Closet Update Ethical Fashion

2020: Secondhand Shopping Slow Down

December 10, 2019

I have no idea what the norms really are when it comes to my thrifting–statistically speaking. 2019 was my first full year (of many to come I hope!) of shopping entirely secondhand, which is a privilege that I’m able to enjoy being straight-sized in an industry that completely caters to my body and have enough disposable cash to spend an average of $84 a month on clothing.

Over the past year, my perspective on ethical and slow fashion has evolved tremendously. True, I didn’t put any money towards any fast fashion companies, which is a huge component of ethical fashion to me, and I’m personally proud of myself for sticking to my convictions this year. I didn’t have much of a limit on myself when it came to how many items I allowed myself which I think was okay especially for my first year really focusing in on changing from fast fashion to secondhand. Thankfully, I kept notes on my year of thrifting so I have something to objectively look at and to work on improving in the coming year.

Total Spent on Thrifting: $1,009
Total Items Thrifted: 51
Total Items Returned/Resold/Want to Return: 18 or 35%
Total Percentage of Purchases Kept: 33 or 65%

I haven’t seen many people share a list of how much they’ve bought and how much leaves their closet and how quickly—so I have no idea what to compare my numbers to. All I can say is that I bought much more than I would have imagined (nearly one item per week for the entire year!) and would like to see less coming out of my wardrobe. I’m not the first blogger to have said it, but having items flying in and out of your closet doesn’t make you sustainable and it’s certainly not slow fashion, no matter how many neutral, aesthetically pleasing pieces I thrift off the apps on my phone.

My goal is to ultimately consume less, not as a punishment to myself or for the aesthetic, but because I genuinely do not need more and believe that it’s time for me to really lean into the slow part of slow fashion. I’m not restricting myself and feeling miserable about it–having more than I need makes me feel spastic and cluttered. I also don’t feel like I’m brave enough to commit to not buying ANYTHING in 2020, but I commend and respect anyone who endeavors to do so!

So my compromise is to limit myself on the number of items that I bring in, and ultimately send out again. My plan is to limit myself to one item per month, with an allowance for three items every three month. That doesn’t mean that I need to buy something each month either—but I think having a limit will be helpful for me to keep my focus and perspective.

January – 1 item
February – 1 item
March – 3 items
April – 1 item
May – 1 item
June – 3 items
July – 1 item
August – 1 item
September – 3 items
October – 1 item
November – 1 item
December – 3 items

If I stick to this, I’ll only purchase 20 items in 2020, which is 60% less than I purchased in 2019! It will definitely be a challenge but I think it’s an appropriate one for me personally at this point. Everyone is at different places in their ethical fashion journeys and all we can do is adjust and make changes based on the new things we’re learning, so this is my attempt to do so!

I’m excited to focus up and be more intentional with my purchases—maybe I can even do a monthly post on my purchase(s) and how I’ve chosen to style it? What do you think?

How are you planning on challenging yourself in 2020 on your ethical fashion journey?



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