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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Getting the most out of your wardrobe

Little black dress

Sheena Matheiken on Day 1 of The Uniform Project

Credit: The Uniform Project

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The next step in our quest for multi-purpose products is to have a look at our wardrobes. Again, marketing companies and the fashion industry would like us to believe that we need a wardrobe of unique items to showcase every mood we have, specialist clothes for every place we go, and trendy clothes that we update every 3 months.

Of course, we don’t have to pay attention to that. Lots of people are already seeing the point of multi-purpose clothing - things that are trans-seasonal, able to be dressed up or down, and made of high-quality materials that don’t fall apart after 3 washes. They get variety through their accessories instead of buying a whole new wardrobe every year.

For women, the obvious option is a Little Black Dress. My LBD can go anywhere: I can wear it with sandals and a straw hat to the farmers’ market; with pearls and high heels to fancy restaurants; with tartan tights and tall boots to the movies. If you want to see a real expert make the fullest use of an LBD, check out the Uniform Project - this girl had 7 identical LBDs that she wore every day for a year, just changing out the accessories to make things different. And going one further, Little Brown Dress is the website of a woman who wore one brown dress for a whole year as a statement against consumerism.

For men, a good multi-purpose garment is a blazer jacket. It can keep you warm when you’re you’re wearing a button-down shirt and trousers, but also when you’re dressed down in jeans and a t-shirt. No white sneakers with this look though, unless you want to look like Seinfeld!

At the moment, I’m knitting a little vest for my baby godson. It’s going to be something he can wear from spring through to winter - over a t-shirt in warmish weather, and adding a jacket on top in cooler weather. It’ll get used often before he grows out of it, and then can be passed on to a baby brother or sister.

I think I could do more with my wardrobe though. I currently have 5 or 6 winter jackets, and given that we only get two or three months of bad weather here in Perth I don’t think I really need that many. I’m thinking of replacing them with just two: a trench coat for dressy occasions, and a hoodie for casual ones. I will of course look in secondhand shops as my first stop (I’m still keeping up our reuse challenge!).

How about you? Do you have too many of one type of clothes that could be replaced with something multi-purpose? Just think of the extra space you’ll get in your wardrobe, and how much smaller your laundry pile will be!