Gently Used Clothing: Sustaining resources while looking trendy
By Lindsay Leno
Article originally featured in Nature's Pathways Magazine on February 2014
Used clothing can be incorporated into any wardrobe no matter what profession, stage of life, economic status, or region a person is in. Not only can used clothing supplement any fashion-forward wardrobe, but by seeking out gently used clothing a person is making a huge impact on sustaining Earth’s resources. Women can be economical and eco-friendly while building a fashionable collection of clothes by shopping for used garments.
According to The Huffington Post it takes an average of 1800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton for one pair of jeans. This water consumption doesn’t even include the amount used to dye, treat, and process the fabric for the final product. The average American owns between 8 and 11 pairs of jeans, just this one style of clothing can strain our water resources. This statistic doesn’t include the water consumption of other fashion items in our closets such as cotton tee shirts or synthetic styles that use water for processing. In addition all new clothing has a huge carbon footprint due to the production and shipping of raw goods as well as the final product. This consumption can be alleviated in your own closet by making a commitment to purchase used garments for some or most of your fashion needs.
Being fashionable is a top priority for many women for a variety of reasons such as career choice, self expression, image, and fit. Women can honor their fashion sense while maintaining a gentle approach to using Earth’s resources by committing to incorporate used garments in their wardrobe. In fact, women can add a one-of-a-kind flair to their fashion selection while shopping for used garments. Used garments are available in many different venues such as thrift stores, yard sales, vintage shops, and the growing trend of swapping with family, friends, or community members. Although committing to wearing used clothing requires an alternative approach toward shopping it can be achieved by following a few easy tips.
The key to incorporating used trends with an existing wardrobe is to have a core set of basic items such as black trousers, straight leg jeans, a white dress shirt, the little black dress, a wool coat or trench, and basics such as neutral camisoles. With a collection of these classic items it’s simple to purchase trendy items from used stores to layer with the basic items. When setting out to shop for used garments it’s always helpful to have a sense of personal style that compliments career and lifestyle. If uncertain, it’s easy to gain inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, and even co-workers. This will help you fine-tune your personal style along with honing in on specific items to seek while thrift shopping. This is usually a good time to take stock of what is in your closet so you have an understanding of fashion needs and wants. While taking inventory of your current wardrobe you can clean out unwanted items to donate at the venue you shop at. Going through your closet will help you understand what you want to suit your fashion needs for work, weekend, and special occasions.
Having a wish list of items to add to your wardrobe will help with staying focused in thrift stores that often times can feel overwhelming due to cluttered racks that display an overabundance of trends. The shopper should choose one or two thrift stores to shop at in order to maintain a focused shopping experience. Arrive with a list of what you want as well as a reminder of favorite colors, prints or patterns, and size preference as most stores organize their assortment accordingly. Be sure to try on all garments and only purchase items you know you will wear. An additional perk to shopping for used garments is that you can take more risk with your fashion sense because prices are lower on used garments, so don’t be afraid to purchase one or two items that may seem risky for your personal style.
Adding trendy fashion items to your wardrobe can be easy and enjoyable if you follow a few simple standards. Not only is it rewarding to find items that compliment your fashion sense, but it helps alleviate the burden that new fashion items have on Earth’s resources. Taking all this into consideration while shopping for used garments can create a fashionable wardrobe while sustaining our resources.