Sometimes it feels as though fashion has sped up, doesn’t it? While trends used to circle back round at a leisurely pace, now they sink and resurface quick enough to give us a kind of sartorial whiplash.
Case in point: the current reign of Y2k style, which has everyone reaching for the same bias cuts, bandanas and velour tracksuits that we were only stuffing into a bin liner bound for the charity shop a hot minute ago. No sooner had we trained ourselves to stop referencing Sex and the City every time we wore a corsage or ate a cupcake, than those early series circled back round and we started flirting with kitten-heeled mules and Baguette bags again.
But flirting is the key word here, because how often do these things bed in for a long-term relationship? Many don’t last a whole summer. How many times did you wear that padded headband before it gave you a migraine and got usurped by a giant hair clip? Be honest.
And while the looks might be familiar, one thing is very different since the dawning of the new millennium. With some 300,000 tonnes of used clothing now festering in UK landfill alone, and an estimated £2.7 billion spent this year on clothes we’ll only wear once, we’re in the midst of a fast fashion crisis.
Which is why the most logical way to buy into the Y2k style redux is to seek out the originals. By which I mean: secondhand.
It’s cheaper, it’s more sustainable, it’s so much less guilt-making when you inevitably go off the idea in three weeks' time. And the helpful thing about these trends being barely old enough to drink is that so many of them are still out there, well-preserved and just waiting to be unearthed in your local charity or vintage shop.
True, there’s no guarantee you’ll always find the exact thing you’re looking for in the size you need – but you’d be surprised how easy it can be, especially since these days we have something our turn-of-the-century selves didn’t: a well-stocked internet. Now that you can buy from Oxfam on ASOS, TRAID on eBay and endless quality vintage via Instagram and Depop, there’s no excuse for a flash-in-the-pan Zara fling anymore.
Here are five great preloved buys for this season, to remind you that second really is the best.