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Maximizing the Usability of Clothes

We are so excited to be back to the blogging world this week. We’ve been working away like busybodies and have been on a major adulting mode recently. The good news is that we’ve achieved some happy life milestones and checked some things off our wish list! But boy have we been longing to get back to our blogosphere with the many fun and creative ideas forever brewing in our heads. Yang never hears the end of my long list of ‘must dos’ and ‘wanna do’s’, but its about time we get those into action!

If you have an interest in fashion and design, you’ve probably heard the buzz words of ‘sustainable fashion’, ‘eco-fashion’, and ‘circular fashion’.

We are at the crux of a revolutionary movement with the growing shift in the way designers, manufacturers, and brands are trying to make clothing available to consumers such as you and I. There is a difference in the overall messaging and it is incumbent upon us as consumers to listen, learn, and grow.

I’ve never been the kind of person who enjoys spending many hours shopping at the mall. But when I do buy clothes, I like to pay a little extra to find good quality clothing that is durable, versatile, and long-lasting.

When I look through my wardrobe, I can easily spot a number of clothes that are at least six to seven years old! Don’t mistake me for a hoarder though:) I clean out my closet every couple of months and pull out a bag of things that can be dropped off at my local donation center after I’ve maximized their usage.

Little did I know that all these practices can now be grouped under an umbrella term and coined as ‘circular fashion’ under the broader movement of ‘sustainable fashion’.

So when my mom says an outfit doesn’t fit her too well, I grab the opportunity to fix it and revamp it to suit my style and then use it for a few more years.

My mom wore the above green salwar suit for my wedding. I recently restitched it and paired it with a mustard palazzo pant and golden net dupatta. When I purchased the new pant and dupatta, I bought generic tones that I knew I could pair with a number of other looks!

I recently pulled out some Indian salwar suits that I had gotten stitched during my undergrad years in India about fifteen years ago. I handed them down to my sister when I realized that they didn’t fit me as well.

I also found a smart Pathani kurta pajama set that Yang hadn’t worn in five years. I remember buying it as a gift for him. He literally wore it for an event or two and then boxed it away. During a recent clean out session, I stumbled upon this precious find and immediately reached out to my guy friends to see if I could find a taker for this lightly used outfit. I found someone to take the outfit by the end of the day and the joy experienced was supreme!

Thinking back to my high school years, I realized that the first time I wore a saree for a school event, I used a hand-me-down from my grandmother- a classic traditional weave that made me feel beautiful and proud. Three generations had worn that saree and modified the look to suit their style and taste.

To date, I look through my mom’s collection of beautiful kancheevaram sarees and stitch a couple of blouses that can be worn across multiple drapes.

Similarly, when we purchase a new saree in our household, my sister and I stitch blouses of our respective sizes and different styles, so that we can share and use/re-use the saree between the two of us. Coming from a cost-effective and budget-friendly family, this is something we’ve always done pretty naturally. Little did we know that we were aligning with the ‘circular fashion’ movement early on!

I’m forever thinking of fun and creative ways to use my outfits. Especially with traditional Indian clothes. You can only use them so often and it’s natural to want a new look with a new outfit for every social event. So why not mix and match things to maximize the usability of clothes? Check out the gallery and blurbs below for some ideas.

If you look closely at the photos featured above, the silk blouse from my engagement outfit got paired with a trendy blue lehenga (borrowed from my sister) and made for a totally new style!

Oooh…this white thick border dupatta from one of my wedding events has been paired in so many different ways! Take a peek…

Now mixing and matching is not just for women! Check out two different looks with Yang’s kurta. In the first image to your left, he paired his coral silk kurta with a traditional ivory dhoti for a South Indian wedding. The big ‘stache definitely complemented his look:) We brought out the same coral kurta for his sister’s engagement party this year and paired it with a spunky vest and a royal blue pajama!

Here are some ways in which I’ve used my lehenga skirts in versatile ways! Switch up the blouse, change up the dupatta, or add a cape! Your fashion is yours to own!

For me, the key to experimenting with different looks is of course having a good collection of reusables, but also forming lasting bonds with my tailor. Insider tip unveiled!

Sisters- this is not a step backwards…this is “Fashion Forward”!

Not sure how this is done just yet? Spot the commonalities between the four images below. Pants, blouses, capes, and dupattas- I’ve reused them all!

Have no shame in reusing or swapping lightly used clothes with your friends and family! Prolong the shelf life of your clothes and join the ‘circular fashion’ movement. This is FASHION FORWARD! Make conscious and sustainable choices in everything you do:)

If you enjoyed this blog and have other creative similar ideas, we would love to hear from you:)

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