Earlier this month I decided that I wasn’t going to bother with resolutions this year but instead I was going to set myself a challenge to only buy vintage and second hand clothing for a full year.
The decision was inspired partly by articles like this one by the World Bank that highlight the impact the fashion industry has on the environment world wide. It also builds on other choices I have made to try to reduce my carbon footprint by buying second hands goods as often as I can.
So as this is the second post in this challenge I thought I might start by sharing a few tips which I have learned along the way that make it easier to find the items that I am looking for.
Avoid stores run by religious organisations. If this doesn’t bother you then skip ahead but if it does then look for local charity shops or second hand dealers who directly support the community. Some religious charities funnel donations in to funding missionary work and some like the Salvation Army are homophobic or support anti LGBTQI initiatives. Personally I don’t want a single cent going to these causes so I generally look for stores that support the Red Cross, Amnesty or similar organisations.
Anticipate what you will need and shop regularly to pick up great buys rather than trying to find what you need when you need it. Because vintage and second hand stores don’t carry a “range” and sizing can be difficult I make a habit of constantly dropping in on my way home to see what’s new. Make your clothing purchases less about impulse buying and do less of the “OMG that’s super cute I need it right now”.
Vintage stores are different to charity stores and can be often over priced, use them when you are looking for something particular that you need or for key quality items to add to your wardrobe. It’s about living sustainably rather than cheaply, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a second hand suit.
Try to figure out when the stores put out new stock. Lots of people like the challenge of finding a good bargain or a rare vintage item. Work out when the new stuff goes on to the shop floor and drop in.
Lastly, re-purpose old clothing, T-shirts and Jeans make great Tanks and shorts with a little bit of creative vision. Most of my crop tops and shorts began life and t-shirts and jeans. Remember it’s about living sustainably.