fashion

Eight wardrobe hacks to save cash and revive your staples.

War on Waste - ABC
Thanks to our brand partner, War on Waste - ABC

Have you ever bought a piece of clothing you’ve simply never worn? Go on, be honest.

Maybe it was that t-shirt you bought on your lunch break – without trying – that turned out to be a smidge too tight across the chest but couldn’t be returned because it was on sale.

Or what about that dress you grabbed in a rush for a party? You know, the one you ended up wearing your jeans to.

Or perhaps it was that aspirational pastel top you picked up, kidding yourself you were going to branch out from your daily uniform of black turtlenecks.

Yep, any day now. Image: Supplied.

Most of us are guilty of falling into the fast fashion trap at one time or another.

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Nowadays brands pump out the latest styles for a fraction of what we once would have paid, and our desperation to stay on trend means we're churning through them at a rate of knots.

It's easy to rationalise, of course: It was cheap, who cares! But while the cost may not be immediately frightening to your bank balance, the price for the environment is already much too high. And rapidly rising.

Did you know that every 10 minutes Australians throw out 6000 kilograms of clothes? Yeah, me neither.

And did you know that it can take up to 2700 litres of water to make a single cotton t-shirt?

Sure, most of us donate our "old" clothes, but guess what? Charity shops are now drowning in cheaply made, cheaply bought garments too and sadly that means most wind up in landfill. A whopping 85 percent of them do, in fact.

It's out of sight, out of mind. But what if we could see all the perfectly wearable clothes we've chucked over the years? Would we think a little harder before buying another too small tee?

In the final episode of the ABC's three-part documentary series War On Waste, The Chaser's Craig Reucassel show Aussies exactly what six tonnes of textile and fashion waste looks like. By dumping it in Sydney's Martin Place.

50,000 coffee cups reach landfill every 30 minutes. It's enough to fill a Melbourne tram. Image: Instagram/ABC
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It's one of several stunts in the series that asks why Australia's waste is growing at double the rate of our population - and what we can do about it.

In terms of fashion, there are many ways we can be more mindful of our habits, and they don't require compromising on style. If anything, giving thought to how we dress will likely make our looks even more unique.

So, here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Hit up your local op-shop or consignment store.

Shopping for secondhand clothes saves waste, money and the embarrassment of turning up to work in the same $20 top as your desk mate. Pop down to your local Smith Family, Vinnies, Salvos, Anglicare or Australian Red Cross store or check out your local consignment store, you honestly never know what you'll find.

2. Join a buy, swap, sell group on Facebook.

Buy, swap, sell groups on social media are a thriving marketplace of new and hardly used goodies. Try hunting in a group dedicated to a specific brand you like or post a photo or description of what you're after to see if anyone is selling it.

3. Try Ebay.

Ebay is awash with pre-loved clothes, just type what you're after into the search bar and see for yourself.

4. Repair, don't replace.

Rather than chucking out your old boots, why not take them to the cobbler? If you're handy with a sewing machine or needle and thread try repairing old clothes instead of replacing them. If you're not, there's likely a tailor in your local area. A tiny hole shouldn't be a death sentence for a piece of clothing.

5. Raid your mum's wardrobe.

Mum's cupboards are basically treasure troves of "vintage" clothes. Free ones.

6. Do your research.

Learn about the brands you're buying from. Where are the clothes made? How were they made? Who made them? Try to buy from companies who are transparent about their production practices, as well as trying to be ethical and sustainable.

7. Make a list.

Plan your shopping trips. Write down what new clothes you actually need for the season, have a look online and make a list of what you want. Then try not to stray from it.

8. Sleep on it.

If in doubt, sleep on it. If you still want it the next day, odds are you won't get buyer's remorse.

It's like Coco Chanel said,"Fashion fades, only style remains the same." So why not try and make yours last?

What's your best tip for recycling fashion? Tell us below, we want to know!

War On Waste airs Tuesdays at 8.30pm on ABC or on ABC iview.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner War on Waste - ABC

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