A year ago, I set out on an arduous journey. A self-proclaimed shopaholic with a penchant for stuff, I knew I had to do something about my spending and consumption habits. So I did what every other self-loathing person does on New Year’s Day: I vowed to make a change.
Not unlike the majority, I have never been one to remain committed to a New Year’s resolution, and a big part of me doubted I could stick to my second hand challenge. Though I don’t have a massive savings account to show for my year of second handing, I managed to stick to the entire year and learned a great deal in the process.
Breaking bad habits
Before starting this challenge, I rarely walked out of a store without buying something. My focus was not on quality, nor conservation, it was simply on getting more for my buck and having something new. I loved fast fashion like H&M and Forever 21, and would be lying if I said that part of me does. But I learned I’m fine without ’em. Cutting out the option to shop at these spots not only helped me stop bleeding money on low quality stuff, but taught me that I didn’t always need to buy something.
Style and the way I view it
Shopping at second hand spots changed the way I think about style. I try to create cohesive harmony of modern design with vintage statements in both fashion and decor, and I really value balance and proportion. Overall, I think my eye has changed for the better: I pay attention to styling and accessorizing of my outfits much more now, and really look for the character in pieces that I buy.
That being said, I also managed to pick up some pretty horrific things along the way; I blinded by the vintage is what I like to call this affliction. I have also been prone to purchasing things that don’t fit quite right, and pieces that I intend. Given my lack of sewing skills as well as my lack of body morphing skills, both of these are unadvisable.
What was I thinking?!
The earth and my footprint on it
A little secret: when I created this blog, I did not even think about the environmental aspect of second handing. It was not my intention to lessen my footprint on this earth, it was simply a means to save money. But over the course of the first few weeks, the recycling angle occurred to me and I started to do some research about the environmental affects of clothing production as well as clothing waste. I was absolutely shocked to learn how much of an impact second hand shopping could have.
One of the highlights from this past year was contributing to Bright Spot Social, an environmental blog, about the positive affects of second hand shopping. I never thought a fashion blog could translate into moving the needle on environmental issues, but this experience proved me wrong.
What’s to come in 2013 and beyond
I’ve had so many people ask me what I’m going to do now that the challenge is over. Just because a year is up does not mean I’m going back to my old ways, it actually means quite the opposite. I really enjoy second hand shopping and this way of life, and I really, really like writing this blog. I have never been so dedicated to something that is wholly mine.
In 2013, I’ll be launching a new site dedicated to using second hand elements in fashion and decor to make life less expensive, less consumptive yet way more stylish and unique.
My new years resolutions for 2013:
1. Explore San Francisco more
2. Learn to sew
3. Improve my photography and take more pictures
4. Launch Styled by Second Hand
Styled by Second Hand is still in it’s planning phases, but I have big ideas and very high hopes. Any recommendations or ideas would be greatly appreciated and thought about. I look forward to the next year and what’s to come. Thank you for joining me on this epic adventure, it’s been a year to remember and this blog has absolutely been a major highlight.
Cheers to 2013!