The Three R's of Ecofashion

Reduce, reuse, and revamp


| January / February 2006


Make stylish friends
You already raid your best friend's closet on occasion, so why not make it official? Gather your dearest (or best-dressed) friends and host a clothes swap. Each person brings a few garments that never seem to make it out of the closet. Someone will be stoked to inherit your misfits, and you too might find that perfect match.

Stock up on basics, then thrift your heart away
Saggy-bottomed corduroys are great for a romp in the woods but not advisable for a job interview. For a more presentable but still thrifty ensemble, try spending the bigger bucks on your basics (like that versatile organic cotton blazer that looks and feels incredible and promises to last several lifetimes). Then sprinkle in some secondhand sass: a silk scarf here, a funky belt there. Balance is key.

Just go surfing
The Internet is a great place to score secondhand clothing. If you're feeling daring (and your workplace doesn't have a dress code), browse the cyber-racks at craigslist.org. At the very least, you'll get a kick out of what's for sale. Last time I checked, there was a 'barely worn' tiara and a pair of Harley-Davidson sandals.

Add one part sparkle and two parts whimsy
The trick here is to add whimsy to clothes that have lost their spark. Start collecting textile tidbits that catch your eye (ribbons from a recent birthday gift, fabric from a retired nightgown), and use them to cheer up your uninspired garments. Add buttons, create pockets, get downright unruly with neckline accents.

Ditch your Dryer and your Dry Cleaner
From chemicals used in dry cleaning to the energy required to do a hot laundry load, a garment can continue to do environmental harm throughout its lifetime. Avoid dry-clean-only garments and look for clothes that will take wellto the clothesline. Also, wash your clothes on cold. The hot water doesn't matter as much as you think.