In our culture, shopping has become a pastime. Not something you do in order to get something you need. For a lot of people, shopping is entertainment. A destination for socialization and fun.
That’s what makes it hard for some people to consider getting things used. It’s simply not a part of their lifestyle. Especially when it comes to clothes.
That’s such a shame. Because getting used clothing is one of the easiest ways to interrupt the waste stream. Not only are you not buying something new that contributes to it. You’re also salvaging what could have been headed toward landfill. It’s kind of a no-brainer.
But the problem is that people think they won’t be able to find the latest styles. Or that secondhand stores smell bad. Or that it’s gross to buy things like bathing suits or socks.
I’m here to say that’s just not true. I thought I’d do a little photo fashion show of some of the kids’ clothes we’ve gotten secondhand — which is how we get almost all of our clothes these days. I say almost, due to a few gifts from family.
Of course, my favorite source for secondhand is hand-me-downs. First of all, they’re free. Second of all, they’re especially awesome when you have stylish friends. My friend, Pam, recently endowed us with a giant treasure trove of fabulous fashion. Some of it still had tags on it. Everyone oughta have a friend like Pam, with kids just a little older and bigger than their own.
I also love this local secondhand boutique in our new town that sells some gorgeous, barely used clothing for a few bucks. This store will change what you think about secondhand. They do great merchandising and window displays, just like a new clothing store. And it always smells great in there. I asked, and they said they have a diffuser that changes scent every month. Brilliant.
Of course, whenever we get some “new” clothes, we cycle out of our old clothes. We try to keep outfits down to about 10 each — enough for the week, plus a few dress pieces, and some wiggle room. Keeping minimalist wardrobes helps keep things simple and fitting into our small space.
What do we do with our clothes then? We can take them back to the consignment store and get store credit for when we need some more. Pending a major growth spurt, that won’t be again for a while. Thanks, Pam.
If they don’t make the cut at the picky consignment store, they go to Goodwill. And if they’re not good enough for Goodwill (which is usually true of Giovanni’s put-through-the-wringer wardrobe), they get cut into rags. Then, if we’re really good about choosing natural materials like cotton, they can then be ultimately be tossed in the compost.
Less garbage. How’s that for a fashion trend?