Look, I’m not going to lie and say that I love shopping second hand.
I’m never sure if the clothes are clean after I wash them and who knows who wore them and where they were. But I am an environmentalist and I want to be more conscious of what I purchase as a consumer.
I also like knowing that fewer people were exploited making my clothes because at least half of them are second hand. It’s good to know I am making kinder choices, you know.
That’s why I don’t lie and pretend I am crazy about old clothes when the smell and feel of new ones is just so damn good. If we are going to change the fashion industry, let’s at least be honest about how we feel.
Am I spoiled? Not really as my mother got clothes for us through Caritas and her friends who gave away old pants and shoes. So it’s not really a surprise that as a grown-ass woman I still feel like a poor child when I walk past H&M and get my sweaters from a thrift shop.
Loving mama Earth and wanting human slavery to be abolished is more important than my feelings, though.
If you can relate to my story even a little bit, then you will find these next few tips helpful and valuable. I truly care about inspiring more people to become environmentalists and sometimes we have to make sacrifices and change the way we see clothes.
Here are my tips on how to make shopping second hand more enjoyable:
- Take someone with you.
I love taking my sisters with me as we talk about the items we like and what suits us. That way you have someone who can help you look around the store and find what you’re looking for more quickly, plus you are having fun trying on clothes and modelling for each other.
- Have a list of items you want to find.
I always know that my preferred shirts are a bit bigger, black and plain. From the minute I walk into the store, I am immediately searching for my ideal piece of clothing.
My eyes know what colors to detect and I avoid spending hours going through hundreds of different pieces in hopes of finding something I might wear one time. When I invest in something, I wear it until it looks like it was created by Kanye.
- Be well rested and have free hands.
This is crucial, people.
Do you know how often I go shopping second hand with three bags on my shoulders? Carrying plant-based patties and a carefully wrapped chocolate cake makes searching for pants difficult.
Take a day off just for going to the store, or buy clothes first and then everything else. Trust me, having free hands will make the whole experience much more enjoyable.
Now you can go and get a few new shirts that no one else has.
That’s what I love the most. I have a few sweaters that I know for a fact no one else has and I feel so fancy wearing them, knowing that I don’t look like 60% of other women who wear the same old Zara clothes.
Oh no, is that my not like other girls moment? That is hilarious.
Anyway, the point is that we don’t have to love every aspect of environmentalism. It doesn’t make us selfish, bad or privileged. It means we are human.
It’s easy pointing fingers at people and talking about their race and what they have or don’t have, but it takes having a spine admitting that you are struggling with something. Not because we are something special, but because that’s who we are.
Flawed Homo sapiens.