A Fresh Take on a New Wardrobe Challenge

Last Updated: June 13, 2024By

A Fresh Take on a New Wardrobe Challenge

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So, back in January, I decided to take on this challenge called the “rule of five.” The idea, which was dreamed up by British fashion editor Tiffanie Darke, is to only buy five new pieces of clothing for the whole year. This came about after a shocking report on how much we overconsume clothes. Sounded easy at first, right? Spoiler: it wasn’t.

Even though I’m all about responsible shopping and often write about it, I still found myself wanting to buy a new dress for a wedding or a coat for Sydney’s unpredictable weather. But I had to be clever in 2024.

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The Wardrobe Dilemma

A few months ago, I realized I needed a snazzy black top that I could wear to work events, parties, and even dates. Something that looked professional under a blazer but still had that wow factor. The challenge encourages you to alter and mend clothes you already own. So, I dug through my closet and found a bunch of pale silk shirts that I rarely wore. I’m a bit clumsy, and pasta and red wine don’t exactly mix well with light-colored clothes.

The Great Dyeing Adventure

One shirt, in particular, was in bad shape with stains and had lost its shine. Silk is tricky like that; it shows stains, especially sweat marks, over time. I also had this old digitally printed silk dress from my early 20s. It was a favorite, but now at 36, it felt too short and sheer. But guess what? With a bit of creativity, I realized I could repurpose it as a top. However, the silk had aged, turning parts of it yellow and brown.

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I’d dyed cotton at home before but silk is a whole different beast. So, I turned to a professional dyeing service in Sydney called Cullachange. They handle custom and batch dyeing. You can visit their store, but I opted for their mail-in service. I filled out a form and sent my garments off with a prepaid satchel.

The Cost of Dyeing

Dyeing isn’t cheap. For a single shirt, it’s $55, and for two to four items, it’s $45 each. My dress-turned-top cost $79. You could buy new clothes for less, but finding high-quality silk pieces at these prices is tough. These pieces were investment buys, originally costing over $400 each. So, spending money to refresh them felt worthwhile, plus I liked supporting a local business.

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The Waiting Game

After sending off my clothes, Cullachange contacted me several times to discuss the dyeing process. Different fabrics react differently to dyes, and they wanted to manage my expectations. They even offer a free redyeing service if needed. The dress was over 10 years old, so I wasn’t too worried about it, but they warned that silk can become fragile with age. For the shirt, they explained that its stitching, likely polyester, wouldn’t take the dye as well, so the finished product would have contrasting white stitching.

The Final Product

After about a month, I got my dyed clothes back. The dress turned out a rich, solid black, and the shirt had a cool white contrast stitching. Both pieces felt slightly smaller, probably due to the dyeing process, but the texture of the silk remained unchanged.

I wore the black shirt immediately with a black skirt suit. That afternoon, I had a photoshoot and then dinner. The black silk worked perfectly for both events.

Both pieces felt practically brand new. It’s almost like I found a loophole in the “rule of five” challenge!

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