Switching to Consigned or Thrifted, Used Clothing: Can I do it?
I’m seriously considering switching to thrifting as the majority of my purchases.
I am thinking 75% of my clothing budget this year should be secondhand.
Not 100%, because I won’t buy used underwear, socks or intimates but for things like sweaters, tops, dresses, purses, jewellery… I’m starting to get more and more into the idea.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THRIFTED AND USED CLOTHING
Photograph of my wardrobe
Thrifted: Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village — all places where people donate clothes and things for free by the garbage bag.
Consignment: People drop off higher quality, nice things for resale, and get a percentage when the item sells, usually 40% – 60%.
You will see mostly designer brands like Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Louis Vuitton or high street designer-y brands like J. Crew, or Anthropologie here.
This is my preferred place for used clothes shopping, mostly because people who care about their clothes, want their money back (or as much of it as possible), and tend to take fairly good care of their items.
(At least, I do…)
In no particular order, here are the reasons for me to consider doing so:
REASON #1: IT’S CHEAPER THAN NICER STUFF AT RETAIL
I’ve scored plenty of great deals on clothes and things, at a fraction of the original retail cost.
A few of my great scores:
- Hermes Cashmere & Silk Sweater = $200, originally thousands of dollars
- Cashmere Sweaters = $30, originally $200 – $800 per sweater
- DKNY Grey Swavroski Necklace Collar T-Shirt = $20, originally $300
Since I won’t be paying the full retail price of the item, it is technically not that hot for the economy because I wouldn’t be buying anything that is newly produced, but I’d contribute by helping consignment and thrift stores grow their business, and it gives money back to those who sold their clothes, and they can go spend that money.
But it isn’t as cheap as a $5 top because I actually want higher quality clothing (I’m not necessarily focused on brand names).
REASON #2: IT ISN’T CHEAP IN THE WAY THAT WILL KILL ME
I never thought about chemicals in the processing of clothing, but it makes so much sense now.
I won’t say that I believe everything I read from GreenPeace 100% without a grain of salt, but it still makes me think more about the choices I make with my money.
REASON #3: I ALREADY HAVE A BASIC WARDROBE
I really don’t need any clothes, so it becomes a great thing if I DON’T find anything that is my size, or in the colour I like.
…but if I do, what a find!!!!
I’d be talking about my finds until my future grandchildren run from the room.
REASON #4: ENSLAVED & POOR CONDITIONS FOR CHEAP LABOUR FOR CHEAP CLOTHES IS DISTRESSING
Katy wrote about Bangledeshi workers who were trapped in their factories, dying from fires, while trying to produce clothing for H&M, Wal-Mart, Gap, and J.C. Penney.
I’m already not a huge fan of China because of a wide range of reasons (politically, socially, economically, ethically, environmentally), and it bothers me slightly that literally everything I touch, is Made in China.
We all know why it’s made in China, too.
I’m not saying other countries are better or that I can be guaranteed that the fabric purchased to be made into clothing by North American or European countries has not been originally sourced from China.
It’s just really tough, and physically painful to read about, and see heartbreaking videos of children chained to machines just to produce newly made cheap clothing for our greedy consumption.
REASON #5: IT’S BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Buying used means another new sweater won’t be made for my consumption.
I’ll be re-consuming what was originally consumed, or recycling and reusing, if you want a simpler word for this.
REASON #6: IT’LL FORCE ME TO APPRECIATE WHAT I HAVE & BE CREATIVE
If I stop buying new things so easily, it won’t be so easy to find what I want to make my outfits change, evolve and be different over time.
If I want a specific style of a sweater, I’ll have to find it by combing stores, even if it takes a year.
It could even be an interesting shopping hunt of sorts.
Instead of window shopping for new things, I hunt for old ones, and end up not spending much because it’ll be harder to find exactly what I want if it’s used.
I’ll have to find ways to make what I have, look different to me.
REASON #7: I WON’T BUY AS MUCH
Instead of telling myself: Self, you’re on a CLOTHING BAN, I will be imposing a rule that will let me have the freedom to buy what I want, but not necessarily telling me to stop completely.
Bans don’t work on me.
If you tell me I can’t eat for 12 hours so I can give blood, and all I can think about for the next 12 hours, is eating.
Eating lots of food, stuffing my face… it doesn’t end.
Photograph I took of my meal in Lyon
It’s the same with shopping. If I can’t shop, then all I want to do and all I can think about, is shopping.
You have to be a lot pickier in thrift stores. There are tons of great deals, but things are not the right size, colour, or they simply don’t look good.
I’ve passed over plenty of nice things because they don’t fit or flatter me. I wished I had a friend there for whom it would look perfect on, but .. alas.
CAN I MAKE IT? WOULD YOU TRY SOMETHING LIKE THIS?