Last week was Restaurant Week, which means – among other things – that I am essentially broke. And isn’t it always when there’s no way you can validate any kind of shopping that you feel your wardrobe needs a facelift the most?
So, what do you do when everything in your closet bores you, but you don’t have the cash to buy anything new? You just need to find new ways to look at what you’ve got.
The first thing I do is my laundry. I am guilty of waiting a long time to do my wash: When I lived in Elmira Jeffries my sophomore year, I used to have to wait for my guy friends to take me to what we affectionately referred to as “the Death-mat.” Indeed, that was no place for a young lady – and those boys could go forever without doing laundry.
The point is, sometimes the most perfect pieces are just waiting to be thrown in the washer or taken to the dry cleaner. If you have the luxury of a washer and dryer at your disposal, do your laundry. It’s always better to play the game with a full hand.
Obviously, you will want to look for new ways to pair pieces you have grown accustomed to wearing in certain ways, but that can be hard. If you put your summer clothes in boxes under your bed, pull them out and see if a sundress or tank top can’t be “winter-fied” with a sweater, scarf and boots. Even some shorts and skirts can work in winter with warm tights. If you live close to home, explore those trunks in the basement that are full of clothes that still fit but went out of style sometime in high school. What’s old can be new again. (Jesus may have said that first, but it works here too.)
If you have pieces that are definitely out of commission and just taking up space in your drawers, they may warrant a complete redesign. Even if you can’t sew, you can use scissors to create new looks. My feeling is that if something really is beat, you may as well try to do something new with it. If you fail, it doesn’t really matter because it was just deadweight in your wardrobe anyway. I’ve ruined a bunch of clothes this way, but I’ve also created some fabulous organic looks. And if I can do that, anyone can, because I am one of the least creative people out there.
Hang in there and work what you have while you wait out that next paycheck. I’ll be doing the same.
Mary C. Schell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.