Thrift shopping is nothing new. It's been part of people's lives since probably the beginning of civilization. Some do it out of necessity, some do it out of thrill. But I think that we should all do it out of obligation. Obligation to the planet. Regardless of how deep your pockets are, it is necessary for us to refrain from fast fashion.
Thrifting is one of the best ways to avoid fast fashion and get the most out of a piece of clothing. I've tried thrifting many times and I never once successfully purchased anything or even had the urge to try anything on. I knew thrifting was more sustainable than going to a store in a mall, but every time I found myself heading back to Zara or Aritzia. Whenever I walked into a thrift store, the dim lights and underlying mouldy smell would drive me out before I even begin to look through the racks. I would wrinkle my nose, speed walk through, leave, tell myself that I tried, then walk over to the nearest H&M. But I didn't really try. I never actually tried on a piece of clothing or really gave anything a chance because I was so worried about who wore it before or where it came from.
But recently, all that changed. I took a trip to Montreal, Quebec and became a thrifting fanatic. It all started with one conversation with my best friend's roommate, Kaelyn. I asked her where her skirt was from and she told me that it was thrifted. I said that I wasn't really into thrifting because I could never find anything I was looking for or anything that even fitted me. That's when she told me something that opened my eyes to the world of thrifting. "Thrifting is an adventure. Never go in looking for anything". While looking for something specific, I closed my mind off to all the amazing pieces that I would love. I decided to take her advice and give thrifting another shot.
The next day, I went thrifting (My favourites are Annex Vintage and Eva B). I went in with 0 expectations. I looked at each piece, and if the feel was right, I would try it on. It was hard eyeing the sizes at first, but eventually it became easy. And for the most part, when it comes to shirts or sweaters, size really didn’t matter all that much. You could always just tuck it in or cuff the sleeves. By the time I got to the change room, My arms would be sore from the weight of all the clothes I was holding. I looked at the sign that says "please only take 10 pieces at a time" and thought of how I used to laugh and think it ridiculous one could find that many items. But now, I was sneaking in extra pieces so no one would snatch my finds. With an open mind, I found so many pieces that I loved. It was like treasure hunting, and it was so exciting. I wanted to look through this rack as quick as possible not because I wanted to leave, but because I couldn't wait to see what the next rack had in store for me. I became that girl at the thrift store with a handful of clothing, piled higher than her height, urgently digging through every pile and rack. I found sweaters, skirts, hats, bags, and shoes.
I walked home with so many new finds. Usually, as I walked home like that, I felt a sense of guilt, knowing that I caved to a damaging industry and spent half my paycheck. This time, however, not only did I find beautiful and unique pieces, but I didn’t break the bank and was doing good for the environment. The key really is to be open minded. Be open to being surprised. You will learn so much about your style too.
If you're still scared, try a fancier vintage/thrift store, where the clothes are more curated. This means less digging and a better (but smaller) selection. It's much less intimidating and still a lot of fun.
SO if you're not thrifting yet, get on it! It’s a whole new world!