Recently I found myself standing in front of my closet, unable to get dressed, actually uttering the clichéd words “I have nothing to wear.” False. I definitely have something to wear. Many things to wear. My closet is full of clothes, my dresser drawers are bulging. “I have nothing to wear” is simply a cop out. What I meant is “I don’t feel inspired by my wardrobe.” Uninspired and too lazy to sort through it and find some new direction.
Designer and environmentalist Lanni Lantto believes the idea of dressing beautifully to express yourself can be in harmony with the concept of decreasing your consumerism and environmental impact. Lanni started her line (re) with the goal of creating original, unique pieces of fashion from pre-existing materials. She says “By using pre-existing materials and creatively salvaged fabrics, I breathe new life into fashion otherwise destined for the landfill. After all, the most eco-friendly fabrics are those that already exist.” This statement struck me because even in those moments where I truly feel like I can’t pull an outfit together, there are aspects of certain items that I really do love. I don’t always want to spend my money on new clothes but I can’t figure out how to make the clothes I own work for me.
Eco-consultation is one of the services offered by (re). Available to her clients all over the world via Skype, Lanni works as a personal stylist who can reimagine your wardrobe in an eco-friendly way. She uses three main categories to help decide which clothes need to be 1) donated/resold through consignment, 2) what will be kept, and 3) what can be redesigned.
When Lanni came over to help me with my closet situation, she spent the first few minutes talking with me about my lifestyle and aesthetic preferences. She was probably also getting a feel for how difficult it would be to get me to part with items that I didn’t need anymore. Was I going to be a free spirit ready to purge excess baggage? Or a borderline hoarder who ascribes sentimental value to each pair of underwear I own? Spoiler alert: I’m a natural at purging and have tendencies to over-sentimentalize things. So how did it go?
I think Lanni and I were both surprised at my willingness to let go of clothes that weren’t working for me anymore. I have a lot of clothes that I still love in theory but haven’t worn since the early 2000’s. I also have clothes that I don’t love but that I never got rid of simply because they were of good quality or had been expensive. I do try to do an annual assessment of my wardrobe to get rid of items that aren’t worn, but when doing this task on my own I always find excuses to keep more things than I need.
With Lanni guiding me, I was forced to be a bit more honest. She asked gentle but blunt questions about pieces that I wavered on. “When was the last time you wore this? When was the last time before that? Do you feel this flatters you? Do you have another piece that serves a similar purpose in your wardrobe that you like bettr?” In the end, I had three garbage bags worth of clothes to donate to charity. This was much more than I had ever been able to part with in one session before. Besides being accountable to Lanni about the reality of my wardrobe, I also felt more relaxed about donating things because I knew Lanni would be helping me re-work what I currently had in the closet.
There were two pieces in particular that I felt resisant to donating simply because they were expensive and hardly worn. A J.Crew bridesmaids dress and a long GAP peacoat were both set aside to be consigned, in hopes that a profit from those items would give me a little money to buy items that might fill in the gaps of my now smaller wardrobe.
When deciding what to get rid of, Lanni made me feel extremely comfortable about how much she was “letting” me keep by explaining that I could have different categories within my overall wardrobe. She advises clients to have a base wardrobe that is combined with a summer and winter wardrobe during the appropriate season. She also allowed me to have a pile for professional clothes and yoga/exercise clothes. I had no excuse to cling to things unnecessarily because the “rules” for keeping clothes were so reasonable.
When we were finished taking out the clothes that would be donated, Lanni helped me organize my closet so that when getting dressed I would be able to easily access the type of piece of I was looking for. Cardigans/cover-ups together, underlayers together, dresses together, etc. This seems so logical, but before that day my closet literally had no rhyme or reason.
The most exciting part of an eco-consulation with Lanni is the chance to get her help in reinventing pieces of your collection of clothes that you love too much to part with but don’t use as they are.
Lanni focused two dresses that I love, one for comfort and one for fanciness, but rarely wear. She took a shirt and a skirt from my ‘donate’ pile and showed me how some elements from those pieces could be combined with the dresses to create new looks.
A comfy gray jersey dress that I found a little too plain to wear regularly was transformed with the flowers from an old skirt into a funky, fun piece. My fussy, metallic dress (the time of strapless is over for me, I think) became more wearable and softer when the lace details from a long forgotten top were dyed to match and then used to create straps.
Under the “re-design” header Lanni also designates the subcategories of “self-mend” and “have tailored.” A beloved tunic with a tear and a favorite dress with loose straps were both easy fixes after Lanni gave me a basic tutorial on how to sew them myself. A comfortable sweater dress with a pattern that I adore was rarely worn because I found it a little too boxy. The look will be much more flattering after my tailor adds a few back darts.
The concept behind (re) and Lanni’s eco-consultation service combines the natural desire to express oneself through personal style with the responsibility we have to consider the way our lifestyle impacts our environment. This service can be provided to fashionistas all over the globe who already possess good taste and most of their wardrobe basics but need a fresh perspective to expand their options.
Want to win a FREE eco-consultation with Lanni? This package is valued at $120 and will give one YouFrillMe reader the chance to reinvent their wardrobe in an eco-friendly and budget conscious way! To enter you comment on this blog, and ‘like’ (re) and YouFrillMe on facebook.
–Lane from The Traveling Circus