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Guide to a Slow Fashion Fall Wardrobe

With fall quickly approaching, many of you are probably looking to freshen up your wardrobe with some new items for the upcoming season. Fall is my favorite fashion season, and after months of quarantine, I’ve been dying to get dressed up and revamp my closet. However, now it is more important than ever to be conscious of where your clothes are coming from and the broader impact they may have on the planet. A protest against fast fashion is on the rise, with many women turning to more sustainable items instead.


If you aren’t familiar, fast fashion is cheap, mass-produced clothing that responds quickly to changes in trends but often doesn’t hold up after the trend dies out. Fast fashion companies are known to cut corners when it comes to the environmental safety of their production process, use low quality and potentially toxic materials and dyes, as well as exploit their workers. These are all money-saving strategies that enable them to sell mass quantities of poorly made items at too-good-to-be-true prices. As we become more aware of the negative impact fast fashion companies (such as Forever 21, Zara, and Zaful) leave on the planet, more and more women choose to partake in slow fashion instead. Slow fashion, the opposite of fast fashion, focuses on sustainable and long-lasting clothing. Besides the environmental benefits, slow fashion can even be just as affordable, especially since many items will last you much longer than their fast fashion alternatives. If you’d like to incorporate more slow fashion pieces into your wardrobe this season, I’ve compiled some of my tips to get you started.

Step 1: Raid your mom’s closet.

For some of you, hand-me-down may be a dirty word. I’m the youngest in my family, so I get that hand-me-downs are not always the most exciting addition to your wardrobe. However, hand-me-downs are ridiculously affordable, so it never hurts to check out your sibling’s, mom’s, aunt’s, cousin’s, or even dad’s closets. In fact, most of the time that I receive compliments on my outfits, I’m wearing my dad’s old sweaters and t-shirts. Fashion trends are cyclical and reemerge in similar ways throughout the decades, so a hand-me-down that was super drab five years ago could be totally trendy now.

Step 2: Go thrifting.

Checking your local thrift stores, like Salvation Army and Goodwill, can turn up some surprisingly good finds. From my experience, thrift stores are usually great for tops. These stores are often packed with sweaters, t-shirts, and button-ups. The nice thing about tops is you can usually get away with wearing a variety of sizes, depending on how snug or loose you want to style them. This makes it easy to find something you can actually wear. Plus, you always have the option of repurposing thrifted clothes as well; so don’t be afraid to cut, tie-dye, bleach or even sew an item to your liking. On a good day, you may even leave with a new purse, pair of shoes, or dress.

Step 3: Use the power of the internet.

For harder to find items, like pants or shoes that fit just right, I recommend checking out online resale websites. My favorite is Depop, but there are plenty to choose from. These sites curate more items than can ever fit in a single thrift store and make it easy for you to search for the exact style or size you are looking for. I find these sites work super well for pants, shoes, purses, jewelry, and other longer lasting and typically pricier items. Though you may not always find prices as low as in a thrift store, the items will still be cheaper than buying them brand new, not to mention more sustainable. It is important to note that although Depop, Poshmark, and other sites are reputable, the sellers are still individuals, so it is always a good idea to read their reviews. I also recommend trying to find multiple items you like from the same seller and asking them for a bundle. Most are happy to offer you free shipping, a discount, or a free item if you purchase multiple pieces.

The stigma against secondhand clothes is gradually fading away as people recognize all the benefits that come with them. I hope these tips help you get started on your own slow fashion revolution, and that you’re able to find some affordable new pieces you love. Happy shopping!

Katherine Raykova is a junior at Purdue University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering and English Literature. She is originally from the suburbs of Detroit, MI. In her free time, Katherine enjoys gardening, reading, and studying astrology & tarot.
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