Olivia Marrins explores ways to utilise and adapt what’s already in your wardrobe.
Let's face it, who can't resist the arrival of the winter collections on the high street? Fresh wool coats and cosy jumpers is all anyone needs to entice them into buying a whole new wardrobe for the upcoming season.
As we enter not only a new season but a period of serious environmental issues, we need to stop categorising styles into specific months of the year and instead think of them as a suitable option year-round. Therefore, we should follow suit of the many people who “trans-seasonal” dress.
Trans-seasonal dressing is a lifestyle in which clothes are no longer seen as seasonal, but rather a collection of garments which can be layered up or down and fitting to each occasion or season. Moreover, revamping your wardrobe for winter can certainly be expensive, and not an expense that everyone wants to pay for. So next time Zara has a sale or a pair of shoes are half price, ask yourself; is there something in my wardrobe already suitable? Whether you’re a student trying to save money on fashion this winter or are just looking for some fresh ideas to upcycle old clothes, this essential guide to trans-seasonal dressing has got you covered.
It should come as no surprise that fashion has had a damaging impact on the environment for centuries, so much so that the fashion industry has become the second-largest polluter in the world. Over 20,000 litres of water are needed to produce just 1kg of cotton, deriving from a resource which is already in short supply. This evidential use of excess water should be enough for us all to trade fast-fashion for fair-trade fixtures, yet as toxic wastewater rises the demand for fast fashion continues. Whether it be patches and buttons or layering, there is always a way to revamp your wardrobe without the extra cost or waste this winter.
Layering is one of the easiest and quickest ways to overhaul your style and can be achieved with almost any piece of clothing. A common way of getting the wear out of any summer dress or jumpsuit is to layer with a long-sleeved top or turtleneck; whether it be any style of top, this is a simple but stylish fixture to have you wearing your favourite summer prints all winter long. Pair any vacation piece with a neutral-toned top for a more casual look or go dressy with a black turtleneck for an evening out (or, more fittingly, an evening in your kitchen).
A tasteful means of reutilising last year’s winter essentials is with embellishment. There are many methods to adopt, all of which are decorative yet functional. One of the best ways to redecorate your winter coat or jumper is with the addition of buttons: with endless colours and styles, they can be sewn into anything. By adding a suitable button to any garment, you can add texture and create a more vintage look to your outfit.
Never underestimate the power that a good accessory can have on a basic outfit. If you are looking to turn last year's everyday look into something more stylish, simply add a necklace or a pair of statement earrings from your jewellery box. Try a simple gold necklace against a warm tone this winter or trendy earrings with a turtleneck to transform your outfit from simple to stylish.
The trend of upcycling our clothes is not new; people have been finding all kinds of alternative and innovative ways to carry their summer wardrobe into the colder months. During the second world war, clothes rationing began, leading to the “make do and mend” initiative being introduced. The Ministry of Information published a pamphlet encouraging people to find different ways to extend the life of their clothes; this prevented not only the wasting of clothes and money but encouraged many more to value their belongings. From darning socks to stitching patches and washing delicates more carefully, the effort to take care of your belongings and reduce the cycle of buying new clothes engaged an economic and financial change in many people's lives. Not to be mistaken for a WW2-only trend, the use of trans-seasonal dressing and renewal should be continued now more than ever in this time of great uncertainty; both financially and economically.