For most of my life, my wardrobe consisted of either hand-me-downs or thrifted pieces. I rarely buy brand-new items, and if I do, they’re shoes or underwear. Not only do these habits limit my spending, but they’re also more sustainable only Buying clothes that have never been worn.
It may not seem like it, but making that new shirt you want takes a lot of water, dye, and labor, and that’s not including the environmental impact that comes with transporting goods. According to the Geneva Environment Network, “fashion production generates 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources and pollutes rivers and streams.” We don’t see much of these effects because most of our products are produced in foreign countries, such as Bangladesh and China. Not to mention, “85% of all textiles end up in dumps every year” because people tend to buy excess clothing, most of which they rarely or never wear (UNECE, 2018). Thus, by sharing clothes with friends, and donating old pieces instead of throwing them away, you can help reduce the environmental impact from the fashion industry.
Due to inflation and the negative impact of textile production on the environment, I am limiting my spending on clothing more than ever. Not that my retail therapy has stopped, but now I spend more time searching the racks of donation-based stores like Goodwill and Plato’s Closet than mainstream companies like Target and Urban Outfitters. Not only that, when my clothes are outgrown I like to give them to friends, like they give me their old clothes, to save money.
So, in honor of our sustainability theme week, I decided to make five outfits out of used clothing.
For this first outfit I got my sweater from Plato’s Closet and my shirt and pants were given to me by a friend. You may not know that everything is used except my shoes, underwear and jewelry!
I was so excited to find IQ bike shorts at Goodwill one day, and I wear them every week when I teach my bicycle class. My Nike tank and gray workout jacket are also from Goodwill. And best of all, my sports bra is a hand-me-down!
My pants are a hand-me-down from a Forever 21 friend and my shirt and button are both from Goodwill. My headscarf is a hand-me-down from my mom.
I got this dress from Plato’s Closet, which I paired with my favorite white sweater that I thrifted in Poland. My rings are hand-me-downs from a friend and I inherited my anklet from my late grandmother.
For this lazy Saturday outfit I’m wearing comfy sweats and an Ann Taylor LOFT tank from Goodwill. Talk about a score!
While the quality of brand new clothes is much better (and less smelly) than clothes from thrift stores or hand-me-downs, I struggle to justify spending money on overpriced clothes that I know I can find elsewhere. By choosing to wear used clothing instead of always buying brand new products, I’m not only saving money, but practicing sustainable fashion. So, the next time you need some retail therapy, why not stop by Goodwill? I promise once you wash the clothes they will look as good if not better than brand new!