I want to help you rescue your clothing. Rescue it from the back of the closet, and being worn less than it could be for one reason or another. Rescue it from that unfortunate stain that now makes it embarrassing to wear. Rescue it from being money wasted inside your closet. Rescue it from being added to the millions of tons of clothing waste that is generated each year when much of it is still in wearable condition.
There are several things we can try before giving up on an item of clothing. Solutions exist for ill-fitting, stained, and those not quite right items. I’ve tried some of them myself lately and am getting more use than ever from the clothes in my closet.
This is not a tutorial about a miracle stain remover. Let’s face it, some stains are incredibly stubborn and cannot be removed. We can also cause further damage to our clothing while trying to save them from a stain. I have a pair of yellow jeans that I stained on the second wear. My husband removed the stain, but also succeeded in removing quite a bit of color from them as well. Now there is a large pale-yellow splotch on them.
A common staining problem is yellowing armpits caused by deodorant. I had this problem with a tan silk jersey Ralph Lauren dress I love, and at one time wore it often. Eventually, armpit staining made it embarrassing to wear without something over it. I was torn about what to do with the dress. It was not in any condition to donate, but was still otherwise wearable.
I decided to dye it a darker color. The color I chose is a rich, dark olive green. I mixed All-purpose Rit Dye based on the formulas in their color chart. Frankly, I like the color better now than I did before and, most importantly, there are no more stains. You can bet I will also be re-dyeing those yellow jeans to even out the color.
Just Doesn’t Work
We’ve all been there, you loved the item when you buy it, or think you need it to go with something else. Once you get it home, the love is gone because it doesn’t really work for you. The end result is another item taking up space in the closet, never being worn, and money down the drain. You don’t get rid of it because you’re sure you’ll find a way to wear it, or you wear it anyway, unhappy with the results.
We are not required to maintain clothing in the same form that we purchased it. We can change anything we want. Think jeans turned into denim cut-off shorts, or sleeves cut off of t-shirts. These types of changes can be made in a more refined and finished way.
I purchased these high-waisted, straight denim leg pants in my favorite color a few years ago. They’ve been worn, maybe three times. I listed them for sale in my Poshmark closet, but they sat unsold for more than a year.
I recently pulled the pants out to make them into shorts that I will be happy to wear regularly. It was a minimal sew project, but if you are not as ambitious, a good tailor can make the same modifications for you. A tailor can also help you modify the shape of just about any item you are unhappy with.
Needs an Update
You used to love it, but not any longer. Does it need to go, or can it be refreshed? I assure you that with a simple change, you could love it again. It could be dye or make alterations to clothing for an update, but what about shoes?
I recently discovered the magic of leather paint. It’s nothing like those streaky, pasty shoe polishes of yore. These paints go on easily and dry evenly, making the shoes look as if you purchased them that way.
Block-heeled loafers are one of my favorite shoe styles, and these red ones are in good shape, but were extremely boring. I purchased two bottles of Angelus Leather Paint and Acrylic Finisher to give these shoes new life. The shoes were very plain, so I added metal embellishment (using a heavy-duty glue like e6000) to give them a little more personality. A good cobbler or shoe repair shop can revive shoe soles and can also paint or re-dye shoes as well.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 87% of donated clothing ends up in a landfill or incinerator. Clothing is not biodegradable, and it will add to our waste streams and pollution. While donation seems like a great option, it is better to wear the things you have until they have no useful life. Hopefully, you learned about new ways to help you do that.