BECOMING A THRIFT SHOPPER IN THE AGE OF FAST FASHION
If you've been reading my blogging the past few months you may have noticed (cue sarcasm) that I've been attempting minimalism. Of course, everyone's version of this philosophy is different and I'm not exempt from being considered a "rule breaker" compared to hard core minimalists. But as I've discussed in past posts, it's more about the value placed on items rather than the amount of them. So, naturally, I've noticed my possessions dwindle because I realized that not many things deserved as much value as I would put on them. The most noticeable has been my wardrobe.
I've done my best to clear out items that I don't wear enough or even like from my closet and dresser (as explained in this post), but what I never took a hard look at was where I was getting these clothes. As a consumer it's easy to take most retail stores at face value and pop into the cheapest ones when you need a new outfit for work or going out. However, the literature on fast fashion and its effects on our planet is out there for any of us to read and it's not always pleasant. The main appeal with fast fashion as that it is as it claims; fast. You can run into a store and buy a 5 dollar shirt that can be discarded after a few wears because it's not made with the best quality. This serves the ever changing fashion "seasons"; getting rid of the not-so-old to make room for the new.
This acknowledgement has left me fairly ambivalent when it comes to shopping. On the one hand, I enjoy putting together an outfit that somewhat fits in with trends, but on the other it's taxing on my bank account and my soul to always be buying new items to achieve this. It's when I decided to start thrift shopping that my perspective on fashion and consumption changed. I could no longer pop into a popular store and buy a look, but rather had to dig for my aesthetic amongst piles of clothes whose owners no longer wanted them. My style could no longer be hung up nicely in the 'New Arrivals' section, but instead cultivated by what I genuinely gravitated toward and happened to fit my body nicely.
I can't say it's been easy limiting myself to underground thrift stores, but this experience (despite how short) has taught me a lot about my personal style. It's easy to pull a dress or shirt off the rack and know it will look nice on me because of the style and size, but not as easy to take a chance on a pair of men's jeans that may or may not suit me but have a certain something I find interesting. While my mom still turns her nose up at the thought, knowing that the used items I'm buying aren't going to waste makes me feel like I'm contributing in some (albeit small) way to my planet.
I'd love to know your experiences with thrift shopping. Have you done it? Do you plan on doing it? And how has it worked out?