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Part 2: Vintage Clothing and Sustainability

As life evolves and the need and desire to be more sustainable becomes more and more a part of everyday life, vintage fits in so well with a more sustainable life…

Tips for Shopping the Rosebowl Flea Market / Oh Joy!

In the second part of this 6-part series, let’s talk about about vintage clothing and its sustainability. As life evolves and the need and desire to be more sustainable becomes more and more a part of everyday life, vintage fits in so well with a more sustainable life…

For some background, my love for vintage clothing stems from two main things:
– I love the idea of owning clothing that is one-of-a-kind. Vintage clothing is the polar opposite of fast-fashion in terms of availability because you really have to search to find treasures. I know that frustrates some because you’ll never be able to find it if your friend has it, but to me that makes the hunt even more fun!
– The history of each piece is fascinating. I love wondering where it could have previously been or who may have owned it and worn it. I know that’s the part that grosses some people out (ha!), but to me it’s SO cool.

What makes vintage more sustainable?
Vintage, by nature, is a great way to contribute to a more sustainable way of life. I know some people who only shop vintage (or thrift stores) for that very reason. By buying something that already exists and giving it another home in your closet, you’re extending the life of a piece of clothing and preventing it from going into a landfill. By buying vintage, you’re not buying a new piece of clothing and hopefully helping to slow down production, particularly on fast fashion pieces that we know can be devastating to the environment.)

How can I be more sustainable in my clothing choices?
I am not an all-or-nothing person when it comes to being sustainable in my life. I do as much as I can to make sustainable decisions based on what makes sense for my life and keep trying to do more as I go. I intentionally buy very little fast fashion and shop mostly indie brands and vintage (both which support small business as a bonus). I encourage you to take any first step that first step that makes sense for you…even a small one! Put back those fun, cheap earrings at H&M and find an Etsy maker that has great accessories instead. Invest in a quality pair of jeans that will last several years instead of buying a new, cheap pair for $30 every quarter. Or, find a cool pair of vintage jeans!

Oh Joy! Vintage

What’s the difference between thrift shopping and vintage shopping?
Vintage is typically considered to be clothing over 20 years old. Thrift shopping (or thrifting) is buying anything that has been owned by someone else before but may not be old enough to be considered vintage. Both are sustainable because you’re giving clothing (or other items) a longer life and making use of something that exists in lieu of buying something new. There are also stores that allow people to donate or sell their items on consignment where the store either buys your gently worn clothes from you outright and resells them or they take a percentage after the item has sold sale. There are also stores that allow people to rent racks and sell their gently used clothing (like Redress in Los Angeles where I am currently selling some of mine this week). And, if you’re looking for amazing thrifting inspiration, check out ThriftNTell on Instagram. The nice thing about thrift shops and sites is it also allows for you to purge from things you no longer want or need and give someone else a chance to give it a new home.

How else is vintage shopping beneficial?
Most vintage sellers (whether online or in person) are small businesses made up of those who love vintage. By shopping with them, you’re helping a small business grow – which everyone is in support of! Also, remember that with vintage you won’t always find something that works for you right away. So it helps to build your patience for buying in many ways. It’s not about seeing something and then quickly looking for your size to add to cart. Sometimes that item simply will not exist in your size (more on sizing in an upcoming post), or sometimes someone snatched it up before you. It’s a completely different way of shopping that I think helps to build patience. It also helps you figure out what pieces work best for you so that when you do find it, you can make the decision to buy (or not) quickly when needed!

P.S. See Part 1: How to Style Vintage Clothing to Look Modern

6 comments

  1. Great post. I love wondering about the history behind vintage clothes! Also just got some that I’m trying to alter myself for a better fit which is fun. Have heard of people dying things at Suay in LA which I’m considering trying out with some old clothes…not vintage, but would give it new life. Love the substainability ideas!

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