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Life in the Slow {Fashion} Lane

Slow fashion is an emerging trend in the no waste lifestyle movement. Each year, more makers and waste-conscious individuals come over to the slow side in pursuit of a less disposable, more sustainable wardrobe.

For me personally, slow fashion involves making do with what I’ve got; making my own with high quality natural materials; and thrifting for “new” wardrobe items - like shoes and other items that are difficult or time/cost-prohibitive to make myself. As we gear up into the spring and summer mode, eager to shed winter’s cozy hoodies and leggings, I thought it might be a good time to share my favorite thrifting tips.

Whether you’re looking for a whole new summer wardrobe on the cheap or want to move away from reliance on the department store “discounts” that come along with their questionable ethics, thrifting can be a great way to build your wardrobe.

Next time you head to your favorite thrift store or secondhand shop, consider these tips for a more enjoyable and fruitful shopping experience:

Find the best store

Many communities boast multiple thrift/secondhand/consignment shops. This is great, but bear in mind that not all thrift shops are created equally. Go into each store to get a feel for the offerings and price points to learn what you’re comfortable with. Finding a thrift store that you love will encourage you to make repeat trips when you need something new.

Scout out sales

Even though thrift stores offer rock bottom prices, there are often times when certain merchandise is marked down. At my favorite thrift shop, Wednesdays are sale days, and almost everything is half price. Many shops operate on a dot system, where each article is labelled with a colored dot that corresponds to a certain percentage off on different days of the week.

Know what to avoid

I confess, you can’t thrift everything. There are some things that you absolutely need to buy (or make) new. Undergarments are an obvious thrift shop no-go. I personally have a weird thing about buying sandals and certain shoes from thrift shops. Everyone has their thing, so don’t be afraid to pass up even great bargains if you know you won’t realistically wear whatever that thing is after you bring it home.

Single use garments

There are certain garments that you purchase to wear only once. Chances are, if this is something like a prom dress or otherwise super dressy occasion, others have purchased dresses, worn them once, and donated them. You can score awesome deals on dresses if you know when and where to look. Keep an eye out for dresses that were obviously purchased for prom or participation in a bridal party. These likely were worn only once and may work for an upcoming special event of your own.

DIY your favorites

Sometimes something just jumps off of the rack and begs for you to take it home. Usually for me, this something is too big or super awesome and vintage but has a weird hem or another design element that makes me think twice. If you’re ambitious and have an eye for fashion and a little bit of sewing know-how, you can easily take these pieces and make them into the perfect wardrobe staples you’ll wear again and again.

I hope I’ve inspired you to reconsider thrifting and that you’ll have success in future secondhand endeavors. Feel free to chime in with your favorite slow fashion tips and tricks!

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