upcycle

the moral wardrobe: oldies

personal style
h & m jumper
polaroids
sseko designs loafers
Ethical Details: Top - made in USA; Dress - old; Shoes - Sseko Designs c/o Made Fair

Sometimes the most ethical thing you can do for your wardrobe is wear out your old things. I bought this dress at H&M a few years ago on a trip to Richmond with a friend. At the time, I was impressed with H&M's corporate social responsibility report and thought they'd be a good option for ethical goods. My opinion has changed over the years - fast fashion is unsustainable regardless of how well-intentioned your policies are - but I am pleased to see that H&M is starting to make jeans out of recycled materials and plans to use organic cotton for all its cotton goods within 5 years. It's not perfect, but it's a start. 

I've been spending a huge amount of time at work preparing for and implementing our seasonal switchover to fall-appropriate clothing. Lots of physical labor. But it's pretty much done now and I'm excited to have more time to enjoy the cooler weather and maybe stop by a nearby sunflower field in the next couple of weeks.

A note on the camera: my parents sent me back from my recent visit with my old Polaroid camera, so I bought myself some film and tried it out! It still works just fine and it made a nice prop for this photo shoot. Maybe I should hold more things in my hands when I take outfit photos. It makes me feel like I have a purpose.

second hand challenge: upcycle your way to the perfect closet

DIY black strappy flats

Part of the fun of buying second hand, particularly if you're at a thrift shop, is that you can get a bit experimental with your style both because thrift shops carry a huge assortment of goods and because things don't cost very much money. And if you can't find the exact thing you want, you may be able to buy something similar and make a few tweaks when you get home.

I'd been wanting a pair of black flats that weren't plain jane for awhile, but I just couldn't find anything that worked out at the numerous thrift shops and second hand sites I visited, so I decided to make my own! The best part is that I was able to use things I already had lying around, but you should have no trouble finding a plain pair of flats at your local thrift. I'd recommend scoping out yard sales or calling your local thrift shops (and maybe a Habitat Store if you're near one) to find basic craft supplies. My church's prayer shawl ministry just gave away a whole bunch of unused craft supplies, so double check to see if people in your community have spare bits and bobs.

make strappy flats diy

To make a pair of strappy flats, you'll need:

  • sturdy, flat ribbon (I used a wide grosgrain) for loops
  • scissors
  • heavy duty craft glue like E-6000 or 9001
  • chiffon fabric/ribbon or leather cord (depending on what type of look you're going for) for laces
  • plain flats

shoes tutorial

Instructions:

  1. Make loops for your straps to go through: Measure the height of the sides of your shoes, then double this measurement and cut your grosgrain or other sturdy ribbon to size. Using the first piece of ribbon as your template, cut 7 more pieces of ribbon. 
  2. Create loops by folding each piece of ribbon over itself, then secure with a strong craft glue. Let dry. 
  3. Figure out where you want your loops to be secured on the shoe (I eyeballed it), then glue your ribbon loops into the shoe. I used a relatively small amount of glue on the side of the shoe to ensure that the shoes wouldn't become too stiff or uncomfortable. Let dry.
  4. Choose your laces. I used my Sseko Designs chiffon ribbons*, but you could make your own chiffon ribbons from a thrifted dress or skirt or buy some cord from a craft store if you want a narrower strap.
  5. Lace straps through loops like you're lacing a sneaker. Secure around your ankle.

black strappy flats

Since I may decide I don't want straps on my flats after awhile, I made sure not to use too much glue when securing the loops onto the sides of the shoes. If I want plain flats again, I can simply cut the loops off.

Sometimes changing up your wardrobe just takes a bit of brainstorming. Next time you're looking to update an old standby, consider altering what you already have with a bit of help from a second hand store. 

*denotes affiliate link.