Summer is here once again, bringing with it the longer days, milder weather, and an explosion of social events we all know and love. Shopping for a new summer wardrobe is a pleasure I’m sure we all love, but rushing out to buy brand-new clothes the moment the sun shows its face is hardly feasible for the vast majority of us. We’re all struggling to keep up with the ever-rising cost of living, clothes included, and even falling into debt. Shelter found in 2016 that a third of low-income homes resort to borrowing money to keep up with rent, leading to many seeking debt help and advice. If you have been struggling you are certainly not alone. Luckily, with a little time and imagination, you can snag yourself an enviable summer collection whilst sticking to your budget, with these top repurposing and bargain-hunting tips.
Charity Shops are your Friend
It might not be as glamorous as perusing the meticulously arranged shop floors of the high-street, but rummaging through your local charity shops for hidden gems can be extremely rewarding, and you’re guaranteed a bargain. If you struggle to find your size in second-hand shops, there’s still a lot you can do with clothes which are too small or too baggy. If physical rummaging isn’t for you, you could try scouring the virtual rails of sites such as eBay for your pre-loved summer look.
Out of the Season, into the Sale
If you’re organised enough, waiting for the sales can be a great way to buy seasonal clothes for less. At the end of summer, shops are desperate to get rid of their sun dresses and strappy tops to make way for cosy jumpers and boots, so savvy shoppers can use this to their advantage!
You’ll have to wait a while to wear the clothes, but it’s probably worth it for paying half the original price.
If you fancy sprucing up your wardrobe for summer without even leaving the house, the craze for ‘upcycling’ could appeal to you. The possibilities for DIY summer clothes are virtually endless, so here are a few easy ideas to try!
Fabric Paint – Fabric paints can be had for as little as £6 for a set, and are a fast and easy way to spruce up old clothes! Perhaps you’ve got an old pair of jeans in the back of your drawer looking a bit sorry for themselves?
You could give them new life and a summery vibe with a little white fabric paint, by using a pencil eraser to cover them in polka dots.
DIY Shorts – Old jeans have another great use – making denim shorts. Not only is this a great money-saver, but making your own also gives you the shorts you really want!
Gone are the days of being torn between buying a pair of shorts which are infeasibly short, or a pair which are long enough to warrant a different name. Add further summer vibes by sewing on a simple lace trim, or replacing the back pockets with floral fabric.
Wear a Scarf – If you’ve got a scarf you don’t expect to wear next winter, you can unfold it, and with a few snips and stitches turn it into a stylish summer shawl. This works best with sheer, stretchy scarves.
Make yourself a crop-top – There’s a really simple trick for transforming leggings into a stylish crop-top, with absolutely no sewing. Sound too good to be true? Give it a go! All you need to do is fold a pair in half lengthwise, so the legs overlap, before cutting out the crotch. For a V neck, cut in a V shape, for a scoop neckline, cut in a gentle curve. The legs become your sleeves, so how long or short they are is entirely up to you. If you have a few raggedy pairs of leggings lying about, this is a great trick to experiment with.
Hitting the Beach – Sarongs can be pricey, and they just get covered in sand! Why not snip some sleeves into an old maxi-skirt, and easily turn it into floaty beach-wear. This could be a good use for any skirts you stumble across which are too baggy. Old flip-flops can also be given a new lease of life with a little DIY. For better-looking, more comfortable straps, cut strips of a fabric of your choice and, starting at the toe divider, wrap them tightly around the straps, tying knots to keep it in place periodically. You could even try plaiting strips around the straps if you’re dextrous enough. The beach could also be the place to finally get use out of old t-shirts, whether faded or too small, by transforming them into beach bags. Cut off the sleeves and neckline, leaving thin straps as these will be your handles, before cutting strips into the bottom. Stretch and knot together these strips to form a fringed bottom of the bag.
Bleach isn’t just for Cleaning
Bleached clothes always seem to carry a summer vibe! This could be another way to spruce up old jeans, by bleaching them tie-dye style, in diluted bleach bunched up with rubber bands in places. Alternatively, you could apply bleach to a stamp (potato stamps will do) and use this to bleach the pattern of your choosing into clothes.