For shoppers who want access to unique pieces while creating a smaller landfill impact, thrifting is the obvious way to go.
It took me a while to warm up to shopping secondhand. As I grew up and started learning about fast fashion, thrifting became more appealing.
Saving waste isn't the only thing I look forward to when I go thrifting. The experience can be a lot of fun. There are even some strategies I picked up to guarantee a successful, sustainable thrifting trip.
More #SecondHandSeptember mythbusters from @theORispresent ↓— Fashion Revolution (@Fash_Rev) September 20, 2021
Recycling is not a silver bullet solution that offsets overproduction, and we can't tackle fashion’s waste crisis if the majority of people working in fashion are indebted to the very system that is exploiting them. pic.twitter.com/Pml0QfwKaA
Why Thrifting Is Better Than Fast Fashion
I went thrifting with my mom and sister recently.
I’ve been trying to cut back on unnecessary spending. I only want to buy things I know I'm going to love and wear all the time.
Thrifting is great for this. It's not only one of the most ethical ways to shop, but it's also a good way to add newness to the core items in my capsule wardrobe.
According to the Thrift World blog, secondhand shopping reduces textile waste by recycling clothes that would have otherwise been discarded and added to our landfills.
It also keeps oceans clean by keeping indissoluble fabrics out of the ocean.
By decreasing the demand for new clothing, thrifting also conserves water.
The fashion industry is a massive source of carbon emissions. Curbing the production of new clothing helps to reduce pollution.
Fast fashion, which is the rapid mass-production of new trends, pushing large amounts of clothing into landfills, is also guilty of highly unethical practices like child labor, unfair wages, and extremely unsafe working conditions for those who produce the clothing.
Thrifting can reduce demand which means there will gradually be less support for these terrible practices.
The More We Thrift, The Better, Right?
While thrifting is a better alternative to shopping at Forever 21 or Zara, overconsumption, secondhand or not, increases energy usage, which is detrimental to the environment.
No matter how we choose to buy, the best option for our planet and the people on it is to purchase items that we intend to use for as long as we can stretch them.
Slow Fashion Is The Solution
I adore staple pieces like my Oliver Charles sweater. It’s a piece created with the long-term in mind.
Because of the low price and easy access, we often purchase thrifted pieces impulsively...
"Oh well, it was only five dollars," we might think to ourselves.
Unfortunately, this mindset lends itself to overconsumption which defeats the purpose of thrifting.
During my recent thrifting trip, I decided to do things a little differently by planning ahead...
How Do I Plan a Thrifting Trip?
My first piece of advice for a fruitful, sustainable, and ethical thrifting trip is to make a plan. You can write everything down or make a mental note of what you’re looking for.
Before I decide on what I'm aiming to find during my shopping trip, I took a look at what I already have in my capsule wardrobe.
Only a brief look told me that I didn’t need to buy much. I noticed I was missing some outter-layering pieces that would see me through the cooler summer nights.
I wanted a denim jacket, an oversized blazer, and a miscellaneous accessory like a hat or a scarf since I could use more neutral options in that department.
Having this plan in mind made my trip feel much more purposeful and less overwhelming - which thrift stores can be. It was a great place to start.
How To Find Your Personal Uniform
I thought about what I love wearing most during the summer - not what’s in style or even what I like seeing on other people.
Though seeking inspiration from others can be helpful, only you know what you’re most comfortable with.
Once you’ve found that magical combination of clothing that makes you feel confident and comfortable every time, don’t be ashamed to admit that’s all you ever wear. You’ve found your personal uniform.
I impressed myself when I actually stuck to the original plan. I only bought one denim jacket, one oversized blazer, and a 100% wool scarf.
All three items are versatile, high-quality, and fit my autumn style perfectly.
As usual, my Oliver Charles sweater works with everything I own and continues to be a staple in my personal uniform.
The Most Sustainable Way To Clothes Shop
Next time you're looking to fill the gaps in your capsule wardrobe, order a high-quality staple or visit your local thrift store. No matter what, challenge yourself to buy as consciously as possible by making a plan.
What do I really need? What can a few quality pieces replace?
These are great questions to keep in mind. The more often you answer these questions when shopping, the more you'll buy only what you love.