Thrift Shopping and Minimalism
I recently looked at the website of clothing reseller thredUP and saw that they have something new coming up: Remade, a clothing line “created for resale.” They promise to buy back Remade clothing pieces if they still look new.
The styles haven’t been fully revealed yet, but this may be a win for sustainability. Many people buy something, but can’t wear it for long (if at all) because their size or their needs change.
If it’s easier for those clothes to make it to someone new, all the better.
But should we really be exchanging so many clothes in the first place, if we don’t have to?
I’d certainly like to, to some extent. I recently bought some used clothes, and thought: did I buy too much? Am I going to wear all these?
I don’t recall how long I’ve been trying to be a minimalist. A year and a half? Two years? I started with books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, as well as other blogs, message boards, and articles. But it’s definitely changed my mindset on a few things.
What I accomplished: A smaller, more cohesive wardrobe; cleaner closets; more thoughtfulness in regard to purchases.
What I didn’t accomplish: I didn’t move to a tiny house or go a year without buying anything.
Minimalism, as a trend, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I’m glad that companies are catching on, and helping to make fashion sustainable. But on an individual level, should I still strive for minimalism?
I do shop a lot less now, due to a razor-sharp focus on what I’m going to wear. Instead of looking for the latest style, I focus on fit and fabric. Probably 9 out of 10 of my purchases are thrifted.
When I shop, I focus on quality fabrics like cotton and linen, which will be more comfortable than scratchy synthetics. Polyester is still a necessity in some of my rain and winter gear, though, as cotton will get dangerously cold when wet.
Someone asked me to go shopping with them the other day, and for a lark, I surveyed the women’s clothing section.
This was a department store well-respected for quality, but not known for being expensive. I was not surprised that all of the clothes were thin, with low quality fabrics. The best cotton content I found was 40%.
Yet the prices were two or three times higher than I’d pay for better stuff secondhand.
Awhile back, I saved up for literally years for an expensive coat. It is a “3 in 1” so it functions as a winter coat (when put together), a thinner fall coat, and a rain coat. Except for in the heat of summer, I never put it away.
Since it’ll probably be keeping me comfortable for ten years, I find it well worth the money.
Part of minimalism is also living in a way that’s eco-friendly. For some people, that means creating almost no trash. But for me, it means thinking about what I can do to not consume as much.
So no, I’m not living in a tiny house, and carefully re-saving everything. But I do try to live with less, and my spending habits have changed, maybe for life. I’ll probably end up buying some of those Remade clothes — secondhand.