Doing It Yourself can bring novelty, fun to outdated wardrobe pieces


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]— Addison Butler
During a routine spring-cleaning last year, I was sorting through my less-worn clothes and deliberating which garments would be safe and which would be sentenced to live in exile for eternity. A dingy brown windbreaker was on the chopping block, and seconds before I tossed it into the trash pile, I was struck with a rather genius idea. I didn’t know how, but I could salvage this jacket and make it wearable again. It was then and there that I pulled the collar off and made preparations to go all Jackson Pollock-y on it with assorted acrylic paints, which in turn ignited an impassioned revolution for all the outmoded clothes in my closet.
The jacket was the first instance of successful “DIYing” — or “Doing It Yourself” — that I experienced in young adulthood. I wore the original windbreaker (a hand-me-down from my father in the ‘90s) all throughout high school, but as my fashion sense progressed I found myself increasingly disappointed in its shapelessness and droopy, outdated style.
Sesame Street had been urging me to “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” for as long as I could remember. By splattering paint onto a dingy brown windbreaker whose collar had recently been torn off, I eliminated textile waste, saved loads of money on a new jacket and, most importantly, supplied myself with what would become one of the coolest, most treasured pieces in my wardrobe.
At this point I think it is safe to say that at least 40 percent of my closet has been splattered with paint, cut to odd lengths or dyed to a marble-like pattern. Having the unique quality of living two (sometimes three) lives, my retired garments constantly undergo wild transformations as they morph from boring old clothes to exciting, hand-made delights. Thanks to my borderline religious need to participate in DIY, an entirely new closet is at my disposal whenever I grow bored of what I have hanging in there — and for pretty cheap, too.
In recent months, pants have usually been the first to go. To date, I’ve drastically altered no fewer than five pairs of pants into magnificent, expressive and truly individual trousers merely because the passive colors (usually gray or brown) didn’t pop or add a stimulating texture to my outfits. These are perfectly good pants, too, purchased from retailers like J. Crew and Banana Republic — not the types of clothes others feel very comfortable destroying to frivolously repurpose.
Maybe this is my diluted conscience talking, but I don’t feel like these modifications are wasteful. Quite the opposite, actually, as the act of repurposing breathes new life into old clothes that would just as easily have been thrown away or — at best — donated to a local thrift store.
If you ever find yourself frustrated with your closet, just pull out those plain, basic pieces that you hardly wear anyway and get creative. You will be surprised by how easy (and fun) it can be to make new from old.
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