair cafe.  You can find our more about the Repair Cafe Network via this link but do note that not all local repair cafes are featured there so do search online to find your local one.  My local one is the Chichester Repair Cafe

As ever, this is just a selection of the many resources available to reducing waste when it comes to clothing and fashion.  I would love to know about your favourites – please do let me know in a comment below.

Happy Blogiversary to me!

WordPress tells me it is my 8th anniversary of blogging today so please help me celebrate by sharing and  signing up to follow this page or my linked Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.

I’m sharing this post as part of the Going Green Linky

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Wardrobe Revamp – Preloved Style

Since I wrote about not needing any more clothes No new clothes – learning to love the clothes I have and realising I actually don’t need more., and successfully extended my challenge to not acquire any new or new to me clothing from an initial 4 month period to 10 months, I have really fallen off the wagon when it come to clothes shopping.  Over the last 6 weeks I have acquired, I think, 3 new dresses, 3 new tops, a scarf and a necklace .

But do you know, I don’t feel guilty about it at all – all my recent acquisitions have been pre-owned and purchased in aid of charity, at a friend’s fantastic clothes swap party and the local Oxfam Shop.    These are great ways of having a bit of a wardrobe makeover without breaking the bank, and in a more sustainable way than buying cheap new fast fashion. And this is pretty much all I have bought over the past year.

Buying pre-loved is an easy way to be part of a circular economy, prolonging the life of items and preventing (or at the very least delaying) them ending up in landfill.  My new clothes were all acquired without a need for more resources going into clothes production, and in turn many of the items I no longer wanted were passed on to new owners.

Swishing Party (Clothes Swap)

This has to be my favourite way of looking for some new clothes. Even though I didn’t end up with quite what I wanted this time, it was a great social event.

A friend kindly opened her house to host a swishing party which was really well attended.  I had a bit of a wardrobe rummage and managed to come up with 2 coats, 2 skirts, 4 pairs of trousers, 1 pair of shorts, 1 cardigan, 1 blouse, 2 hats, 2 necklaces, 2 belts and 1 handbag to take along.  Wow, that’s 18 things I had in my wardrobe that I didn’t need or want!  And that’s not counting the ones I couldn’t quite decide about, some of which went later.  I hoped to come home with a dress, ideally a shirt dress.

Clothes swap parties work in a number of ways but for this one, there was a £5 entry fee with clothes sold at a flat rate of 50p per item.  I also took along a bottle of Cava for the raffle and some Prosecco for the evening.  All proceeds were donated to the Red Cross.

As you can see from the poorly focussed pictures above (and I was only on my first glass of prosecco at that point), everyone had managed to turn out a lot of things from their wardrobes, so there was plenty of rummaging to be done, with clothes and bags spread across several rooms in the house and bedrooms serving as shared changing rooms.  Some people knew each other, others didn’t, but trying on clothes together is a great way of breaking down any barriers and we were soon trying things and passing them around between us to see who they suited and fitted best.  A few glasses of Prosecco probably helped!  At the first round of trying things on I decided on a T shirt and was persuaded about a pair of jeans.  Remembering I’d been wishing I had a larger scarf to cover up with when I had caught the sun a week earlier I managed to find one of those too. Sadly, although there were lots of dresses, I didn’t find quite the one for me.

After much rummaging, chatting, drinking and trying on a few more things we congregated for the raffle – there were so many prizes this went on for a while and I eventually won a cute little manicure set.

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At this point in the evening the clothes rails were still bulging so, as some people were starting to leave, I suggested a second round of rummaging.  This turned up a couple of blouses, a T shirt and a necklace to add to my earlier buys.

A couple of the items did end up going straight off to the charity shop when I tried them on at home, where I am sure they got more for them than the £1 I had paid, along with a few extra items I cleared out subsequently.  In total I had spent £8 (excluding the raffle and wine) on a whole load of new things to refresh my wardrobe. And I did achieve my goal of coming home with fewer things than I had donated!

At the end of the evening I helped with the clear up and took a bag of items to the nearly new  shop in town where they earnt some additional money for the Red Cross Charity – the event raised around £350.  I would guess about 10 bin bags full of good quality leftover clothings  were also donated to a variety of charity shops around town from where they hopefully found a good new home as well as raising additional funds.

 

Dresses

Still on the hunt for a dress I popped into my local Oxfam shop and over a few weeks managed to pick up not one, but 3 lovely dresses. My wardrobe has definitely become more dress orientated over the past few years , primarily pre-loved.

The first is a Per Una dress from Marks and Spencer which cost me £6.99.  This is perfect for the office, and happens, by chance, to match perfectly the grey and green necklace I had picked up at the swishing party.

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Per Una Dress for work

My next purchase was a bit of an impulse buy , which I am trying to avoid. We were off out for a walk on my birthday and I spotted a lovely green cardigan in the shop window.  As I was still thinking about it when we walked back I popped in to have a look but sadly it had gone already.  As it was my birthday I had a bit of a rummage through the rails anyway and came up with this casual cotton dress from  Mistral which will be perfect for holidays.  I think this one was £7.99.

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Holiday Dress

I then received an invitation to a family wedding.  I wasn’t going to buy something new but having tried on a few things from my wardrobe,  nothing felt quite right, and I noticed I had put on a little weight round the thighs since a cycling injury last year  which had forced a hopefully temporary reduction in exercise. In a spare 10 mins on the way to pick son up from his town centre school I nipped into Oxfam again and found this lovely Phase Eight dress which is perfect for the occasion and also fits perfectly.  It even goes well with a grey cardigan I have already.  A top quality dress for £12.99.

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Phase Eight Dress for a family wedding

 

I admit to buying another unsuitable dress along the way from a local Facebook group for £4 which I donated to Oxfam along with a couple of old dresses replaced by my new items. and a gorgeous dress from Cancer Research UK’s ebay shop which didn’t fit so is on its way back to find a more suitable new home. You can also buy online from Oxfam

Together all these new items,  including the clothes swap and the items I donated straight on again, set me back less than £40. This is all I have spent on clothes since last July.

And the quest for a shirt dress?  Well I’m about to try dyeing one I have already to give it a new lease of life. Will see how that goes.

What is your favourite way of buying new clothes?

 

 

 

Reducing my waste a little at a time – the temptation of clothes shopping.

Back in early September I decided I was not going to buy any clothes, either new or secondhand, until at least Christmas.  This is in a bid to reduce waste, and declutter my life a little.  So far so good.  If you just stay away from the shops (including the online ones) it’s easy.  I even managed to go into our local Oxfam with donations several times without my usual trick of looking at the stock and coming out with something else while I was there.

The test came on Tuesday when I when my aunt kindly drove me to a job interview which happened to be near a big shopping centre, to combine the car journey with her shopping trip.  I was determined not to buy anything but couldn’t really avoid having a look around the shop while she was in the changing room.

As it turned out I needn’t have worried.   A couple of items immediately grabbed my attention, that were apparently new styles for Next’s autumn/winter collection.  I have seen them both somewhere before – already in my wardrobe.  The navy wide legged trousers look really like a pair I have been wearing to work for around the last 5 years which started out as a charity shop buy which I customised with buttons from a local vintage clothing shop.  And the patterned velour leggings – so similar to some skinny patterned cords I got secondhand on ebay 2 years ago.  So it turns out I don’t need anything new after all.  Ahead of the trend from the charity shop.  Who knew?   Apart from my shoddy photos ( and the crumpled trousers I just got out the wardrobe)  you have to admit they are quite similar?

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This gave me so much confidence to carry on, and that getting to Christmas really won’t be that hard. Will see how long I can manage after that 🙂