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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

#SecondhandSeptember: Staying on Trend without Buying New Clothes

The title of this post is making me feel a bit queasy because I wouldn't really count myself as someone who stays up-to-date with trends and I always seem to be a few seasons behind if I've got my finger on the pulse at all. If you looked at my Etsy recent searches, the fact that I'm constantly on the scout out for some WWII era vintage clothing might give you an idea of how much of a mish-mash my personal style can truly be. Last week I shared what my journey has been like so far with ditching fast fashion purchases but something that can make that lifestyle change all the more difficult is the trends and changes we see in heavy rotation in high street stores and on our favourite social platforms.

I follow a wide range of accounts on YouTube and Instagram but many of those are fashion-based. I like to see what people are styling up and how and get inspired for my own outfits and wardrobe this way so it's all positive for me. The problem with this though can be that that awful little lust devil can spring out and make me want to purchase *that* specific dress or *that* pair of shoes but of course, if they're from a fast fashion brand, I find myself in a dilemma of my ethics fighting my desires. Thankfully, my ethics override my lusting 99.9% of the time but it got me thinking; how do I usually get around this so I can still enjoy "on-trend" items if I want them but stay true to my slow, secondhand, sustainable fashion ways?

Is it the item or is it the style?
One thing I try to work out from the start is whether or not I'm lusting over the item itself or is it something about the cut, colour, styling etc. If it's a flowing midi dress of some description, it's probably the silhouette that's caught my eye and thus I can look out for items that have a similar cut in charity shops or online secondhand. I can cross-reference the dress with sustainable brands I follow and see if they've got something similar in their collections or better yet, can make me something similar as a commission piece (if I'm feeling flush).

Although some people believe you shouldn't have any fast fashion brands in your wardrobe if you're being a conscious fashion consumer, I'm all for secondhand purchases because you're giving that item a loving home where it will be worn (probably too much) and that's never a bad thing. Therefore if I've worked out that it's actually the unique print of a piece that's attracted me or if in three months time, I still haven't managed to find anything like the item in question, I'll start searching eBay and Depop for that specific item. Fast fashion has such a quick turn-around in terms of what's on-trend, but purchasing secondhand like this can always help you stay relevant with those trends without buying direct.

Try things on in store
If you're someone who can resist the urge to just purchase a fast fashion item, trying things on in store is always a great idea. If you're not apposed to picking up fast fashion items secondhand, trying them on in store can ensure that the silhouette/cut/fit suits you and is actually something you want to own. Part of shopping secondhand/living a slow fashion lifestyle is trying to not have too much in your wardrobe just for the sake of it. Over the last couple of years I've tried my upmost to make more considered choices with my purchases and even if I'm buying into a trend, I want to purchase items knowing that they'll actually get worn. Trying items on in store helps me decide if I will actually wear that dress I've been lusting over and it also gives me a chance to wear it with items already in my wardrobe such as shoes/a bag that I envisioned it looking great with.

Remember, trends come back around
Trends always resurface and the speed in which they are doing this doesn't seem to be slowing down. For example, I bought a lot of my woven straw/rattan bags a few years ago from the likes of Bohemia Design and surprise surprise, this summer they've still been something that's on-trend. I can just pull out those bags in summer and there's been no new purchases in sight. Always shop your wardrobe first to see if you have something similar already that maybe you can just update or wear slightly differently before you feel you need to purchase something new. For instance, if you've been lusting after a red midi dress you've seen popping up everywhere, why not see if you have another midi in your wardrobe you've been wearing less that could be dyed and revived? Not only will it save you some money, but it'll give that item a new purpose and you'll have something unique - not everyone is happy to wear *that* Zara polka dot dress if everyone else is wearing it too.

If it's a trend item that is from a previous generation (i.e. 70's crochet handbags, Y2K denim etc.), searching online for genuine vintage items or in vintage stores is a great option because not only are you avoiding fast fashion that - let's be honest - is probably badly/cheaply made, you will also be getting a more authentic item that will still have an element of uniqueness because it's not from Asos or Topshop's current season. Investing in vintage items that have come back around in trends is always a good shout because they're usually better quality and you can sometimes find a gem for a fraction of the price of the current fast fashion season equivalent!

Create a list and stick to it!
If you're a regular reader around here, you'll know I always suggest creating a list for almost all situations so there should be no surprise that I'm suggesting it again, here. If you're someone who curates fashion inspiration via Pinterest, Instagram's "saved posts" function, or simply folders on your laptop or phone, check out what trends are reoccurring for you. When you then feel the need to shop or need to pick up some new items at the start of a fresh season, you have the ammunition to pick out exactly what you want. This not only helps you pick out the trends you actually want to invest in, but it also stops you from impulse buying and being wasteful. For example, for me this Autumn/Winter, I want a pair of black heeled boots that are smarter to wear than my Doc Martens, a wrap belted winter coat, a specific handbag that I seem to be seeing everywhere and I'm disappointed that I don't own - yet. Therefore, these are the items I'll be hunting for in charity shops and online on eBay, Depop, and Etsy (mostly).

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