I mainly shop second hand – and avoid fast-fashion (inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends) as much as I can. Most people don’t think about who makes your clothing, which unfortunately is usually an underpaid or forced worker. Most people don’t think about the impact of the fibers or where their clothes end up after they dispose of them, which is usually piling up in landfills or polluting the oceans (most of them non-biodegradable, plastics like polyester, spandex, etc). The intent of this post isn’t to blame or instill guilt, but to make you more informed and aware of the impact of your clothing. Unfortunately, synthetic clothing is affordable clothing – and it’s a privilege to be able to have a choice.
I still think there’s still room for most people to have a more sustainable wardrobe.
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Buy less, and choose mindfully. It’s not about not buying new, but more about purchasing versatile and timeless pieces. Before you buy an item, ask yourself – will I wear this at least 30 times? I really don’t think that’s too much to ask. This can allow you to be more creative with your styling instead of just following the latest trends. Silk blouses will never go out of style to me.
2. Take better care of the clothes that you already have. Take the time to read the care instructions stitched into the inner seam for your garments and follow them.
3. Buy second hand to recycle what’s already out there. Never underestimate the power of a great local tailor who can do custom alterations and repairs to quality vintage pieces you purchase that don’t fit quite perfectly. Most of the clothes I own are vintage/pre-owned and I personally feel like this is the best and most realistic way I can make a difference. You can also find these items for 1/4 of the original price.
Together, small changes can really make a difference. If you have any recommendations for online vintage shops to support or other suggestions, please drop them in comments.