Applying The Three Rs to Clothes

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My sister and I are 12 years apart. She was an only child for her entire childhood and I go to have an adoring older sister for six years until she went away to varsity. Even though we were this far apart my life was filled with hand-me-downs. I loathed it when I was younger at times but looking back at the photographs I feel proud and lucky to have had the privilege.

I received clothes from cousins who were my age and my mother shipped off jackets, trousers and dresses that no longer fit to younger cousins. Each time an elder came to visit I fully expected to receive clothes that were new to me  -- especially my aunt who lived in the UK. I owe all my denim (for my tomboy phase) to her. My sister's daughter and I wore the same dress on our first birthdays she wore on hers. My mother had made it a point to keep special dresses, blankets and shoes for me and kept them again for any grandchildren my sister and I would one day give her.

That's how my family applies the three Rs; we reuse and reduce the amount of clothes we buy. It also builds a sense of community and kinship built on clothes. My sister, niece and I will always have that bond of having worn that dress -- the photographs are side-by-side in my mother's house.


Thrifting is another way that's growing in popular that people use to apply the three Rs in the clothes they wear. If you don't have an aunt or grandmother to give you second-hand fashion treasures then the thrift store is your next stop. The garments are vintage without the price tag. A friend of mine runs this online thrift store. The one tip she's given me is to go to a thrift store (or charity shop) with a purpose because it's easy to buy heaps of things you don't need because they're pretty and cheap.

Swap parties are also big, I particularly imagine rich women with designer shoes and clothes trading their last-season frocks and coats and having rotation parties. These parties aren't only good for the environment but they're also your chance to get that fashion item you've been eyeing from your friend.


Pre-loved clothes are a great way to channel or carve out an aesthetic from years gone by. What's your favourite way of curating pre-loved garments?

Cheers to the weekend!

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