Recently I went to take stock of my wardrobe, and what I found was that the beloved items in my closet, and those that always garner an excited Where did you get that? from friends, are almost exclusively secondhand. As a fashion editor, I'm constantly focusing on what's trending right now, and no, I'm not immune to the pressure of keeping up with trends by buying brand-new. But I won't lie—I have a huge sweet spot for clothes, shoes, and bags that have lived a previous life.
Whether that means I'm scoring surprisingly stylish summer finds at my local Goodwill or inheriting mint-condition designer goods from my grandmother, I relish in owning pieces that have a unique story to tell from a previous owner. Secondhand shopping is an excellent way to find cool wares that you know no one else will have, but it can also have a much larger impact than what resides in your closet.
Shopping secondhand—whether that means thrift, vintage, or consignment—is one component of the Slow Fashion movement that Who What Wear is celebrating throughout the month of July. So by shopping this way, I have the added benefit of knowing that I'm not adding any more stress to the planet than what already exists from the impacts of fast fashion.
With that in mind, I challenged myself to put together a week's worth of outfits wearing exclusively secondhand clothing items. See all the stylish (and eco-friendly) outfits below and find out what I learned along the way.
The idea of wearing exclusively secondhand at first seemed impossible to achieve, but then I took a glance at my denim collection and quickly realized that vintage jeans (specifically Levi's) made up a considerable portion of the lot.
I adore the rigid shape and fit of vintage jeans, and it's likely where my love for secondhand stems from. To kick things off for the week, one of my many pairs was in order.
Available in sizes 24 to 30.
Available in sizes XS to L.
Available in sizes XS to L.
By Tuesday, I quickly realized that while I do own a considerable amount of secondhand clothing, my closet was decidedly lacking in secondhand shoes—and for good reason. The few pairs of vintage shoes I do own are beautiful, sure, but they are all in some state of unrepair. I've had to take every pair I've ever bought to a shoe repair store at some point or another.
So I focused on the top half of my outfit, showing off one of my favorite vintage silk scarves that I acquired from a deep dive into my grandmother's closet.
Come Friday, I became fatigued with the recurring "grandma-chic" aesthetic that so often comes with vintage wares and instead spiced things up with a whimsical feather-trimmed top to end the week with a bang.
Available in size IT46.
Available in size FR36.
Available in sizes XS to S.
What I learned at the end of the week was that while it felt amazing to dress this way, it was challenging not to grab that newly purchased top off my clothing rack and instead reach for the delicate vintage tops and skirts that actually require upkeep. Throughout the week, I was frequently running late everywhere because I had to resew a few buttons here or stitch up a small tear there.
All in all, I was thankful for the practice of slowing down, and it made me jump back into wearing "new" clothes more consciously than I had before.
Want even more Slow Fashion inspiration? Start with this epic shopping guide.