It’s been three days shy of a year since I walked into our local Goodwill store, having not thrift store shopped in a couple of decades.
I found a $4.00 grey Armani blazer that, in my excitement, I mistakenly believed was in excellent condition.
A cigarette burn I missed and a foul odor I didn’t pick up on right away caused me to send it right back to Goodwill, after I paid $7.00 to have it dry cleaned.
But that didn’t stop me from visiting the thrift shop again, this time with a eye out for blemishes and a nose on alert for bad smells. On my next trip, I had success.
Since last November, I have amassed quite a number of gently used garments. Here are a few of my fall and winter favorites.
Banana Republic LBD, $8.00
That’s five versatile wardrobe pieces, all in new or like new condition, for $41.00. I don’t know about you, but I can rarely find a quality blouse at the mall for less than $50.00.
Yesterday, Bella of Citizen Rosebud wrote this post. And in it is this:
Shop Secondhand First
I pledge to shop secondhand first. I resolve to buy items that are thrifted, swapped or hand down. My aim is to limit my consumption, and in doing so I make my shopping more sustainable. I pledge to support businesses who commit to sustainable + smart design. My focus is on quality, ethically produced new is my conscious go-to. I will barter and swap when possible, and shop charity, consignment and flea markets when probable. I pledge to shop secondhand and sustainable because I put the planet first.
What Bella wrote spoke to me. Lately, I have been too quick to go online to buy clothes, or pop into Banana Republic or Macys when I want to add something new to my wardrobe.
Although I still thrift shop occasionally, I confess that lately it’s not been my primary way to buy clothes.
Bella has inspired me to re-committ to secondhand shopping. My motivation is not just financial, although saving money thrills me. It’s about feeling good about my purchases.
When I buy clothes from one of the huge, cheaply priced chain stores, I often feel badly about it. It’s a type of buyers remorse but not because I spent too much money, but rather because I spent money on a business that has a gargantuan and ever-changing inventory, pitiful quality, bargain-basement prices, poorly paid salespeople, and garments that are, more likely than not, made in a sweatshop.
When I buy clothes from a thrift shop or consignment shop, I feel great! No remorse. No guilt. No questions about the shop’s business practices. I believe I am giving a garment or piece of jewelry a second chance.
|Chunky, gold-toned necklace $6.00|
When I want to add something to my closet, I will look at secondhand stores first, with a few exceptions:
~ Under garments and lingerie
~ Swim suits
~ Shoes, unless I come across a pair that I like in great condition in my size of 11
~ Most pants and jeans. My inseam is 36″. Retail is already difficult enough.
And I leave the door open for handcrafted items made by small business owners, high-end pieces on deep-discount made in the US or Europe and things I buy while traveling to distant places.
I don’t expect to be a perfectly loyal secondhand shopper for an entire year. I may buy a dress at a department store for an event should I not have something appropriate to wear in my closet. Or I might purchase a cashmere sweater new because used cashmere is usually not in very good shape. But I don’t want big retail to have the bulk of my shopping wad. My main focus will be on used clothing.
I’d love for you to take Bella’s pledge with me in some form. If you have never thrift shopped before, try it once and see what you find.
If you are a causal thrift shopper, make your local thrift or consignment shop your first stop rather than the mall.
Secondhand shopping not only to saves you money, but it’s a good thing to do for the planet, for your community, and for your soul.