Heidi Atkins with permission for Varsity

It’s the beginning of the year once again, and with the usual utterings of fresh starts, new beginnings, and New Year’s resolutions, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of post-Christmas sales which draw us into the never-ending cycle of consumption. The pressure is real. Whether you’ve picked up running as a new lifestyle change, and so simply must purchase head-to-toe new running gear, or find yourself staring into your chest of drawers thinking, ’I’m starting the year off with a brand-new, shiny personality, so I absolutely need a sparkly new wardrobe to match’, I feel the struggle.

But you don’t need a fresh new wardrobe every time you get a little bored of the items you already own. The excitement of buying new clothes and eagerly anticipating their arrival in the post is a thrill that quickly dies down.

Heidi Atkins with permission for Varsity

It’s a vicious cycle that usually goes a little something like this: you order something new online and eventually, you hear a knock on the door –it’s the postman – you run upstairs, tear open the parcel, try it on … and slowly realise … it’s just not coming together as you imagined it in your head. In fact, it’s AWFUL and you can’t even return it because it’s from Depop. You vow to never order anything online again. EVER.

“There’s no point in buying new things when there’s so much we can do with the items we already have”

A week goes by, and you find yourself in the same vicious cycle next time you need a dopamine hit. So, how can we create new looks and avoid this dissatisfaction? Well, I think that clothes should be fun – even the ones you’ve owned for years. There’s no point in buying new things when there’s so much we can do with the items we already have.

Heidi Atkins with permission for Varsity

So, how can you revamp your style without breaking the bank? It’s all in the power of styling and accessorising.

Bored of a dress you already own? Try using a funky belt to alter the silhouette. Or perhaps add a long coat and tie in the waist to elongate the shape. Feel as though your clothes all look the same? Add a pair of coloured tights or lacy socks to add some interest to a tried-and-tested outfit. You know that jumper that you always wear? Find some broaches from a charity shop and pin them all over it. I believe that virtually anything shiny, glittery, or sparkly will revamp any outfit. So go crazy, the sky is the limit. Imagine you’re a beautiful antique photo frame; of course, the artwork inside is important, but what can’t be improved with the addition of some ornate gold finishings? Layer up the jewellery and trinkets; it’s not just magpies that adore shiny things.

“The most important thing is to have fun and experiment with what makes both you and your wardrobe light up again”

Clips and pins can also be a great way to gather up material and create new shapes out of the clothes you’ve got. Got a dress that fits a bit loose? Create some ruching at the waist by pinning the fabric in pleats at the side. The most important thing is to have fun and experiment with what makes both you and your wardrobe light up again.

Heidi Atkins with permission for Varsity

Apart from adding to an outfit with accessories, layering is something that never gets old. If you’re less inclined to add glitz and glamour with jewellery and clips, layering is a practical way to elevate an outfit easily. Try putting a turtleneck under your favourite shirt or wearing a partially buttoned-up cardigan to expose the different textures, patterns, and materials beneath. Coloured or ribbed socks can also add a bit of pazazz when you need that pop of colour to freshen up a look.

“Sometimes we all need that bit of inspiration to get us to love the wardrobe we already have again”

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the importance of shoes. Rather than buying a new pair, try mixing and matching your shoes with different outfits. The ‘wrong shoe theory’ warrants some attention here; try pairing a delicate dress with a pair of chunky boots or wearing a pair of dainty ballet pumps with baggy jeans. If you own a pair of boots, try wearing them as your new go-to shoe of choice – you’d be surprised with how much this can help refresh an outfit if you’re sick of wearing the same pair of trainers every day. But if this isn’t your thing, don’t fret! Have a go at swapping around the laces of your trainers to give them a fresh lease of life. Ribbons can come in handy here, but if you don’t have them then adding any sort of clips onto your laces can be fun too.


Mountain View

The unassuming weight of jewellery

Overcoming the feeling of boredom when your clothes no longer seem new is all about experimentation. Pair different items you wouldn’t expect to go together and see if this can inspire any new outfits. I often feel like my clothes start to feel like a ‘uniform’ where I wear a very similar shade of jeans every day (only I can tell the difference), alongside some sort of knitted jumper, a scarf, and a leather jacket. There’s nothing wrong with having tried-and-tested set outfits that you can easily rely on when you don’t know what to wear, but equally, sometimes we all need that bit of inspiration to get us to love the wardrobe we already have again. Invite a friend over and have some fun creating new outfit combinations together, and see where the power of accessories takes you.

So, when you next find yourself blankly staring at your open wardrobe, feeling as though your clothes are dull and uninspiring, remember that a new look does not need a new set of clothes. It’s important to know your staple pieces and what looks good on you, but supplement this with accessories and have fun with layering and matching (or mismatching!) items together. Breathing new life into clothing doesn’t have to mean making new purchases; it’s all about your willingness to experiment.