How to Create Your Own Sustainable Style on a Budget


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I firmly believe that everyone can create their own fabulous, unique style without breaking the bank. 

Reusing what you already have and shopping second-hand are wonderfully affordable ways to fill your wardrobe with the looks you love that are also fantastically eco-friendly!

Unfortunately, many people continue to believe the myth that the laundered clothing donated to swaps, second-hand stores and charity shops is somehow dirtier and less hygienic than a “brand new” garment that has traveled through many different factories, hands and machines worldwide without being washed even once.

Second-hand items that have been gently used by one or two people are usually much more hygienic than, for example, restaurant cutlery that, while run through a dishwasher, has still been in multiple customers’ mouths or hotel linens and towels that, regardless of how many times they have been washed, have touched the intimate areas of numerous guests, yuck!

Changing the way you think about shopping and developing preloved buying habits is not as challenging as you might think; take a peek at my top tips below and begin your eco-style adventure today: 

By shopping second hand and reusing, you’re not contributing a cent to the unsustainable, multi-billion-dollar fashion industry nor are you unintentionally supporting an unethically produced brand. 

Wearing and refashioning preloved garments means they are not ending up in landfills. North Americans send more than 10.5 million tons of wearable waste to landfills each year, not to mention the increased impact when you add in the rest of the world. In fact, only around 15% of used clothing gets recycled or donated (sadly only about 20% of donations actually make it onto the shop floor), giving textiles one of the poorest recycling rates of any reusable material. That’s even more shocking when you realize around 95% of the textile waste sitting in our landfills today, is actually recyclable.

Shopping preloved and reusing what you already have in your wardrobe is economical. Unfortunately, sustainable, ethically produced brands are unaffordable for the average consumer, myself included, thrifting, upcycling and DIY-ing definitely help keep a tight budget under control yet still allow for new-to-you gear and the occasional thrifty spending spree!

But wait! There’s more to scoring second-hand than simply sifting through the racks at your fave thrift shop. A wealth of sustainable style and preloved awesomeness can be found just about anywhere with a bit of imagination:

Sort through your closets, drawers, shoes and accessories, have your friends do the same then meet up and have a fab evening swapping your unwanted gear for new-to-you wardrobe faves! It’s a completely free and 100% sustainable way to refresh your style and decor!

The wonderful world of preloved online allows you to browse and buy from the comfort of your own home. With so many second-hand fashion apps, auction sites, virtual vintage shops and handmade marketplaces available online you’re able to find exactly what you’re looking for while sipping tea in your jammies! (Order a Refashionista Box on my site & let me be your personal sustainable stylist!)

Community swaps are becoming increasingly popular and are a fun, free way of trading your unwanted items for something just your taste and style! Check your local paper and search online for upcoming swaps in your area!

Hunting through your neighbourhood garage and yard sales is a great way to spend a sunny day, get to know your neighbours and score some fantastic new to you gear for pennies! (having your own sale is also a groovy method to get rid of your unwanted items and make a bit of money for those future second-hand shopping trips!)

Shopping preloved at thrift and charity shops is eco-friendly, economical and allows you to put together truly one of a kind outfits that reflect your own unique style! 

So, the next time you’re coveting a new outfit, look no further than your own wardrobe, a friend’s closet or your neighbourhood charity shop – with a bit of inspiration and creativity you’ll be able to create an absolutely fabulous new-to-you look for next to nothing! My site is chock full of completely free preloved style inspiration, ethical fashion resources as well as loads of simple refashioning and upcycling tutorials to get you started on your sustainable lifestyle journey.

Reusing, refashioning and upcycling preloved items as well as those forgotten bits, we already have stored away in our homes not only saves money but is also a very easy way to start living more sustainably. Absolutely anyone can become an awesome DIY eco-fashion upcycling warrior by simply sorting through their wardrobes, shopping preloved and creating their own fabulous, affordable, totally unique style!

My ambition to inform & encourage others to step away from unethically produced fashion and embrace an affordable eco-friendly lifestyle is the driving force that motivates me to continue providing fabulous free refashion, accessory and home decor tutorials as well as sustainable style inspiration and helpful thrifting tips on my Confessions of a Refashionista site, channel and social media as well as contributing and sharing my creative skills throughout the online world.

Sheri Pavlović

Sheri Pavlović

Sheri Pavlović is the DIY diva and author behind the book series, channel & blog Confessions of a Refashionista, the fabulous eco-friendly corner of the internet packed with step-by-step upcycling tutorials for everything from groovy clothing & accessories to funky home decor + a healthy dose of sustainable style inspiration! This quirky Canadian creator is an avid upcycler who lived a most extraordinary existence in North America, Japan, England, Greece and Germany before finally ending up in Toronto after over 20 years spent living & working abroad in DIY, Fashion, Publishing, Education & Entertainment industries . Her personal definition of a Refashionista? A kick ass DIY eco-fashion & décor upcycling warrior who firmly believes that affordable, unique style can be achieved by anyone without supporting the growing phenomenon of unethically produced products or fashion.

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