Winter gets me going.
I don't really know what it is. The days are shorter, the mornings are wetter, SAD syndrome is ripe amongst the population; and yet, there's something about this time of year that makes me feel like anything can be achieved.
One of my favourite things about the season has to be the fashion.
And judging by the flurry of 'FALL HAUL' YouTube videos and 'chunky knit' hashtags invading our social, I dare say, we're all a little obsessed with dressing for the occasion.
However, the older I get, the more I repel to the idea of going purchase crazy for the sake of achieving that coveted autumn wardrobe. Instead, this year, I've decided to make do (almost entirely) with what I already have. And I came up with a few simple rules I thought you might find useful too.
How to Get Winter Ready on a Budget
Okay, so the idea here is to build yourself a decent capsule wardrobe that will get you through the next few months without having to spend a small fortune on restocking. Aside from the obvious benefit to your pocket, this approach can only help alleviate the damage Fast Fashion is having on the environment.
Cheap ways to be a decent human being? Sign me up!
Here are three simple steps to get you started.
Step 1: Build A Look Book:
Before you get started, jump on Pinterest and start getting some inspiration for what you want your style to be for the new season. I've built myself a board originally titled Autumn/Winter Capsule Wardrobe and over the last few weeks, I've been adding any outfit ideas that caught my eye.
There's a catch though.
Only pin outfits you can easily recreate with items you already have.
My rule was to have at least two of the pieces in the picture.
Otherwise, you'll end up with a bunch of unrealistic goals rather than anything useful.
You can find my Autumn/Winter Capsule Wardrobe board here!
Step 2: Take Stock and Review:
The second thing you have to do is work out exactly what you have to play with. I admit this is my least favourite part of the process as this takes a while, it can get messy and I'm hella lazy. To help me, I allocated just one evening to it, put some music on and made a good cup of tea. It wasn't so bad.
Take absolutely everything out of storage. If you're doing this at the start of the season, chances are you'll have summer clothes taking up most of your space. Take this time to put this away and give yourself more storage room.
If you're feeling brave, completely empty your draws and wardrobe to start afresh. Trust me, it will feel really good once you're done.
Step 3: Save or Discard:
Time to work out what should stay and what should go. Really look at what you have and decide if the items looking a little tired can be revived or they should exit your life.
Wash and donate anything you can salvage.
Sell whatever could make you a couple quid to invest back into your wardrobe.
Step 3: Keep Track:
Write yourself a list of all the items that will need replacing. Things like stretched out white t-shirts, bobbly turtle necks, button down shirts that have yellowed, etc.
Write yourself another list of dream items you'd like to include into your wardrobe. Most of mine came from my Pinterest board.
Again, be realistic. What do you actually need and will wear?
I have since turned my wish list into a shopping list online. This way, I have time to properly look around and compare, and won't feel tempted to impulse buy later.
Step 4: Repair:
Now, here's my favourite bit. Give the pieces you've kept the love they deserve. You'll be amazed at how much can be rescued by taking the time to polish, iron or repair old items.
We're not a generation of fixers. As a side effect of Fast Fashion, we've become accustomed to simply throwing away anything that has been damaged as, in many cases, it costs more money to mend than to replace. But that mentality needs to change and we must find ways to extend the lease of life of our favourite possessions.
Some methods I've used to bring my oldies back to life:
Rehydrate Old Leather:
I've managed to salvage a really old pair of Timberlands I've had for years by covering them in really waxy leather polish and replacing the laces. They've gone from a faded maroon to a really trendy tan that match perfectly with three of my coats and one of my bags. As an added bonus, they actually are totally hitting the biker boot trend.
Shave The Fluff:
Few things peeve me more than bobbly jumpers. And this happens even more often with good quality, natural materials like cashmere or wool.
A really easy solution?
Razor away all the extra fluff.
It's extremely satisfying and easy to do. Carefully shave your jumpers, cardigans and coats with a dry razor blade.
Change It Up:
Take another look at that old coat and see it from a different perspective. Can a chunky leather belt give it that designer feel? Can you jazz it up with new buttons?
I've revamped an old military coat with some beautiful new tortoise shell buttons and it's gone from looking drabby to looking fabby.
Dye Dye Dye!:
Faded jeans can get back to their old glory with the help of an inky bath.
Dylon do a great fabric dye in every possible colour and you can get it from Amazon for a fiver.
Basic but invaluable, a good steam or iron can turn any old wrinkled up mess into a reasonable outfit.
For dusty coats that have spent the summer in storage, spritz some water/vinegar mixture over it, dust off with a fabric brush and press under a towel (to avoid burning or shine).
Easy and cheap dry cleaning solution.
This are some of the solutions I have found useful. Since the summer, I've only made three purchases. All of the new jumpers. Because, well, jumpers are great.
I hope you find some of the above useful and you get behind this new inaction for change.