I used to be the kind of person who would visit the mall at least once a week, and if I wasn’t inside the mall I was browsing the shops online. I religiously followed beauty bloggers waiting for them to tell me what the next fashion trend was so that I could buy it. The issue was my closet was filling up with so many random pieces and accessories that I could only wear on certain occasions, or that I never actually wore. I was wasting time and money, and was still just re-wearing the same things I have owned forever. Then something happened, I watched a documentary called “The True Cost” and I had my eureka moment. I decided right then and there that I would no longer be a consumer of the fast fashion industry, and that I was going to go cold turkey on my shopping addiction. Honestly it hasn’t been easy, there’s been so many times I have found myself on the Aritzia website filling up my cart with sale items, but instead of clicking “buy” I close the tab and remember why I chose to stop supporting the industry in the first place. The thing that has made the process a lot easier is going thrift shopping.
I genuinely believe that one of the best feelings is when someone compliments me on my clothing and asks me where I got it, and I get to tell them that I bought it secondhand. This piece is unique to me and my wardrobe, and feels much more rewarding to wear than a mass produced one that thousands of other people have. I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error with thrifting, but the more I do it the better I have gotten and I am here to give you tips in order to build your secondhand wardrobe. Of course I still have my old clothes, I wear my jeans from Topshop that I have had for three years almost everyday. With sustainability we need to remember that discarding is extremely wasteful, therefore I am not going to beat myself up for having all of these things from the fast fashion industry, rather I am just going to be much more conscious with my purchases from now on.
Thrifting is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to find. One day you’re going to go and find ten things that you love, and a week later you’ll go back and not be able to find anything. My first tip for thrifting is try not and have anything specific in mind. If you really want a black turtleneck and that’s all you’re looking for, you’re going to miss a lot of other good stuff and you’re going to feel defeated if you don’t find that exact piece. The best part about thrifting is that you have no idea what you’re going to find each time you go and when you do find something it’ll always feel like a win.
Secondhand shopping is extremely time consuming. I like to give myself loads of time to go through every rack, and I mean every rack. Although stores are usually somewhat organized, there is still some overlapping categories. If I want a sweater I’ll look through cardigans, long sleeves, activewear, and sweaters in both the men and women’s sections making sure I’m optimizing what I can find. I like to just go rack by rack in every section, and I look at every single hanging piece to make sure I don’t miss anything.
Do not let labels fool you. Again, the store is organized by categories and then sizes but do not limit yourself. Thrift shops have clothing from literally everywhere, so there is not really a concrete sizing system. And on that note, make sure you try absolutely everything on. You might usually be a small and the label might say small but that does not necessarily mean it’ll fit you. Nothing is worse than going home and trying something on just to have it not fit. It is also much easier to see imperfections such as holes or stains when you’re wearing something.
My last tip for shopping secondhand is to practice self control. Like I said theres going to be days where you go in and you’re going to find ten amazing pieces and you’re going to want to bring it all home. Remember that we’re trying to be a little more minimal and reduce our carbon footprint if we can. Think about what you already have at home, and if you really need it or just want it because it feels like a great find. When I was buying into trends I would buy things that could only be worn for specific events, or something that didn’t really go with the rest of my wardrobe so I had trouble styling it. Now I opt for minimal pieces that I can easily dress up or down and that I get exited about wearing.