I started out 2020 with the hope that I would save money, help save the environment, and also minimize my closet even more. With the end of June coming up, it has been a total of six months of me trying to change my preconceived notions and learned habits to become a genuine thrifter of secondhand goodies, and here is what I have to say.
Thrifting clothes for yourself can be really challenging depending on who you are, what you size is, and what you have available to you. Throw in a global a\pandemic that shuts down most if not all places for you to go to shop, and well you kind of have to reevaluate everything. When COVID-19 hit and state lockdowns and quarantines started, there were only a handful of essential businesses left open for me to shop at, and sadly, none of the thrift stores that I commonly went to were open. First off, I think that that was wrong that thrift stores were not an essential business, because I know that there are many people who depend on them to find clothing and other home goods, although I could see the argument that those two things are not really as essential as food. Secondly, this led me to have to break my rule of buying no new clothes, because I had no other option, which I’m sad to say.
The thing is, I started a new internship for the summer at the end of May, and before I started, my new supervisor sent me their company dress code. Now being in the advertising/marketing field, you come to realize that the community is pretty casual when it comes to dress code. I have had a total of three internships before this, one at my campus and two with smaller businesses, all of which had a very casual “nice pants and nice shirt” kind of vibe. However, my current internship is at a bank, meaning they are not so casual in dress code (the closest thing is casual Friday where you have a company t-shirt that you can wear with jeans). Being as I had never had a job at a more formal workplace, I didn’t have any dress pants or really any nice tops that their dress code found appropriate. I will preface that I have owned those things before, but this was middle school/early high school which I have definitely changed in the body department.
I showed my mom the dress code and sadly enough, no old clothes of her fit me (we have similar body types but I am much taller and smaller than her). So we decided that the only way I was going to have any clothes was if we went and bought some. Since I had this whole goal from the start of the year to only buy secondhand, I decided that I would only buy the bare minimum that I needed and create a capsule wardrobe for my office attire. I’m sad to say that I had to get three pairs of pants and five shirts.
Eight pieces of clothing doesn’t seem like a big deal, I know, but they say that the first failure is always the hardest. I guess I’m more mad that I had no other choice but to break my no buy rule. You could say that the fact that I had no other choice but to buy excuses me, but I don’t feel that way. I can kind of be a perfectionist when it comes to certain things, and I like to attain my goals. Was my goal unattainable at the beginning of the year? Not at all. Is it now with the current status of the world? I don’t know.
The thrift stores in my area did start to open about two weeks ago, and I’ve started to go back and look around. I was looking to buy some denim shorts for the summer, since a lot of the pair that I have are too small now or too cheeky. For once I was glad about my rule to not buy new because it seems to me that shorts just get shorter every year. I am a little over 5’ 9’’, and I will be frank when I tell you that having long legs sucks when it comes to buying shorts, skirts, pants, and dresses. Nothing is ever long enough in my size, and my long legs just make everything look so much shorter than it really is. Most pant and legging brands are starting to put in a tall inseam option, which I’m thankful for, but for some reason I cannot find shorts that don’t look like denim underwear on me.
When I went to my favorite thrift store, they didn’t have any denim shorts out, which surprised me honestly. So I instead went to the jean section and I actually found some nice older Levi’s, and I got the idea to cut them and then sew the cuff with our sewing machine at home so I could make them the perfect length that I wanted. I was kind of afraid to do it at first, because it had been forever since I’ve used a sewing machine, but also I didn’t want to mess up so bad that I couldn’t even wear the nice Levi’s I had just bought, but with some good pep talks to myself and a lot of determination, I think they turned out pretty good.
So it’s been six months, and I’d say that I’ve been doing pretty good so far despite the little hiccup I had along the way. I’m finding out that there are some newer secondhand clothing stores popping up around my area, and I’m really looking forward to checking them out once they reopen. I’m going to keep trying to only buy when necessary and I think that I could easily just make this a fact of my life, that I just buy secondhand.