Sometimes it’s rare to be a maximalist in the middle of minimism. Recently, I felt guilty for thrifting clothes or buying new clothes because everyone and their mothers were preaching “shopping your closet” first.
It’s not bad advice, however, when I am surrounded by messages that don’t always apply to me the first thing I feel is guilt. Clothes are my hobby. I love having an item in my closet for collection purposes. I own several Marc Jacobs dresses that I have since archived because they are beautifully constructed and remind me of why first started to enjoy fashion. But I wear them rarely. I have kept childhood clothing that I wore to retain a memory, or wool sweaters that my grandma has hand-knitted for me. I just don’t have the heart to donate those away, even if I don’t wear them.
It’s why my Instagram profile reads “sometimes secondhand” in the title, I don’t think I can categorize my niche under these terms:
- Sustainable Wardrobe
- Capsule Wardrobe
- Conscious Consumer
In an atmosphere dominated on being more sustainable, I often wonder if my small efforts aren’t enough. Over the years, I’ve decided to stop shopping fast fashion (e.g. Zara, Urban Outfitters, H&M) and recently, Reformation, and Anthropologie. One weekend in quarantine, I added a bunch of dresses into my ASOS cart and then proceeded to never check out. See, look at that self-awareness!
The point is: I. Love. Clothes. I would write myself a list of items I’d like to own at some point. And now that I have discovered TheRealReal, Poshmark and ThredUp, I’ve found items from previous runway seasons to add to my collection.
I don’t have any real advice for people who love clothes but don’t want to slip into that consumer mentality, which I know have and am working towards managing.
Rules (ok, guidelines) that I set for myself include:
- Thrift an item, when possible. This includes finding it through secondhand channels such as a reseller (e.g. Poshmark, Depop, etc). Thrifting treasures like designer items do require patience and where the thrift store is located. You simply cannot expect to find Chanel in a Goodwill in Wyoming like you would in San Francisco, California. You might find a “Channel”. Demographics matter.
- Shop small businesses. This helps me avoid jumping straight back into the fast fashion bandwagon just for a trendy item only to wear it once and never again. Etsy is a great place, I’ve been sourcing much of my DIY materials on there.
- Upcycling clothing items. I do this a lot when I don’t want to pay $1000k for an asymmetrical blouse (I am talking about you, Monse).
- When buying something on retail, ask yourself a few questions such as “How will this fit into my current wardrobe?”, “Do I own something similar?”, “Will I wear it XX amount of items?” and “Do I actually need it or do I want it?”
I stopped myself from purchasing another pair of high-waisted Madewell jeans just because they were having additional 50% off the sale section because I actually owned a similar pair of jeans.
My most recent purchase was this glitter strawberry front-tie shirt from Lirika Matoshi. I had been eyeing their glitter strawberry dress for a year now and realized I would never get the opportunity to wear it many, many times. Etsy also was selling this amazing dupe for much less, which I may consider in the future.
I hope to never guilt people to stop loving fashion just because their shopping habits do not align with “what is in” because everyone is different. I do appreciate having a partner who doesn’t judge me for the amount of dresses I own in my closet. He does jokingly saying things like “I think you are already past the ‘way too many dresses’ mark” and he never makes me feel bad for wanting to buy something. I get his opinion quite often actually. Even if he doesn’t understand certain styles, he will tell me if I would wear a certain color more than the other.
It’s truly weird to find myself enjoying posting in a space where I am positive 1-2 people read my blog, vs the 1500+ followers I have on Instagram, who probably gloss over the text and accidentally tap like because the phone fell onto their face.