a minimalist's guide to thrifting
/ this post includes gifted items by Fill A Bag
Sustainable fashion has a reputation for being nothing but beige tailored trousers made of recycled bottles. And whilst I must admit that I would add a pair straight to my basket given the opportunity, today I want to discuss the other side of minimalist fashion, which is one I haven’t seen getting as much coverage as the innovative brands I discuss and adore - second-hand sustainability.
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to spend my Saturday morning in the hidden gem that is Fargo Village, a tiny creative quarter in the heart of Coventry ( it’s basically Digbeth’s little sister ) , for FAB’s second vintage sale of the year. FAB, aka Fill A Bag, is an independently run, alternative approach to second-hand shopping. Instead of the usual piece-by-piece pricing, you simply pay £10 for a big ol’ plastic bag, which you can fill to the brim with whatever catches your eye from the rails and rails’ worth of vintage, designer and high street clothing.
Where Minimalism meets Second-hand
I’ve mentioned this many times before - one of the key concepts central to minimalism is sustainability, and one of the easiest and most affordable ways to incorporate this into your wardrobe is by shopping second-hand and vintage. There are some stunning luxury vintage shops out there that I’m a huge fan of, but in my pursuit to find ways to make ethical fashion more inclusive, I want to use today’s post to shout out FAB, an organisation doing exactly that.
How to Thrift Like a Minimalist: My Top Tips
Make a shopping list beforehand to avoid getting carried away with pieces you want but don’t need!
Dress in as few layers as possible so that it’s easier to try things on - especially when most vintage sales and stores don’t have changing rooms.
Wear your most-worn basics when thrifting - these are the core pieces of your wardrobe, so if an item works with them when you try it on, it’s likely to fit well with the rest of your wardrobe.
get chatting to the staff to stay in the know about future sales and to find out when the store receives its restocks.
Analyse each piece before you buy it - inside out at the cuffs, collars, on the back, around the hem … you get the idea. You don’t want to spend your journey home getting hyped about a new dress to find someone’s red lipstick framing its neckline.
Check the label to find out what it’s actually made of and whether it’s a brand you’ve been able to rely on before for quality. If you’ve never heard of the brand, give ‘em a Google to find out their vibe.
Stay away from stains and bobbling - you might think you can fix it, but 99% of the time someone else has already tried to.
Check the details - if the buttons are plasticky and cheap or the hem is a bit roughly stitched, or it simply feels a bit papery on your skin, this is likely to be a sign of the quality of the garment as a whole, too.
If you’re hesitating, leave it. The fact that it’s a one-off piece might trick you into thinking you should buy it just in case, but in the same way that you wouldn’t buy something from a regular store that you’re 100% sure of, don’t take it home unless you love it.
If you find something vintage that you’d likely be able to buy in shops today, it’s a pretty good sign that it’s timeless - grab it.
Want to check out Fill A Bag for yourself?
They’re super popular, so I’d recommend heading along pretty early! Change-wise, it’s also worth noting that there is a £1 entry fee!