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How to reuse, recycle or repurpose old clothes

We all have items we no longer wear. Maybe they no longer fit, no longer suit your lifestyle or no longer make you feel good. But what is the best, planet-conscious way to pass on unwanted clothes for men or women? There are many options out there, so here is our guide to repurposing your wardrobe items.

Waste-free decluttering

You want to look forward to getting dressed every day, but how can you detox your wardrobe without creating waste?

To feel good all the way through the decluttering process, repurposing your old clothes is a must. Passing on pre-loved items benefits you, the new owner of the item and the planet. If you are looking to dress more consciously by owning fewer, better quality items, you need to bring this conscious mindset to the whole process.

Recycle and feel good

Everybody knows you can take old clothes to charity shops. This is a staple of any wardrobe edit, and helping a good cause also brings the feel-good factor. Some charity shops are more fashion-focused than others, so do your research before bagging up your hand-me-downs. If you’re stuck for time, many supermarkets take clothes for charity. Many high street shops also accept preloved items such as TK Maxx for labels and chains like Monsoon will offer you a discount on your next purchase with every old item returned.

Another idea is hosting a clothes-swapping party. Invite all your friends around, each with their best pre-loved clothes and swap, sell or gift your items with each other. Not just a good excuse for a get-together, you are recycling and potentially finding new gems for yourself too.

How to re-sell valuable pre-loved clothes

Sometimes we have more valuable items we find hard to part from. The second hand retail market is skyrocketing at the moment. But what is the best way to navigate it?

Firstly, sort your clothes into what is likely to be rebought. Every item needs to be in excellent condition, so check for marks, holes, bobbling and stains. Check the zips and hems are intact, and if you think you would be a happy customer with it, it’s time to find a reseller.

Dressing agencies resell pre-loved designer clothes and often have their own niche. Bigger towns and cities tend to have several. Check your local area for dressing agencies or fashion resellers near you and ask them for their acceptance criteria. Some may only be looking for particular brands or items – designer handbags are often in high demand – but others may be open to a wider range of labels and styles. Selling something in-season is always easier, so don’t be disappointed if nobody seems to be taking strappy dresses in winter, just keep it until spring.

Recently there has also been a huge increase in online dressing agencies, such as Vestiaire Collective and HEWI for high-end and RELLIK or Sign of the Times for vintage. These can be an efficient way to make a bit of pocket money from valuable items, while keeping the planet in mind without leaving your house. For high street brands, apps such as Depop and Vinted allow you to create your own ‘shop’ online and take payment through Paypal.

What about repurposing men’s clothes?

Reselling or handing-down unwanted clothes isn’t just for women. Men often want a wardrobe update but don’t know where to start, and so this advice applies to everyone. Another option would be to ask a professional stylist for advice – in our experience they may have more impact than a well-intentioned wife or partner!

There has never been a better time to repurpose clothes you no longer wear. As the world continues to think more consciously about recycling, apps, websites and boutiques are popping up all the time to help you feel satisfied that you are doing the right thing with your pre-loved clothes and accessories. For personalised advice, get in touch, and I will do my best to help your wardrobe make you feel good every day.

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