The Mindful Materialist
5 Things I've Had for 5 Years
Updated: May 26, 2020
One of the biggest problems with fashion consumption is fashion waste. The more we buy, the more we end up throwing things away. According to the Fashion Revolution, if you can extend the life of your garments by just 9 months, you can reduce the carbon, water and waste footprint of that product by 20-30 per cent! There is a growing secondhand market in the fashion industry which is great, and the value of the secondhand sector in the US is predicted to double over the next five years — with a value of US$51 billion according to the Resale Report commissioned by thredUP.
I have to admit I’m guilty of many declutters, but I was also a shopaholic once. I used to buy things on impulse which I then went on to wear once or twice. I ordered things online which looked great on the model, but I didn’t consider how they would work on my body shape. But I do have a few gems which I’ve held onto over the years. Most of these are strongly associated with memories, and they have a sentimental value as well as a functional one. So without further ado, these are the results of decisions my former-fast-fashion-consumer-self made.
Disclaimer: I don’t necessarily endorse these brands, as I bought these items long before I knew about these issues. This article is intended to encourage garment care and commitment.
1. White Shirt from Stradivarias
I bought this shirt when I was on a holiday in Spain in 2015 and it has remained one of my favourites. It is a shape which has suited my body through gaining and losing weight, and it wasn’t a trend-based purchased so it hasn’t gone out of style. The cotton fabric has suited hot summers in Australia, as well as trips I’ve done to Bali, Fiji and Morocco. I can dress it up or down, pair it with jeans or a skirt or even dungarees. I won’t be getting rid of this favourite any time soon.
2. Graduation Dress
I call this my graduation dress because I originally bought it for my grade six graduation back in 2008 from Target. Mum stitched up the keyhole between the two panels so it suited my prepubescent body, and she has since unpicked it to reform the original style. I remember choosing this dress because I loved the paisley pattern, and I loved the colours. Luckily enough, when my high school graduation rolled around in 2014, the dress still fit so I wore it again. I still love the colours, and I still love the pattern. It’s still hanging in my wardrobe and who knows, I might pull it out for my university graduation soon.
3. Grey Slouchy Knit Jumper
This jumper is from Sportsgirl and I bought it on a shopping trip with mum to pre-renovation Chadstone. I loved Sportsgirl as I was growing up, they had such bright colours and always stocked styles I adored. This jumper was very much on trend when I bought it, but it is so cosy and comfortable that I still wear it year-round. It has travelled with me, I’ve worn it on many flights and I often wear it with my pyjamas too. Believe it or not, this was the XS size. It has stretched slightly with lots of wear and washing over the years, but it remains a favourite staple that I constantly reach for year after year.
4. Denim Jacket
This denim jacket was originally my mum’s, she bought it from Sussan way back when and it’s been worn by both of us to the point of fraying. The denim is soft and flexible, making it a super comfortable jacket and also great for packing into a suitcase or layering over other items. I always take this jacket with me whenever I go away, and it always gets plenty of wear. A denim jacket is a staple item for many wardrobes, I’m just lucky I got mine secondhand in a style I love and I didn’t have to pay a cent.
5. Gorman Dress
I found this Gorman dress in their outlet store on Bridge Rd in Richmond. It was on the ‘damaged’ rack as it was missing a button — only the button wasn’t missing, it was simply in a little plastic case and needed to be stitched on. The dress was significantly marked down and I snapped it up for about $65 if I remember correctly. I wore this for my older brother’s 21st birthday, and then again for mine two years later. While the dress was a tight fit during my heavier days (with no zips or stretch to get in and out), I love the intricate embroidery of Australian flora and the navy colour so much that I couldn’t bring myself to let it go. I made a good choice though because my body will keep changing and this dress makes me feel amazing when I wear it.
I’ve got lots of other items that I’ve had for over five years, these are just a snapshot of some of my favourites. Have you looked in your wardrobe recently? How much of it is old? How much of it is new? Are there items you never wear because they need repairing? Or because they’re no longer ‘in style’? Next time you go to declutter your wardrobe, think about why you’re getting rid of things. Think about pairing items in ways you’ve never tried before. You might surprise yourself with the many ways old items can become your favourites again.