We live in a world where trends could change overnight. One of the perfect examples of it is the fashion industry. Fashion comes and goes in a seasonal time, and society worldwide is triggered to keep up to it. So, what’s the problem?
Fashion is one of the highest polluting industries. How so? Well, one wash of a synthetic-fibre item of clothing and lead to it shedding hundreds of thousands of microplastic filaments into the water system. This leads to some of them will end up in the sewage system and impacting the environment. And, we all know just how bad the threat plastic waste imposes to our Mother Earth.
“Globally, 20% of textiles are recycled, meaning the other 80% are lost to landfill or incineration.”
— Alden Wicker, Fashion Revolution
What’s the solution then? Well, we need to acknowledge and opt to a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. When it comes to this matter of fashion, we can score items for our wardrobe by secondhand shopping.
A Guide to Secondhand Shopping
Secondhand shopping is a catchall term for buying things which are secondhand, pre-loved, or which aren’t new from a supply chain. It’s a more sustainable way of shopping for items in a way that reduces your personal impact on the environment when you get new things.
Environmental concern aside, secondhand shopping also offers other benefits, such as: budget-Friendly, repurpose items for a new life, and reinventing clothing in our own way. Now, when shopping for secondhand, here are a few tips that can help us:
Identify gaps in your wardrobe
The first step is seeing what you could use in your wardrobe. Walking in blindly will only overwhelm you and potentially cause you to buy items that you don’t need.
Make a list
What are you looking for? What are your typical buying traps? Make a physical paper list, or list on your phone of items you need and items to avoid so you don’t forget.
Establish your budget
How much are you willing to spend the day you go shopping? If it’s an item you really need in your wardrobe, what’s the max amount you’d drop on it? Are you selling items and only going to buy clothes out of what you sell? Staying within a budget will help you avoid hasty purchases.
Prioritise the store
Walking in and seeing racks on racks on racks of clothing can feel overwhelming. First, go to the sections of priority that is on your list, and look through ALL the options in that section. If the store is laid out by colours, stick with the colours you know and love. But ultimately you will score the best items if you give yourself enough time to pick through everything.
Don’t be afraid to walk around the store multiple times
Do a few laps around the store, take a second look at something you might have missed. Also, don’t feel like you have to scan the whole store before trying on. Try on what you have, eliminate what doesn’t work, have them hold the potential purchases behind the counter and return to the rack to continue where you left off.
Determining what’s worth buying
You may end up with lots of great options but need to stick to your budget, or don’t want to overbuy. Here are a few tips on helping you decide what to actually purchase.
- If you’re on the fence about something, only buy what you love or put it on hold, leave the store, and if you want it badly a few hours or a day later, go back and get it.
- Check the material and care instructions, only buy what is easy to maintain.
- Ask yourself: Does this piece work with 2 other pieces in your closet? Can you build a few outfits or envision a few situations in which you would wear this piece?
- Buy things that fit now, not later. “Goal” pieces end up being clothing that you never wear, buy something you will love right now.
- If you look your “worst” while trying clothes on (anyone else shops in their gym clothes with unwashed hair and no makeup on?) and feel great in something, it’s a keeper.
Remember, secondhand shopping takes time, dedication and patience. But no matter what, don’t be afraid to walk out empty-handed. Just because you’re prepared, doesn’t mean you have to leave with something. One thing that you’ll wear a million times or nothing, is better than five things that you wasted money on and will never wear again.