Summer is officially over in the northern hemisphere, and so is Slow Fashion Season. Along with 14,486 other people, I pledged to buy no new clothing from June 21st to September 21st. The purpose of this campaign was to help make the fashion industry more sustainable and reduce the amount of pollution created by the production of new clothes. Thrifting, swapping, and repairing clothes are all sustainable alternatives to buying new.
As I’ve learned more about the horrors of fast fashion over the last few years, I’ve shifted to buying far more of my clothes second-hand, and when I don’t buy second-hand, I almost always choose ethically and sustainably made items. Still, I’m not perfect, and this challenge was a great opportunity to further curb my shopping habits. Even buying sustainable clothing requires resources to produce, and is therefore less sustainable than wearing what I already own.
Summer is my favorite season for shopping, so I knew I wasn’t going to make it all season without adding any new items to my wardrobe. Warm weather clothes tend to fit my tall frame better, and I just prefer dresses and tank tops to sweaters and jackets (controversial, I know). As a result, I ended up buying quite a few second-hand items. I already shared the clothes I thrifted while on vacation in Sun Valley, ID, but I also bought a couple items at a thrift shop closer to home.
First, I found this 100% silk top, originally from J. Crew, for just $4! I absolutely love the bright colors and how it pairs well with any of my black bottoms and accessories. It’s also nice enough to wear to work, but casual enough for the weekends.
I also bought two dresses. The first one is a dusty blue linen dress from Eileen Fisher that still had the tags on! I love the ethics behind this brand, but I definitely can’t afford to buy it new, so this was a great find.
The second dress is this olive colored cotton t-shirt dress. To be honest, I’m not totally sure I love this one. I wanted some longer dresses that would be conservative enough for work and travel, but still keep me cool on hot days. This one fit the bill, but it’s a bit shapeless, and I’m not in love with the color. Adding a belt helped a lot, but I’ve still worn it only once so far.
Those are all of my second-hand purchases, but for the sake of full transparency, I have to admit that I did buy two new items as well. The first purchase was the result of procrastination and a moment of weakness. I went on a trip to Morocco, and I desperately wanted a pair of linen pants in a dark color. I reasoned that I needed something long and loose fitting to be respectful of the conservative culture, but I also wanted to stay cool in the desert and avoid looking like I was covered in dirt (even if I was, in fact, covered in dirt). I tried looking for something second-hand or at least sustainably made, but I couldn’t find anything that fit and wasn’t white (aka see-though and a dirt magnet). At the last minute, I panicked and ended up buying these olive joggers from J. Crew. They are not second-hand, nor are they sustainable. The only redeeming quality is that they are made of linen, rather than a synthetic fabric.
The second item I bought was a new black leather crossbody bag from Able. I carried my old black crossbody bag almost every day for years, and it was literally falling apart, so when I saw that Able was having a Labor Day sale, I decided to take advantage. I don’t feel too badly about this purchase because a) it was long overdue, and b) Able is an amazing brand that pays women a living wage with the goal of ending generational poverty.
For better or worse, those were all of my clothing (and accessory) purchases throughout the summer. I really loved participating in Slow Fashion Season, and I will definitely take part again next year!