How to style vintage looks from your own closet


Jalyn Anderson, owner of The Red Eye vintage clothing store, shares how you can style fresh looks from your own closet without spending a dime.

MINNEAPOLIS — If you enjoy putting together new styles and outfits, shopping for clothing can be addictive and costly. But Jalyn Anderson, a personal stylist out of Minneapolis, says it doesn’t have to be–especially if you’re willing to think outside the box.

Anderson is the owner of The Red Eye vintage clothing, and one-half of the duo Rose and Bull, a creative team that promotes sustainability through fashion. Not only does sustainable fashion help your wallet, it helps the environment. The EPA estimates 11.3 tons of textiles ended up in the landfill in 2018–most of it was clothing.

“There is so much waste that fashion corporations are accumulating right now, and the landfills are getting out of hand,” Anderson said.

At the 2022 Twin Cities Vintage Fest, Eva Andersen caught up with Anderson who shared a few tips to be more sustainable:

Hire a personal stylist or ask a friend to take a look at your closet.

Anderson says a second set of eyes can go a long way.

“We look at our closets one way, one viewpoint, but someone else can really think of a combination you never thought of before,” she said. “Maybe they would even be like oh, actually I have a blouse that would look amazing with this skirt.”

If you’re similar sizes with your friend, consider a clothing swap. That way you can try new looks without shelling out cash, and if it’s hard to part ways with something in your closet, it might be easier knowing someone you care about is using it.

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Extend the life of an item through tailoring

Anderson says a little sewing can go a long way–whether you’re trying to alter something that is a little too big now, mending it, or using the material to create a new item altogether.

“Tailoring is a great option for a lot of people,” she said. “Yes, you are investing a little bit of money, but you’re fixing those pieces that like you said you’re going to use again.”

Pay attention to durable fabrics

When you’re picking and choosing which clothes make the donation pile and which will ultimately stick around, pay close attention to the material.

“I really take a lot of time in looking in the fiber and the content of these items. Rayon, silk, cotton – those items are really more durable unless they get wet of course,” Anderson said. “[Also] wool as well and leather and suede, those are going to be the most durable when you’re really trying to elongate the life of those items.”

She says fabrics that are acrylic and polyester may not last.

“Those two are really the fibers that are going to shrink in the wash really easily…it’s going to be harder to get stains out of them.” 

Before tossing an item, consider its potential value

“The fashion cycle used to be about 20 years but now I think that gap is closing. We’re seeing things resurge after ten years, five years,” Anderson said.

If you’ve got your hands on a fashion statement that isn’t exactly in fashion anymore, Anderson says just remember that it may come back around. That doesn’t mean you need to hold onto everything, but if you have a little extra closet space, she says it’s not a bad idea to hold onto an “iconic” piece.

“I think a good example that I have is the moon boot,” she said. “I already heard people say I donated those to Goodwill 30 years ago, I wish I would’ve kept them. The way really to spot it is when it’s an iconic piece, that’s when I think you need to hold on to that piece. It’s going to come back.”

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