A Week Of Outfits With
Vintage Lover Alex Spence
The Good Trade's Week of Outfits Series highlights women that have personally inspired us to shop and live with intention. Each woman takes her own unique approach to slow fashion and demonstrates how beautifully sustainable fashion can come to life. Today we're excited to share a week of outfits from Alex Spence, who manages content creation and social media for the vintage store, Common Sort.
// ABOUT ALEX //
Age | 31
Location | Toronto, ON
Occupation | Content creator, photographer, and social media manager for Common Sort
Where To Find Her | Instagram, Blog (although I haven’t updated in a long time), and Pinterest
Favorite Brand | I pretty much only shop secondhand and vintage, and almost all of my clothes come from Common Sort… so, Common Sort ;)
From as far back as I can remember, I have loved clothing and style. My sartorial choices and approach to fashion have changed a lot throughout my life (I feel as though I have lived many lives through my style) but my relationship to clothing has remained a constant love affair.
When I first began to shop secondhand and vintage, it was more out of necessity than as an inclination towards sustainability, humanitarianism, ethics, and environmentalism. Back when I was a teenager, I was drawn to a goth/punk aesthetic, which was largely based around DIY. I’d thrift clothing that I would then alter to create the look I wanted; it didn’t make sense to buy new clothes only to tear them apart.
When I got a bit older, I began dressing in styles from decades past but, once again, the clothes I wanted to wear, I could not find new—they were the clothes my mother wore in her youth or the clothes from my grandmother’s generation. Most of the things I had in my wardrobe I either thrifted or bought at a vintage store.
It wasn’t until I started working for Common Sort—a clothing resale store here in Toronto—that I began to have an interest in modern day brands and styles. I was simultaneously learning about the damage the modern day fashion industry causes. When I was promoted to social media manager and content creator for the store, I began to inform myself on why our store owner Nicole started her business and the ethos behind secondhand as a response to clothing waste.
The more I learned about the fashion industry, its impact on our earth, and the unfair wages and unsafe work conditions factory workers must endure, the more I felt a strong desire to not be a part of the problem. So while my aesthetic is now informed by some trends and specific brands, I restrict myself from buying new clothes almost entirely (I think it’s important to note that we can’t all be 100% sustainable all of the time, and I strongly feel that as long as we are doing what we can, as best as we can, there should be no shame in that).
If I want to dress on trend or in modern styles, I feel I need to work a bit harder for it. Instead of just buying something new off the rack, I need to find it or something similar secondhand. Through this approach, I often realize I didn’t actually want that item as much as I thought, or I find it and appreciate it that much more.
When it comes to my personal Instagram, I try to show people that it’s possible to be current with your style and shop secondhand. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive—you just need to put in a bit more effort and have a little more patience to build your ideal wardrobe through thrifting.
I have now built a wardrobe that is about 98% secondhand and I’m really proud to say that, but I also realize my privilege in living in a large city like Toronto that has some really great options for secondhand shopping; that doesn’t exist everywhere. My hope is that the more people show an interest in secondhand and thrifting, and not just vintage, the more we will find secondhand stores popping up in smaller cities. There are so many clothes on this planet and a disturbing amount end up in landfills—it’s important that we have places for unwanted clothes to live on instead of being tossed away.
This is the type of outfit I’d wear to work, but I’d maybe switch out the heels for something a bit lower or a flat shoe. When I’m working, I’m moving a lot—getting down on the ground while I’m shooting content—so I like to be as comfy as possible. This means nothing too tight and nothing that may expose my butt. ;P
Vintage Nevada Jeans
(All of Above From Common Sort)
I am very drawn to masculine oversized looks in neutral palettes. For me, the key to keeping a look like this feeling chic and feminine is adding a heel and simple jewelry. Side note: I used to have a strong aversion to flip-flops (most people do, I think). It’s likely because it’s a trend for this summer and I'm seeing them everywhere, but I’m all about them now… give me a traditional flip-flop, one with a heel… I want them all!
This is the kind of outfit that always makes feel good: a white button-up, jeans, and heels. It’s the outfit I reach for when I’m having trouble coming up with a look in the morning or having one of those days where I’m feeling negative about my appearance (we all feel that way sometimes, don’t we?). Minimalist style plays a big role in my aesthetic, but I like a bit of interest to my basics, like with this Tibi shirt. I thrifted it in NYC and could not believe my luck! Tibi is one of my favorite brands so it felt extra special to find it in a thrift shop. The only catch is I get nervous wearing it, for fear of stains.
If I’m going to wear a feminine dress, I will usually dress it down with a casual shoe like a sneaker. There is a gender fluidity to my style, so I try to avoid leaning too much into one side. I’m always aiming to find the perfect union between masculine and feminine, making space for something that feels a bit agender.
Cowboy boots have a lot to say on their own, so when I wear them, I like pairing them with something simple. Almost every time I wear these boots, I pair them with business attire, like a blazer, trousers, or this suit dress. I’m not sure why; I think they come from such opposite spectrums that they balance each other out. The boots make the suit more fun and the suit makes the boots more chic.
While I’m mostly a pants wearer, late spring/early summer is when I start to bring out my dresses. I am a creature of comfort in all aspects of my life, and my style is no exception. You’ll rarely see me in a tight fitting dress. I’m all about a loose fit like this t-shirt dress. My partner joked that I looked ready for a tennis match in this look... it was probably the, "I have a country club membership,' vibe the sweater over the shoulders was giving off.
This is my ultimate weekend look: comfy, with a blazer pulling it together! Finding these Adidas sneakers was one of my more #blessed thrifting moments. The week before, I found myself browsing on the Adidas website looking at these exact Falcon sneakers. I had been struggling for months to thrift a good sneaker and was considering just buying them new. But, I kid you not, I found the exact sneakers that I had been eyeing the following week at my work… in my size and the color I liked. If that’s not fate, well, I don’t know what is.