Who knew that Jane Fonda and I had so much in common? As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, I definitely spent my share of time admiring Fonda’s exercise videos and jumping along to her legwarmer-big hair beat. But now I’m admiring her for something else – sustainability.
I’ve actually always admired when Princess Kate (yes, we are switching topics for a minute here) wears an outfit twice. It’s a bit outrageous for that to make news. You know? The news declares: Princess Kate wears the same shoes again that she wore in 2014! And the world goes crazy. Well, maybe not the whole world, but the little bubble of people who care about this kind of thing. Or she re-wears a dress that she wore to a polo match four years ago, and the news picks up on the story.
But I’ve always thought – Wow, way to go Kate. Because it really is a waste of money, material and time (among other things, I’m sure) to make yet another pair of shoes or another dress. To be strong and bold enough to decide, when you’re in a position like Kate is, that you’re going to go against the trend and wear something again is quite impressive.
Similarly, Jane. Good ol’ Fonda decided at the Oscars last night to wear a dress that she previously wore to another shindig. And she was holding a red coat – a coat that she bought awhile ago and declared, when she bought it, that it was the last new item of clothing she would ever buy. She is in the ranks of those worrying about climate change and is putting her money and actions where her beliefs are.
There were a few others who got in on the sustainability action as well. Joaquin Phoenix came in the same tuxedo he has worn throughout the awards season, declaring that one tux is enough for all events. Kaitlyn Dever wore a dress that was made from eco-friendly fiber and Saoirse Ronan had a Gucci gown with a bodice that was made from black satin left over from another dress she recently wore.
What does this have to do with me? In our house, we are trying to find ways to focus on sustainability. We have no paper goods in the house. None. We use regular plates, mugs, etc. for all of our entertaining and we even have dishes and silverware that we take on vacation with us. We recycle and try to stay conscious of other ways that we can cut down on our global footprint.
But one way that I’ve never considered until now is clothing. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of secondhand stores, but I’ve never been a secondhand shopper. Recently, my darling 6th son has decided he must take judo. And those judo outfits are expensive! Yes, the other kids did karate, and a few even did judo, but I paid for all of those uniforms with the assumption that they would pass down from kid to kid; but with the last kid, I just didn’t want to pay for one more outfit for a class that he might only enjoy for a few months. So I found myself, recently, at the secondhand store in Efrat called Nerissa’s Place, where I was pleasantly surprised. Everything is really organized and nicely labeled! And so inexpensive. And while I was there trying to find that judo outfit, I happened to see the cutest skirt that I just had to buy (10 shekel!) and a few really nice scarves (3 shekel each!). I left the store (with judo pants as well) feeling like I’d won the lottery, and that got me thinking about sustainability.
Certainly, people enjoy shopping at secondhand stores because they are incredibly inexpensive. But do they help in the climate change discussion enough to make a difference? Recycling clothing can be just as helpful and productive as recycling other items – and it certainly makes sense to find beautiful used items and to enjoy them rather than buying something that was just made (and that used up resources in the making).
I can’t guarantee that I will become a secondhand junkie, but I will think more often before I buy and consider finding more of the fun secondhand stores around the area. You probably won’t see me getting arrested with Jane Fonda, but I can certainly find little and creative ways to cut down on my footprint (while still enjoying my fashion).
What about you?