How to shop second-hand (truly) sustainably

1 Think about it the same way as new clothing

Get into the habit of thinking of second-hand clothing exactly as you would a new purchase. “Ask yourself: would you still buy it if it was full retail price?” advises Dianne of Welcome Back Slow Fashion. Avoid buying something just because it’s cheap. Also ask yourself: will I wear this, really? “What will you wear it with, and when will you wear it? There’s a reason that item ended up in an op shop, and it might be that it’s not actually that wearable.”

2 Try on every piece

“Even in a fast fashion store, most people would try things on,” say Dianne. We should do the same in op shops, and not just think “this will do”.

3 Inspect garments

“There’s an assumption that everything that’s on the rack is in good condition,” Dianne says. But that’s not always the case. Do a really thorough inspection before buying, and leaving it behind if there’s damage you can’t see yourself fixing.

4 Don’t get caught up in online urgency

If you’re shopping second-hand online, try not to be swept away by the idea that things are one-offs. “Particularly in Instagram shopping, I think you’ve got to be really careful not to get caught up in thinking, I have to get that real quick because if I don’t, someone else will,” Dianne counsels. “There will always be something else.” It’s much better to make a considered decision.


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