Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Fashion Statement: Goodbye Retail, Hello Resale!

Never in my life would I have thought I would be shopping for clothes at Goodwill. The thought of wearing someone else's clothing would have left me in a wide-eyed state of "ewww!"

Plus haven't we all at one time lived to buy fresh new clothes? Shopping for new clothes with a gal pal at the end of the week was what we did. And many still do. Retail therapy! Shop 'til You Drop! I spent almost all of my life shopping for clothing that way, spending tons of money on brand new clothes that many times were not even all that well made or remarkable.

Not anymore. I am declaring right here and now that I am done with fast fashion (AKA cheaply made, mass-marketed clothing that caters to trends) and am turning to resale shops (yes, secondhand!) to create what is known as a "conscious closet."  I am thoroughly re-evaluating what I wear for a number of reasons.

One reason: my appearance. Frankly, I had gotten lazy about my look. I was in comfortwear mode for longer than I care to admit. My standard outfit was leggings, activewear dress or tunic, cardigan or jean jacket, and sneakers, which is great for when you really want/need to be comfortable, such as when traveling or spending a day walking around a city. But it's not exactly the best signature look, and especially not for years on end. I remember at one time thinking that I could not remember when I last had worn actual pants or jeans.

Another reason for re-evaluating my closet: the ethical impact. This reason is much more far-reaching. Reading Elizabeth Cline's The Conscious Closet enlightened me on many levels regarding the environmental and social impact of the highly polluting fashion industry. If you are at all interested in sustainable fashion, The Conscious Closet is THE starting point because this book comprehensively covers issues and concerns and offers solid advice on creating your own conscious closet.

And so, at this point in my life, I have found that I want to care more about my clothing and have begun curating my wardrobe, sort of in the way we curate art, where every piece has a story and invites a mood/feeling. I want to look at a piece of my clothing and know that the designer took great care in choosing fabric and implementing manufacturing processes. I want to know that workers were paid fair wages and that their health was not compromised. Eileen Fisher is one such designer, and I currently obsess about acquiring secondhand some of her pieces for my wardrobe.

What's more it's fun to shop secondhand. I have found that it is not so much "ewww!" but rather "Oh my god!" as, for example, I stumble across an authentic leather Coach purse that appears to never have been used for $3.99 at Goodwill. True story. I have been thrifting for only about a month or so, and I am amazed at what I have found. Just last weekend I bought a black wool J.Crew coat that looks as if it has never been worn for $14.99 and a gorgeous knee-length red wool Worthington coat that also looks never worn for $12.99.

Red wool coat purchased at Goodwill for $12.99. Collar can be worn up or down. 

I also found a pair of brown suede Kate Spade shoes for $4.99. They look fairly new, but were missing the heel cap on one shoe. They now are in a shoe repair shop getting new heel caps for $13. Made in Italy, these babies are gorgeous with handstitching, suede-wrapped heels, and 100% leather uppers.

My pair of Kate Spades are still in the shoe repair shop, but here is a picture found online.

Shopping secondhand has allowed me to replace generic cheaply made items with well-made higher end brands. I now have some stunning additions to my wardrobe that truly turn my fashion dial up a few notches. I am done with cheap thin fabrics that lack any sort of craftmanship.

This right here is craftmanship. A pair of Coach clogs with wood heels, stitching, leather uppers, and hardware. I think they are exquisite! I paid $27 for them on Poshmark. 

As it's said, "It's all in the details." And not only am I better off as a result, but so is the planet.

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