Do you remember when it used to be uncool to wear an outfit too often?
You could “get away” with wearing a dress a few times if you took notice of who had already seen it on. The more separated your different friendship groups were, the better for your wallet. The idea of recycling outfits too often was frowned upon.
You were meant to have a lot of clothes and not only that. It was all meant to be brand new and on trend.
We wanted to look like we constantly had something previously un-worn to put on. Like we had an endless walk-in wardrobe of choice and a spending account á la Paris Hilton. (Don’t forget the chihuahua!)
To have the other girls whisper “she’s got something new on today again, how does she do it?” as we breezed past in our not even washed yet bootcut jeans and tank tops, was the ultimate dream of teenage girls.
As a blogger of 12 years, I remember feeling that same pressure. I had to constantly try to keep up with showing my followers the latest trends, the must-have item of the week and how to style it in a way that was “current” and “now”.
It was exhausting. And the solution was fast fashion. A lot of it.
I would get some for free, buy loads and then borrow the rest. And still, I never felt like I could keep up.
My new clothes were never new enough and once I had shot it or worn it to an event they were considered old and boring. Most of it ended up on the bottom of my wardrobe, some in big boxes in the basement and I gave lots away to friends and family. You would never see me recycling outfits.
I really struggled to know what to actually keep and didn’t know the difference between having style and being trendy.
Funny how quickly these things can change.
These days it’s truly the opposite. Not only for me but in general in society. We don’t want to be seen as “wasteful”, “vain” or taking too much advantage of mother nature. If a royal re-use an outfit they these days get praise instead of scorn in the tabloids. If you re-style a dress and wear it again, people think you are clever, not cheap.
It’s in fashion to be aware. To buy quality over quantity and to care about our clothes.
Where second hand used to be “dirty” and for “poor” people. It’s now re-named “pre-loved” and everyone is doing it. No one would lift an eyebrow if you stated that your new blouse is a find from Vestiaire Collective (affiliate link). If anything they would ask you how to spell it and go browsing the same evening.
Obviously, a bit of this has to do with age and maturity. But most of all we have realized that it isn’t cool to waste resources and to pay poor workers in a third world country only a few pounds a month to produce all these sub-quality garments. We are finally aware of how the endless cycle of “buy-wear-throw” is unsustainable in more ways than one.
The perception has changed. Where we would in the past have looked up to the idea of having an unlimited wardrobe. We now want an edited collection of items that truly works for us. We covet to have a truly personal style and not be labeled as a fickle trend-lover.
To have new clothes all the time would be deemed as trying too hard. And the ignorance of wasting money and resources on yet another fast fashion item would be frowned upon by our peers.
As with anything else fashion-related. There is a risk that this view of fashion is but another trend. I, of course, hope not. But even if it is. This small blip of awareness would already have made a world of difference.
Not only are we doing our own wallets a favor by wearing recycling outfits (PPW* guys!). We are also showing that brands and companies that make the clothes that we do care what they are made of, who has made them and at what cost.
Already we are seeing shifts in the market towards a much more sustainable view of fashion. And once that ball is rolling, it’s a hard one to stop. I have a hard time seeing that we would start caring less once we actually started or that companies would go backward in the effort of doing better by both people and nature.
It’s so liberating to buy an item I truly love and wear it over and over again. I don’t care who has seen it or what anyone else thinks. As long as it makes me happy, I will be recycling outfits and wear my clothes it until it falls apart (or sell them pre-loved).
This dress was one of my best buys this year. It’s by H&M Conscious collection (affiliate link) and It has been one of my most worn outfits this summer. It’s a staple in my holiday wardrobe and will be for years to come.
*Price Per Wear