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Upcycle Your Spring Wardrobe

"If we all extended the use of a garment by nine months - which according to studies would mean making it last three years - we could save $8 billion a year on the cost of resources used to manufacture, launder and dispose of clothing." (Why Fashion Matters by Frances Corner)

Contrary to what some people assume, a wardrobe edit does not always involve chucking out piles of clothes and immediately rushing out to buy new stuff. In fact, one of my favourite things as a personal stylist is looking at my client's existing wardrobe and finding new ways to upcycle, style or combine much-loved pieces. I've learned over time never to assume my client has thought of all the possibilities lurking in that magic land beyond the wardrobe door - even the most stylish of women can benefit from an objective eye and a bit of thinking outside the sartorial box. There's a lot of talk currently about how you should try to think of three ways you can wear a potential purchase before you get your credit card out; it's a great idea in principle but if outfit building was that easy, I'd be out of a job.

Spring accessorising

Being a Generation X-er, I find inspiration from magazines, shop windows and the people I see on the streets of London rather than TikTok. I can while away hours at home creating new looks and in the process extending the life of those pieces I love the most. It's a childhood game I'll never tire of and some of my favourite outfits have come about this way. If a pair of trousers fit well and feel comfortable there will be a shirt, statement necklace and pair of loafers that'll bring them hurtling into the new season. And those midi dresses you feel you've done to death? Well this spring the skirt is back so while there's still a chill in the air, why not consider layering one of your chunky knits over the top with a vintage belt and kitten heels? 

Now we are all trying to be more mindful in our fashion purchases, versatility and sustainability is more important than ever. A capsule wardrobe therefore is a great start since it is made up of classic pieces that won't date and can be paired with lots of other things all year round. If you're not a classic capsule wardrobe kind of gal, preferring to mix it up and experiment more, then splashes of colour and the odd trend will not only express your individualism but add interest to your looks too. This spring, for example, I cannot recommend enough a scarf manipulated into a corsage to attach to your blazer or bag or a spare bit of ribbon tied into your hair. Yes, this season's accessories are probably stuffed into one of the darkest recesses of your wardrobe.

Accessorising for spring

Accessorising is a simple and cheap way to upcycle a tried and tested look already in your spring wardrobe - a belt or pair of shoes in a contrasting colour or print makes all the difference to a little black or navy dress and yet I've lost count of the number of times I've heard "Oh, I wouldn't have thought of adding a belt!" I'll leave you with a few suggestions to try at home - let me know how you get on or if you need further guidance, have a look at my Instagram or get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

  • Add a vintage brooch or corsage to a jacket lapel or scarf

  • Bow a vibrant silk scarf to the handle or strap of a bag or wind it around a chunky necklace

  • Fashion pieces of grosgrain ribbon into bows for hair clips, bands or even your shoes

  • Create a ruching or fold effect on a shirt, top or dress using a brooch, earring or hair corsage

  • Belt an oversized blazer or duster coat or swap the buttons to some in a contrasting colour


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