Buying Used and Vintage Clothes
One way to reduce the number of new clothes you cause to be manufactured, and thereby improve your green quotient, is to buy clothes from the past. Lots of good-quality and barely worn clothes in secondhand, vintage, and nonprofit shops fit the bill for something different, and they’re certainly better than buying new from an environmental point of view.
The great thing about becoming a convert to buying previously owned clothes is that it fits perfectly within the three Rs model of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Even though the clothes may have been made from unsustainable materials, keeping these clothes in the supply-and-demand loop reduces the demand for manufacturers to supply a new stock of unsustainable clothes — and it keeps that groovy 1970s polyester shirt out of the landfill a while longer.
Raid the wardrobes of your older relatives (with their permission, of course). You may find all sorts of gems that no longer fit their owners but that you can remodel or alter to fit you — and they’re free!
The only trouble with vintage clothes shopping is figuring out which retailers are selling authentic vintage clothes and which ones are selling clothes made to look like vintage clothes. Protect yourself by researching the style and age of clothing you’re interested in so that you’re able to spot obvious fakes (plastic buttons before plastic was in wide use, for example, or fabrics that are inappropriate for the era). Start with nonprofit shops and markets and online auction sites. Enter vintage fashion into your favorite search engine, and you’ll find dozens of stores. Then research the stores to check their reputations; don’t be afraid to ask a business owner questions such as where the store gets its clothing.
When you go shopping for used clothes in bricks-and-mortar stores, take along clothing you want to get rid of. You may be able to arrange a trade-in or simply sell the items to the same store you buy from.