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Making the Swap:

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

3 alternatives to buying new without sacrificing style

As the seasons change, we see a new wave of style trends emerge. Promotions like “Top 10 must-haves you need for your fall wardrobe” and “5 sweater trends to hop on right now” flood our social media feeds and make one message clear: if you want to stay on trend, you need to buy these new styles now.

Evidently, in addition to the environmental and ethical consequences of fast fashion, the industry has accelerated the trend cycle and diminished the quality of clothing produced. The result? Those cute $15 SHEIN sweaters you bought yesterday may last fewer than three wears.

But what if I told you there were three easy alternatives to constantly buying new? These alternatives are not only better for the planet but also for your wallet.

Shop Your Closet

Imagine this. You’re getting ready in the morning when it comes time to make a decision: what do you wear? As you eye the options in front of you, you gloss over that same black top that’s been on repeat for the last week and the pants that just seem so plain now…you wonder, how can I have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear?

Luckily, you’re not alone in this frustration; part of the reason we’re constantly clicking “add to cart” lies in our boredom of our current clothing options.

However, next time you’re thinking of going through with a fast fashion purchase, consider “shopping” your closet. Rather than creating outfits solely based on those constant staples, try digging into the back of those dressers and corner hangars of your clothing rack. You may find some old pieces that you can restyle or even forgotten pieces.

If you’re in need of some extra clothing inspiration, browse through thousands of outfit inspo boards on Pinterest and/or watch a “10 ways to style __ clothing” video on Youtube or Tiktok.

Host or Attend a Clothing Swap

Have a load of clothing you’re looking to donate? Before running to your nearest Goodwill, consider attending a clothing swap! This way, you can ensure your clothes find a new home, meet new people and explore new styles– and all for free!

If you’re in the Atlanta area, a popular clothing swap occurs monthly and additional details can be found here.

Additionally, if you’re a college student and don’t have easy access to a citywide clothing swap, consider organizing one on campus! It can start as small as exchanging among your friends to expanding in partnership with your residence halls and additional clubs on campus.

Upcycle Your Clothing

Last but definitely not least, try your hand at upcycling your clothing! Browse the designsbygracez gallery for inspiration or start with a smaller tweak (like changing the hem of your old jeans). Some of my favorite beginner sewing and thrift flip inspirations include Coolirpa, Jess Dang, BlueprintDIY.

Fun fact: upcycling is how I first learned how to sew and thus build designsbygracez.

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