This month we are supporting Oxfam’s global awareness campaign Second Hand September. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and our need for more stuff, new outfits for social media, and buying fast fashion exacerbates the problem.
Becoming a conscious consumer is one way to fight fashion pollution. Buy sustainable brands, avoid products made in Asia, Africa, and South America, and learn about eco-friendly fabrics.
But even the most ethical brand is still creating more inventory that if not cared for, reused and resold will also end up in a landfill. An astonishing 11 million pieces of clothing end up in the landfill EVERY WEEK! We have to do a better job at buying less, re-wearing and repairing what we already own, and buying second hand.
Admittedly, if you aren’t used to buying second hand clothing it can be a little overwhelming – maybe even underwhelming. But once you push past the fear and preconceived notions of buying second hand it becomes fun and even a little addicting.
Here are 9 ways you can participate in #SecondhandSeptember. Then join the movement here and take the pledge not to buy anything new for 30 days!
1. Shop consignment stores
This is the easiest and most fun way to shop second hand. Second hand stores are popping up everywhere, and they’re not the dusty, old thrift stores that they used to be. They are clean, organized and many times selling items that were never worn! Shop by size, color, or type of clothing.
Pro tip: Try on everything! Previous owners can be terrible at washing or caring for their clothes. Can you say, “shrinkage”?
2. Plan a friend date to Goodwill
Large national thrift stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Savers are also great options for buying second hand. Aside from clothes they are a great option for finding household items, art, and books.
Grab a friend and pack your patience. These larger retailers can require more time and energy.
Pro tip: Every year Goodwill has a huge inventory of Halloween costumes. Rather than buying something new for a single wear, check out your local Goodwill store first!
3. Host a clothing swap party
Looking for a reason to get the girls together for ladies’ night? Invite your friends over and have them bring items from their closet that they haven’t worn in a year or more. We all have clothes in our closet that we are holding on to for no good reason. One gal’s old thing is another gal’s new favorite top!
You can even include books and household items! It’s all game.
Pour the bubbles and start swapping!
4. Stun at the next event in something rented
Clothing rental services have become big business! Rent the Runway, founded in 2009 by two women in college, is now valued at over $1 Billion. At the speed at which trends come and go, it’s hard to stay fashion-forward without draining your savings. Businesses like Rent the Runway and Le Tote bring flexibility and new outfits to your closet to rent. It’s a great way to practice second hand shopping without a commitment.
Have a big event coming up like a wedding or high-school reunion? Don’t buy a dress you’ll only wear once when you can rent it and return it. No Instagram repeat outfits when you rent!
5. Give online consignment a try
If internet shopping is more your speed, check out online consignment stores like Poshmark, Tradesy or Depop. If you are looking for a second hand consignment specifically for kid’s clothes, check out Kidizen.
6. It’s ‘Ok’ to shop a friend’s closet!
Once upon a time, you couldn’t keep us out of our friend’s closets, but the acceptance of that practice was somehow lost in adulthood. Don’t be shy! We share our deepest desires and darkest secrets with our girlfriends, so what’s so taboo about borrowing a blazer for an upcoming interview?
7. Wear a story and shop vintage
Ask any secondhand shopping fashionista why they like buying used clothes, they will likely tell you that there is a story behind each piece of clothing. This is especially true when shopping vintage. It’s like walking into a time capsule when the industry was purposeful.
These pieces have history and multiple stories of falling in love, holding your first grandbaby, and saying good-bye.
Follow Amare contributor Ebony for Vintage-inspired fashion
8. It all starts with a donation
Shopping second hand starts with donating and/or selling your slightly used clothes. Start with the local consignment stores. You could even make a few bucks or get store credit to buy something for yourself. What they don’t take, donate to any of the non-profits listed in this article.
Just please don’t throw good clothing away. There is someone somewhere in need.
9. Share your finds and inspire
Inspire others by your example. Even if you are just starting…share your finds on social media with #secondhandseptember. We guarantee you will look so fab and so original, that your friends will get on board. Also, tag #tolovethelifewelive to be featured in next month’s article.