Still buy fast fashion

Is Fast Fashion Ever Okay?

There are days when everything in our closet just looks wrong. The denim is tired; the boots are played out; the dress that we thought was so chic ended up looking dumpy on Snapchat. In those instances—and yes, we all have those instances—it’s easy to zip into a chain store, spend $110 for 3 whole new outfits, and feel like our whole world got a reset.

We already know the issue here: There are already too many clothes that nobody is wearing, and they clog landfills and contribute to microplastic levels in soil and water. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. throws away the equivalent of about 70 pairs of pants per person; McKinsey says for every 5 pieces of clothes that are purchased, 3 end up trashed within the year. In short, we know that fast fashion is soooo bad. We also know that some pieces of fast fashion are… honestly?... soooo good. And while we can all pretend that a $250 dress is “affordable,” sometimes, $29.99 is all we’ve got. So how can we get our fast fashion fix with the least amount of impact possible?

Easy: Forage for it.

Once you see an item you want in a store or online, set up a search for it on a resale site like Depop, eBay, Poshmark, Tradesy, even Etsy. Within a few weeks, you’ll probably find it in your size… and often, with the tags still on.

Here are some examples, as found by our editorial director (and shopping fiend) Faran Krentcil. (She’ll update this doc every month so you always have new options)


Old Navy high-rise straight leg, size 20—$14.37
Old Navy super skinny jeggings, size 22—$28
Madewell straight leg, size 8—$35
Gap bootcut, size 6—$19.99
Gap flare cut, size 4—$23.94
Madewell straight leg, size 2—$37.99


Zara pink ruched halter top, size small $35
Free People lace tank top, size medium $27
Fashion Nova beige bralette, size large $12.35
Nasty Gal pink shirred princess top, size 1XL $30
Black bandana halter top, size 2XL, $5


Brock Collection x H&M lace dress, size 2XL $40
Torrid x Betsey Johnson pink party dress, size XL, $88
American Eagle check sleeveless dress, size L, $29
Zara medium eyelet dress, size medium, $50
Who What Wear x Target babydoll dress, size small $17.99
Uniqlo x JW Anderson check dress, size XS $38

Is this a perfect solution to overconsumption? Not even close. Shipping still creates carbon emissions; microplastics can still shed from cheap fabrics into soil; you still need to consider the entire lifecycle of a garment, including how to keep it out of a landfill once you’re done wearing it. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and this is a better way to buy what you’re probably going to buy anyway.

Of course, the most sustainable item of clothing you own is the one you already have in your closet and keep on wearing, so before you click "add to cart" on anything new, have a real check-in with yourself and your wardrobe about the great stuff you already own.

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