3 things I’ve learnt from a year of buying only preloved fashion in 2020 – and a tip to get you started

Just two days of 2020 to go, and my year of preloved is almost complete. Here’s what I learnt –

Preloved Veja trainers bought from Depop

(1) Buying preloved is fun and rewarding 

Not once in 2020 have I missed buying brand new clothes.  Not even a tiny bit.  At the start of each year – and inspired by Gretchen Rubin – I make a list of things I want to do that year.  Of my ‘20 in 2020’ list, one of the things I expected to be challenging was my resolution to buy only preloved and vintage clothes.  As it turned out, it wasn’t hard at all.  Shopping on Depop and on charities’ websites is a very pleasing experience: you can sort by brand, filter by size, or find things in a specific colour.  It’s amazing how specific your search can be: if you search for ‘sage green midi dress’ I bet you’ll find what you want.  Getting just the dress you wanted from a favourite brand, at a low price, while also knowing you’re doing a good thing for the environment is so satisfying.  It almost feels like you’ve ‘won’.

(2) Buying preloved clothes you don’t need is still … well, buying things you don’t need

I used to be a bit of a shopaholic.   Not proper bags-of-unworn-stuff level shopaholic, but I bought way more than I needed.  It’s great that shopping second hand is now so easy and effective, but that does also make it tempting to buy unnecessary things.  Preloved comes with justifications like ‘I’m doing good for the environment!’ and ‘It’s so much cheaper than brand new!’ – both true, but I had the intention to have fewer clothes.  One thing that would be good to do in 2021 is a one-in-one-out policy: for every item I buy, sell one I already own. 

Dress – Anthroplogie, bought on Depop. Belt – belonged to my great-grandmother

(3) How you care for clothes is as important as what you buy  

A lot of the sustainability problems associated with clothes happen after you buy them.  There are plenty of issues relating to apparel production, such as the water and chemicals needed to produce them.  But once you get them home and start to wash and wear is where a lot of damage happens.   Washing synthetics (such as polyester) causes plastic microfibres to be shed which can find their way into oceans.   I plan to buy more natural fibres in future, but since I already own clothes containing synthetics, I purchased these filter bags, which are on sale.  Washing things less often is good, too. 

A tip if you’re interested in buying preloved

Start by getting clear on what you want to add to your wardrobe – things that fit your personal style and lifestyle.  Then, downloading the Depop app is the easiest way to get started.  Depop knows your size and learns your style and preferences (a bit like Amazon), and can identify items you might be interested in.    

Let me know if you decide to try preloved and if it works for you


#ethicalstyle #30wears #preloved #sustainability #sustainablewardrobe #secondhandfirst #fashionthefuture

Published by jengreggs

I'm a London-based writer and blogger focused on sustainability in fashion. My purpose is to help everyone discover the joy of living more sustainably.

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