If there’s one eco shopping habit to have, it should be buying secondhand whenever you can.Purchasing a pre-loved item not only rescues it from ending up in a landfill, it saves on the additional energy and/or resources that would have been wasted creating a new item. But making sustainable decisions does not mean that your style should suffer. Here are my three tips to ensuring no one would guess that your outfit was anything less than brand-spanking new:
- Always ask WTF – What’s the Fabric? Creating the appearance of a high-end secondhand outfit starts with the items you choose to thrift. Know your fibers and always check the fabric content tag. Natural fibers make better quality fabric that looks more expensive and lasts MUCH longer than synthetic fabric. Words like silk, leather, linen, cotton, merino wool, and cashmere should make your eyes light up – like mine did when I found this 100% silk blouse and genuine leather skirt at Goodwill and the NCJW Thrift Shop. The fabrics you should be weary of? Polyester, acrylic and nylon. These petroleum-based fabrics were created to be cheap imitations of the aforementioned natural fabrics, resulting in an inferior drape and feel. Keep this in mind while shopping for new clothing too and your closet will thank you for it.
- Pair with high-quality basics. A crisp white shirt elevates a quirky vintage skirt instantly, a smart black blazer makes an old band tee look work appropriate, and my high-end leather boots, shown here, pulled my entire look together. Even the funkiest of secondhand items look luxe when paired with wearable, well-made pieces.
- Accessorize with on-trend items. The reason secondhand clothing may seem second-rate is due to fashion trends. Whether from the runway or the street, fashion is always fluctuating and changing, which can make your look dated. Update a secondhand piece with any more trendy items you may have in your wardrobe, like the straw bag and beret (made popular by french it-girls) that I wore here. However, don’t get sucked into buying too many of those trendy items. One of the reasons I love fashion is for the way a culture and point in time expresses itself so visibly with the style of the time, but fads can easily cause over-consumption if you’re not careful. If I do decide to incorporate a trendy item into my wardrobe, I seek out a well-made accessory that was sustainably made or (better yet) used.
Silk Top – Secondhand, Leather Skirt – Secondhand, Boots – Rag & Bone, Bag – Handmade in Bali
Photos by @sdrpick.