I am still not on board the train of preloved items, yet. Read my second hand fashion story to find out why?
I cringed when I finished writing the title. I had never imagined writing anything related to fashion. Let me clarify – I am not a fashion pro. I have always called my girlfriend from the trial room to make a ‘buy’ or ‘not to buy’ decision. I don’t understand or follow fashion in conventional terms – be it trends, cuts, and style.
However, today I want to share my second hand fashion story and some thoughts because I strongly believe that fashion is not frivolous. Period. It is a tool to express our authenticity. Read ahead to find out why I say this.
Why Fashion is not Frivolous?
Like all the other things, there are patterns in our fashion choices too. Some of these patterns
are conscious, and some are unconscious. Here don’t confuse these patterns with mere brand
loyalty. It is more on the lines of feeling. How do your favourite pieces make you feel? In what
type of cuts and colour do you feel seen? In a nutshell, our fashion choices are an extension
of our personality.
When I look back, I remember a phase in my life when my wardrobe was majorly black and grey. I didn’t like any other colour or print on myself. Now I know it was because of the angry teenager story inside my head at that time. I am confident that if you would review your years in fashion, you will discover many phases.
So, I believe with all my heart (and soul) that clothes impact how we show up for ourselves. Clothes do have the power to make us taste freedom or frustration. This nugget is important because we all are on different stages of a self-discovery journey.
For me, realising the role of fashion and setting an intention to operate out of love has been a pivotal part of this self-discovery journey.
Fashion & Mindful Consumption
What do I mean by operating from a place of love? I mean to make choices with more awareness and being more mindful. However, this awareness and mindfulness are not always the most comforting things. They can be upsetting and uncomfortable – making things grey.
Now coming to the topic of discussion – secondhand fashion. I am well aware that secondhand fashion is a critical component of reducing the fashion waste that is dumped in landfills every other minute.
However, I prefer to reduce my fashion consumption per se than spoil myself with secondhand fashion options. Trust me, I come from a place of love for myself.
Secondhand Fashion and Expression
Today what we label as secondhand, preloved, or thrift pieces were good old ‘hand-me-downs’ in my childhood. I grew up in a joint family comprising 16 members; hand-me-downs were extremely common and normalised. Back then, almost everything was passed on for generations for reasons like accessibility, affordability, and sentimental value. Our previous generations were circular economy OGs.
We were three sisters and five brothers. As a result, I have received a lot of boyish clothes. Back then, I created contemporary ‘airport looks’ with oversized t-shirts and tights. However, I was never fond of these looks. I lacked awareness and understanding to articulate it, but I was not ok with almost half of my wardrobe being masculine (or in a size much bigger than mine). Those boyish clothes restricted my self-expression.
This confusion of identity and expression led me to detest hand-me-downs. Today irrational conclusion in my head tells me that secondhand fashion choices are a threat to my self-expression. I do realise it is not an ideal, well-researhced outcome because there are no rules or trends in secondhand fashion – it
can be a tool of self-expression. But, as I mentioned earlier, I am not yet on the secondhand fashion bandwagon because my childhood concern of self-expression found a company in poor body image issue.
Secondhand Fashion and Size
Let us be honest fashion is hardly inclusive. I am size 12 but with a heavy top portion. So most of the time, I have to size up. Asking for alteration or taking the garment to a tailor triggers the doubts of not fitting in or taking too much space. So, it is comforting to visit places where I know I can get something that aligns with me both physically and aesthetically.
On the other side, shopping for secondhand fashion is more like signing up for a discovery process. One cannot go in with a fixed thing in your head. As a result, I am not yet ready to be in that uncomfortable discovery process.
This clarity is unsettling because I want to make better choices. Do things that are truly good for people and the planet. However, there seems to be a wide gap between my knowing and doing at the moment. There is a gap between my good intentions and actions I am comfortable taking. However, I know this will not last forever.
Why am I sharing my second hand fashion story with you all? I feel that a lot of us struggle to change our habits and patterns. Most of the time, we give up on ourselves when we are not able to change overnight.
Just reminding you to understand yourself better and to give yourself more grace as you make new choices.
I will close with the powerful word ‘Yet’ because nothing is set in stone. It might not be possible right now, but it can be possible in the future. Now go and figure out your ‘it’.
Aakanksha is a conscious consumer & professes the same on her Instagram page (@the_alt_living)