‘a reinvention’ – the low-impact way

No money for a new wardrobe? No problem.

Over the Christmas season I have inadvertently undertaken a moneyless wardrobe reinvention. 

Moneyless living can be abundant. Again I have proved to myself how easy this is. Or maybe I’ve just proved that I live in a world of ‘peak stuff’.

They are calling it ‘slow fashion’, repurposing, upcycling, preloved, ecofashion, even ‘trashion’ in some cases? All I know (and care about) is that my wardrobe is low-impact, properly sustainable, ethical fashion – non of this green-washed stuff (see rant below)!

My fashion reinvention has come about thanks to a local clothes swap and a visit to my folks’ place for Christmas.

The clothes swap a few weeks ago produced several interesting, colourful pieces. The leftover stuff we all brought along (yes, I still have clothes to give away) was donated to a local charity.

My parent’s place has lots of solar power, tank water, Mum has a sewing machine (with the associated sewing skills), and is a volunteer at a local op (charity) shop. So, in my reinvention, I pulled out a couple of bags of old fabric I’ve had for years, added to it some bits from the clothes swap, some old pieces from my mum, and got sewing.

As I’ve said before, my parents are frugal minimalists – ‘old school’ repairers and repurposers to be proud of. Mum has collected cotton thread from the op shop and doesn’t even throw her crooked pins out! The rest of her sewing kit is stuff given to her and her old collection she’s had for years. It felt good to be sewing with her – low-impact all the way.

I am now the proud owner of a heap of ‘new’ clothes. The photo below is a display of all of the new wardrobe on the old clothes line. 

There’s some underwear I made using stretchy fabric I collected years ago; an A-line maxi skirt made from a curtain from the clothes swap; an old T-shirt of Mum’s modified into a little babydoll shirt; a vintage ‘night gown’ that I’ll wear with a waistband (a scarf) to create a cool summer frock; some bikini tops and bottoms made from scraps of fabric in my collection; and the clothes swap pieces. Added to these are some modified and repaired clothes I have had lying around for a while and a couple of pre-loved items given as a christmas gift.

The result: enough for an entire wardrobe (for summer at least) and time spent with my Mum.



The creative juices continued to flow – repurposing old bits of fabric for hair ties, waist drawstrings, and gifts of cotton fabric scraps for my friend to make into beeswax wraps


I also cut my own hair – hacked it really – and hacked it some more until it resembled something like the hair I wanted. I’m wearing it in pigtails and going ‘Princess Leah’ style a lot – just ‘cause I can! I’m even embracing my natural body hair – fighting the conventions I am exposed to everyday about how a woman’s body should look.


On a final note, grief is an arse. One of the few positives I have found, in those times of real grief in my life, is that I will come to a fork in the road – one leading to more of the same; one leading to change. The changes I am currently making are not limited in anyway by my state of moneylessness and are easily achieved in a low-impact way.

And a last thought: I am reminded again that I am a privileged white woman living in a wealthy country. Even choosing to live my current lifestyle, it is so much easier for me to live comfortably than so many I share this beloved planet with. I want to reduce the suffering caused through a lack of understanding of the impacts of our consumerism. So, I experiment and I write.



Warning: rant 

I don’t believe in ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ clothing if any part of the process involves new fabric being consumed, fabric being transported long distances, factories of any kind, or any part of the ‘fashion’ process involving the use of new fossil fuels. Any use of fossil fuels is unsustainable if we’re being real. There is so much ‘green washing’ still going on in the fashion industry, sadly, as well as all other industries as far as I can tell. To ensure you are wearing low-impact clothes simply wear ‘pre-loved’ stuff!








19 thoughts on “‘a reinvention’ – the low-impact way

  1. We need more people like you on this planet – asap! I´ve been living a minimalist lifestyle for 10+ years, and thought I had been living a fairly low impact life for last couple of decades. But it wasn´t until I read Mark Boyle´s books last year my life really started turning around. I love that I can keep coming back to your instagram and blog and find my thoughts mirrored in your writing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Another great article with some stellar advice, in a world where everything counts in large amounts. Well, at least in the USA it seems so. Perhaps things are slowly shifting, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Jo, I love your ‘new’ wardrobe. My list of things to try this year includes making my own underwear. This despite the fact that sewing is not my forte. But I have kind friends with skills, my best resource! So far I have been collecting old t-shirts for the project. I love that you have forged ahead with your project, forging through grief to make a beautiful, meaningful life. Only useful way to move is forward, but oh, it’s hard.. good for you xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jo. Yes, trying my best to forge ahead and, you’re right, it can be very hard. Many were surprised by the idea of making my own undies but I think I’ve nailed it! Time will tell……Good luck with yours. 🙂


  4. I love visiting “my” oppies for they wrest me from the every mounting pressure to conform and thus consume. They open the heart for no matter what your intentions, dreams or desires they offer what they have. Somwhere in the middle the mind is opened a deal is made and trip becomes a success beyond my wildest dreams. Of course sowing skills take this all to way out heights but I am humble and happy to have clothing that keeps me warm and stops more waste. Many thumbs up to your rant. Yes precisely. So glad your blog exists as whenever I feel the pressure you show me comradeship in the better and saner ways.

    Sending you happy thoughts and many blessings. May the new years to come bring much joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jo,

    Heard you talking on Radio National! Power to you for taking real action when it’s so much easier just to throw up your hands.

    Just wondering about the ads on your page, they don’t seem in keeping with your modus operandi?

    Sorry if you’ve addressed this in your blog previously, I’ve only just started reading!

    Best wishes to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Meredith. Unfortunately I only have a free wordpress account so can’t get rid of the ads – need to pay to have ad free. I realise the irony and was waiting for someone to comment. Well spotted! Cheers, Jo


  6. This is not new I have been living in the bush since the early 70’s built my own home composting toiilets solarh grow my own food .vegies only live in a semi arid area which really test your skills. Saw the light before permaculture became fashionable. Regards Rick

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rick. I think there are a few people out there doing it like you – low impact but with money. I only go without money because I don’t trust myself to not buy crap! This is my choice and don’t expect others to live like me….just to reduce their footprints and get off fossil fuels as much as possible.


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