A reflection on sourcing all my new clothes secondhand in 2023

Those looking for fun but unspecific clothing items should try thrifiting. (Photo courtesy of Elise Deschamps)
Those looking for fun but unspecific clothing items should try thrifiting. (Photo courtesy of Elise Deschamps)

This year, I’ve managed to get all of my new clothing from second-hand sources. I had this goal in mind because of my desire to be more sustainable and economical and create a more meaningful and unique wardrobe. 

Unfortunately, overconsumption and fast fashion are both issues that stem from the current habits of consumers in the clothing industry. In an article by  BBC, Esme Stallard wrote, “The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of global emissions, according to the UN.” 

Most of the impact of fast fashion stems from the overuse of raw materials and water in the process of making clothing.

Buying clothing secondhand is not always the perfect solution; however, not giving direct profits to the fast-fashion industry makes a difference. And reusing clothes that would have otherwise been thrown away helps to reduce waste. Purchasing clothing secondhand also helps an individual save money. As a student, this makes a huge difference for me with my limited budget. 

Second-hand clothing has become my preferred option, and I don’t ever see myself going back to shopping any other way. Although sustainably building up a wardrobe I love has been a challenging process, I’ve been very happy with my style. I personally prefer more vintage-style clothing, so thrift stores and markets are a great way for me to find pieces I love. 

I’ve been able to get all my clothing from second-hand sources by a variety of avenues, including thrift stores, vintage markets, online fashion marketplaces, clothing pop-ups (my favorite is 423 Night), yard sales, hand-me-downs and reseller social media pages.

My advice for those who are getting into second-hand shopping is that if you are looking for a specific item or brand, I’d suggest looking up the item on online marketplaces. Here you will likely find the items you’re looking for that are used. They’re usually in good condition and available for a good price. Depop and Poshmark are online marketplaces that I like. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for fun but unspecific items, such as t-shirts, jeans or jackets, then I’d suggest going thrifting or to various second-hand sales, because then you can find unique items.

Allison Grundy explores a rack of second-hand clothing, an activity she regularly enjoys. (Photo courtesy of source)

This past year, I’ve probably still bought more clothing than I need. And even with a more mindful approach, at times I still find myself tempted by over-consumption and an unfortunate creeping feeling of discontentment with the clothing I have. The most effective way to accomplish a goal to be more sustainable and economical with clothing is to buy less, which is something I also try to be conscious of. 

Additionally, I’ve been trying to branch out and buy other items from second-hand sources when possible. I suspect that as I graduate and look for items for my future home, second-hand shopping will make an even more prominent difference in my life, especially financially. The non-clothing items I’ve attained secondhand are now cherished items of mine because of their uniqueness. 

There’s something so beautiful about giving new life to an item that may have been thrown away. Because of the value it brings to my life, sourcing all my clothes secondhand will be a goal I have in mind for years to come. 

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