Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

Working on your style does not necessarily require new clothes.  Now, let’s be clear it often does.  Nonetheless, there are other options. In the best eco-friendly tradition you might also consider the triumvirate of reduce, re-use & recycle


Many men wear clothes that are too large, in fact several sizes. The reasons for this are complex but perhaps the most likely is that many of us don’t actually know our size.  If your clothes are too small you’ll probably notice.  They’ll be too tight, you might have difficulty doing up the buttons and they’ll be uncomfortable after you’ve been wearing them for a few hours.

In contrast, if our clothes are too large we are less likely to notice.  The buttons will do up fine and they won’t pinch in uncomfortable ways. Hence, we may go on for years wearing clothes several sizes too large.  I certainly did….

So if you are looking to improve your wardrobe why not work on some of your existing clothes and have them altered to fit you properly?  If you are currently cinching in your trouser waists with a belt it’s a sing that it’s probably a bit too large at the waist.  Consider having it reduced. Jacket sleeves too short or long?  Have them lengthened or shortened.

There are, of course, limits to how far garments can be altered, and in some cases your tailor won’t be able to alter your clothes sufficiently to  fit your dimensions perfectly.  However, in many cases a good tailor can make quite a difference.

Suit Alterations

The really important thing is if your clothes are adjusted to fit your particular body shape they will fit you almost as if they were tailored for you. And you can’t get much more stylish than that.  Best of all it does not require buying new clothes; rather you optimise  clothes you already have. Make no mistake, clothes thus altered  will get a new lease of life.

If you need to find a tailor  and don’t know where to begin ask at your local dry cleaners whether they have an alteration service or can recommend someone in your neighbourhood who can make alterations to clothes.  If you build up a relationship with this person over some years they get to know what you like, but even more importantly, they become familiar with your dimensions and what would work with your body shape.


The re-use element is to re-use elements of your wardrobe in slightly different ways.  So you’ve stopped wearing a particular suit for whatever reason.  OK. Before you get rid of it might you use the trousers in a different setting?

You have a pair of linen trousers that you wear rolled up in the summer.  What might it be like give them a good ironing and combine with a blazer to make a comfortable mixed suit in autumn?


Rugby shirt?  Great.  Could you use it as a layer under a jacket?

Set your creative juices running.  Find that item of clothes that’s sat at the back of your closet waiting to be taken to the Charity Shop and ask yourself how could I re-use this creatively in a way I’ve not done before? Especially if you are prepared to have the item altered new possibilities can arise.


At some stage you will want to get rid of clothes in your closet.  You might consider giving them away to people you know who will appreciate them.  Failing that there is always a local charity shop.  Whilst there you might have a look around to see if anything catches your fancy.

In my local Red Cross shop a few months ago a beautiful grey greatcoat caught my eye.  Turned out to be a vintage 1963 Swedish military issue item.  So it’s older than I am.  You can’t buy it new now.  And even if you could it would be horrendously expensive.  Here was a vintage item in great condition that was far cheaper than buying a modern equivalent.  And you get to contribute to charity as well.


Recycling allows us to offer to someone else the benefits of our wardrobe and vice versa. You will need to spend a little here but very little.

So there you have it.  Reduce, Re-use Recycle. Give it a go and let me know how you get on!


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