Secondhand Shopping: Fun, Sustainable & Stylish

I have always loved shopping. Going into the store and looking at all the brand-new beautiful clothes, jewelry and shoes. During university I would rather spend my money on clothing than buy food! I swear I would live on sweetcorn, tin tuna and bread for a week.

Honestly, I was never the stylish girl or the IT girl, I never really had a style or knew what I liked when it came to clothing. I just loved buying new clothes. I would enter a store and blindly pick up items I liked with no consideration if the quality was good, if I would wear the item more than once, if the items would go with anything else in my wardrobe. As you can imagine my wardrobe was a mess. I had lots of clothes, but nothing really went together, most of my clothes were “going out outfits” so casual clothing was minimal. I repeated this process for all my twenties.

Spending lots of money on clothing, wearing items once or twice and donating them months later as the quality, shape, fit, color, style had either gone out of fashion, didn’t go with anything in my wardrobe or didn’t look right on me in the first place.

Thankfully things began to change in my later twenties and early thirties. I think because I was a little older I was beginning to find my style. I started to realize what clothing I liked to wear, jeans, soft sweaters, silk shirts, cotton t-shirts, cozy cardigans, simple sneakers, stylish yet comfortable shoes, minimal jewelry. My style was morphing into a very simple and classic look.

This was the time I started looking into the capsule wardrobe idea. Basically, it is a system of having clothes in your wardrobe that you LOVE, you can wear all year round and have some seasonal items to add in to spice things up. I love simplicity and eliminating unnecessary time spent on making decisions like, “what should I wear this morning?”. With a simple classic wardrobe its such a breeze to decide what to wear. Everything fits, everything is comfortable and of high quality. These are the characteristics I now look for in my clothing.

Spending money on high quality clothing is money well spent in my opinion. We have spent hundreds even thousands of dollars on clothing items. These items include leather shoes & boots, leather sneakers, leather jackets and winter coats. All these items have lasted us years and are still in mint condition. Buying high quality clothing and spending large sums of money on items was our method of avoiding the fast fashion industry.

However, spending hundreds of dollars every month on clothing can get expensive. Therefore, we love to combine purchasing new items with second hand items. Each season I like to review our wardrobe and make a list of any items that need replacing, or we need to buy something that we were missing from our current wardrobe.

We love the idea of sustainable fashion. Saying that the idea of second hand shopping was so foreign to us that it took us a very long time to step into one of the many stores on our street. The stigma behind secondhand shopping and the idea that people may think we cannot afford new clothes took us a long time to get over. However now we are over it!

These days if I need a new item of clothing for my wardrobe I will go into our local secondhand stores (so many in Vancouver with amazing clothing) to see if I can source the items I am looking for. Sometimes I am successful and other times I am not. If I cannot find what I am looking for I do not mind spending money on something new that I really like. I like the combination of the new and old. I know some people may think that only committing half way to sustainable fashion, I’m ok with that. For now, this is where I am most comfortable.

For me the fun of secondhand shopping is finding beautiful quality clothing that I can match with something new from my current wardrobe. The major things I bought this year were cashmere sweaters, silk blouses, 2 dresses, a logo t-shirt and a pair of leather sneakers online from the Vestiaire collective.

I love every single one of the above items and have worm them so much. They are the items I get asked about so much and when I tell people I got them in a secondhand store they are shocked! Most people also admit they like looking in second hand stores and other smile and say “good for you” …not sure what that means but Its positive, so I’ll take it! Lol.

For me taking baby steps into the sustainable fashion area has been super positive so far. The people I meet in the stores and the bloggers I follow are so inspirational. Their fashion sense is amazing, and nothing is done in excess. Hopefully this is the route we are going down too. Personal style should be fun, unique, and comfortable. Sustainable shopping is not only great for the environment but also great for your finances and your unique style. It’s a win win.

Basics qualities I look for in second hand clothing are:

  1. What material is it made from: I like cotton/silk/wool/cashmere
  2. Is the style timeless
  3. Does it have any stains?
  4. Can I repair any light damage?

Soon I will post a blog on how to care for your clothing to make it last and how to freshen up secondhand clothing to make it feel like your own.

Hopefully this blog will make you think about your wardrobe in terms of longevity and maybe encourage you to step inside a second store to see what you can find.

Go onto Instagram and search #sustainablefashion to get inspiration from the 1000’s of uber stylish people buying secondhand clothing.

As always thank you for reading,

Chat soon,

Theresa x

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