As much as I don’t believe in blindly following trends, I do like keeping up with them, and when one genuinely appeals to me, I like incorporating it into my personal style. Unfortunately, my recent efforts to shop more sustainably makes finding trendy pieces a lot more difficult. The whole point of sustainable clothing brands is that you don’t have to throw your clothes away every season to make way for the next trend. As a result, they tend to create more timeless, classic pieces, that transcend trends, and will always be in style.
So what’s a girl to do? Make her own trend pieces.
That’s exactly what I did with this outfit. Every item – with the exception of accessories – is something that I already had in my wardrobe, and DIYed into the item I wanted. This has a four-fold purpose:
- Instead of getting rid of items you don’t want – thus creating waste – you’re making them into something you love.
- You’re saving money by not buying something new.
- You’re not supporting an industry of waste and unethical business practices.
- A lot of shops throw every single trend of the moment into a melting pot, and combine them into one item. While it looks great to wear a gingham shirt with giant ruffles, bell sleeves, and embroidered patches now, people are going to think you look ridiculous in two year’s time when minimalism comes back into fashion. By creating your own (simpler) trend pieces, you can stick to one trend at a time, thereby extending the shelf-life of the item past when the trend goes out of fashion.
- Bonus: you get to follow your favourite trends and still not look exactly like everyone else.
My top used to be one of those ridiculous tops that looks like a maxi dress but has slits up to your waist. It was an impulse buy that I grabbed on the way to checkout, thinking it was a maxi dress. Only when I tried it on at home, my legs felt awfully breezy… Instead of throwing out an item that I considered completely unwearable, I turned it into a top that I love.
I fell head over heels in love with step-hem jeans, but couldn’t find any in the shops around me. But I also had a pair of skinny jeans that were way too long for me. So I took a pair of scissors, and hacked at those until I had the denims of my dreams.
Another trend I’ve been loving is all the masculine-style loafers that have been surfacing. But I could pretty much only afford Zara’s in my dreams. So when I noticed that the over-the-knee boots I didn’t want anymore were essentially just loafers with stretchy fabric attached to make the leg part, I chopped off the excess fabric and was left with some amazing shoes.
These three DIYs combined can’t have taken me more than three hours. It really doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking to create trend pieces from what you’ve already got. My jeans and shoes required zero sewing, and my shirt just needed to be hemmed in a straight line. If you’re REALLY useless at sewing, there are even ways around that, like hem tape and glue. You just add the adhesive, fold the fabric up in a straight line, and you’ve got a hem!
My advice would be to sort through your closet (let me know if you want a post on that!) and find all the pieces you don’t love anymore. Then, head to Pinterest, Instagram, or wherever you get your style inspo. See what you can create with a few simple alterations to your existing clothes. You might be surprised what you find. Love the jeans covered in patches look? Go to a fabric shop, spend R20 on iron-on transfers, and transform your tired boyfriend jeans into one of this season’s biggest trends. Refuse to spend R1000 on a distressed denim jacket (same)? Dig out that immaculate one from grade 7 and go ham with a cheese grater and a razor blade. With a little creativity, you’ll be the best-dressed kid on the block, and have spent hardly a dime.