I’ve been shopping second hand for a little over a year or so now and I have to say I’m a complete convert and I really enjoy taking myself around my local charity shops and rifling through the racks to see if I can find any hidden gems.
If you’ve read my previous posts about how my camel coat made me more fashionable and 6 ways to create an Eco-friendly wardrobe you’ll know that I’m into making the most of my wardrobe and adding in pieces which will last and that I pick up second hand – thereby reducing my impact on the environment.
I still shop on the high street – mainly Primark, Next, TK Maxx – and online of course as well!
Although I now always tend to search Depop first if I see an item being shared on Instagram by someone I follow.
This is my preferred way to shop nowadays as 1) it’s lazy and perfectly suits my in built horizontal tendencies and 2) I can feel smug about finding the ‘in’ fashion item second hand and at a lower cost!
Starting Out Second Hand Shopping
I haven’t always been a charity/thrift shopper, I was the very definition of the fast fashion shopper and would immediately head to the whichever website the latest fashion item was from. I would think charity shops were for older people and those who needed to shop there.
I guess I really started to see thrift/charity shopping differently over the last few years and especially moreso during the pandemic when we couldn’t shop how we normally did.
I was also seeing a lot of my favourite influencers merit the wonders of thrift/second hand shopping.
This also coincided with seeing more influencers talk about how bad fast fashion is for the planet and how many clothes get thrown away into landfills every year – it’s frightening and it's something we all need to be more aware of if we’re to help save the planet and stop polluting it.
My sister also encouraged/influenced me to start shopping more in the charity shops, as this was something she would also do whenever she came up to visit.
Having someone to go with definitely helps if you’re feeling a bit nervous about visiting the charity shops for the first time!
The Thrill Of Finding A Bargain
Whenever you’re out shopping, the thrill of finding that one item in your size at a great price never leaves you and when you wear said item, you are always ready to gush about just how little it cost you!
The same can be said of second hand shopping, perhaps even more so because you bought it from a charity shop or an online thrifting marketplace!
I know I always feel doubly smug when I’ve managed to grab an item after seeing it on a fast fashion website or via Instagram stories but at half the price!
I’ve found that whilst wearing a thrifted outfit I have a ‘secret smile’ because I know how little I paid for it!
This goes up whenever I get compliments on it for similar reasons – it perks me up a little bit, especially if I’m having a bad day.
Plus of course, I’m doing my bit for the environment by continuing to keep my wardrobe circular and do my bit for the planet too.
Keeping My Wardrobe Eco-Friendly
If you’ve read my post of the same title then you’ll already know how I do this, but if not I’ll reference it here as well.
It’s basically about doing your bit for the planet and keeping your wardrobe as circular as possible.
Shopping second hand
Donating to charity shops
Making do and mend
Using wooden hangers
Wearing your wardrobe
Swapping with friends
These are pretty obvious but it’s always good to remind yourself every now and again – this is even more relevant now when it seems every Instagrammer and Tik Tok-er is trying to sell you fast fashion every week!
This is incredibly harmful to the environment and can lead to clothes ending up in landfill – it is estimated that £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year, with the value of unused clothing in wardrobes estimated to be up to £30 million.
It feels right here that I also talk a bit about green-washing and how brands can jump on this trend to sell yet more clothing...
“Green-washing is a form of marketing spin in which green PR and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organisation’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.”
The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network recently analysed 500 websites and found that up to 40% of environmentally friendly claims might be misleading customers.
Green-washing might look like:
A fashion brand promoting clothes that are made of a ‘sustainable’ fabric even if the rest of their clothing line is damaging to the environment.
Ingredients in a product being described as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ when only some of the ingredients can be described as such.
Offering to offset their products without committing to any big changes immediately.
Packaging that is coloured green or which is decorated with flowers and plants may make it look less harmful than it is.
Having an eco-friendly version of their product but not making their products eco-friendly at all.
So you can see just how damaging green-washing can be and how easy it can be to be fooled into believing a particular clothing item is actually better for the environment than it actually is.
Learning To Be Better
Whilst it’s easy to sit here and say I’m holier than thou because I shop second hand in charity shops, on Depop/Vinted and make the most of my wardrobe, I still do shop on the high street in places such as Primark, H+M, TK Maxx etc which aren’t the best places I admit.
But I’m trying, that’s all we can do. Learn from our mistakes, do better and all try to do our bit for the planet and environment.
There’s a saying that says something like:
‘it’s better to have 100 people doing 1 small thing everyday, than 1 person doing 100 things right everyday.’
Thankfully we’re becoming more and more aware of just how bad the fashion industry is and how we can do better.
This shouldn’t stop us from enjoying shopping and getting that thrill of finding a bargain though, but we should always keep in mind the overall effect on the environment.