I ramble on and on to you guys about all the food I put in my face, and while that is a HUGE passion of mine, another thing I am passionate about is thrift and consignment shopping! Why you ask? Because it is good. Plain and simple, thrift shopping is a good thing to do. It’s good for your wallet. Its good for your self esteem (I mean, how smoking do you feel in an awesome pair of already broken-in skinny jeans that you just scored for $7?!). But one of my absolutely favorite reasons to thrift is because it is good for the environment.
Considering it is Earth Day Week, this seemed like the perfect time to talk about how amazing thrifting is for you and the world. But, I am just a novice in this department. I don’t have any tips or tricks to offer you. So, for this “These are a few of my favorite things,” I brought out the big guns and asked a professional to help me guide you guys in the glory of thrift shopping!
My friend, Stasia Savasuk, might be the world’s most amazing thrifter. So amazing, in fact, that she built a whole business and blog (Thrift Me Pretty) around teaching people how to style themselves in beautiful clothes from thrift stores! The following is her guest post outlining her tips, tricks, and benefits of thrift shopping.
I thrift. It’s how buy almost all of my clothes. Yes, thrifting saves money (which I LOVE!), but that’s not the primary reason I do it. I do it because it’s a way for me to participate in the world of style and fashion, while holding true to my values. And because this is EARTH DAY week, I’m going to focus on the environmental aspect of fashion.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the term, fast fashion. If not, let me educate you. Fast fashion clothing collections (and brands) are based off of recent fashion trends, which are then designed and manufactured quickly and cheaply to allow consumers to purchase today’s trends at low bargain prices. In order to achieve these crazy low prices at record production speed, clothing is manufactured under poor working conditions using inferior fabrics and craftsmanship (source) – which means the clothing falls apart and lands in the waste-stream faster than you can say sustainability.
Affordable – yes. Horrible for the planet – ABSOLUTELY!
I studied Ecology in college, and this idea of disposable fashion (aka – fast fashion) makes me crazy.
If you ask me, I think there is enough stuff on this planet for all of us, right this very minute, if we all just shared a little bit.
And this is where thrifting comes in. It’s the ultimate way to upcycle, recycle and refresh your wardrobe with top notch brands, at an affordable price, that is oh so good for our planet.
That fabulous dress you don’t want anymore because you never really liked it that much anyway – DONATE IT – and you’ll set off a cascade of goodness!
1. You’ll no longer have that wrong-for-you-piece in your closet, bringing you down every time you look at it.
2. The organization that you donated it to will sell your cast-off, in turn sustaining their bottom line, allowing them to offer great community programming.
3. I can buy your fabulous dress that makes me feel wildly beautiful and courageous at a discounted price, while supporting my local thrift shop, AND reusing what’s already been produced!
WOWZA. What’s not to like there!!
I know what you’re thinking…
But Stasia, thrifting is HARD! I feel like I always get home with some broken, unsewn, button-missing, torn piece of junk. NO MORE my friends, because I’m offering you my TOP 10 THRIFTING TIPS, right now!
1. Pit Stains & Ring Around the Collar (eww) – always look for both pit stains AND ring around the collar with lighter colored shirts. Take the garment over to the window where you can do a good pit/neck band inspection under natural light conditions. If you say ANY yellowing, put it back!
2. Zippers – if the garment, shoe or boot has a zipper, try it. Make sure it works. And make sure there isn’t any funky fabric that might get stuck in the zipper. Try the zipper with the garment/shoe/boot on your body because sometimes it’s all in the angle that you’re zipping from.
3. Buttons & Snaps- if it’s got buttons or snaps, make sure you account for all of them, and make sure they all work. If you can sew, and a button is missing, see if there is a hide-a-button that you can use. Also, make sure that all the buttons fit through the buttonholes. I’ve found a number of brand new pants at thrift stores with buttons that don’t fit through the buttonhole!
4. Price Tags – these are most often attached to a product’s seam or brand label via feather/barb/staple. But sometimes, a careless employee will shoot/staple right through the fabric, leaving a big old ugly hole right in the fabric! No good.
5. Pockets – be sure to put your hands in all the pockets to make sure your fingers doon’t slide all the way through!
6. Hems – always look for loose hems! Especially with jersey knit shirts. The first hem to go (seems to me) is the hem at the bottom of the shirt. I’ve bought too many shirts with loose/undone hems that have literally fallen apart in my first post-thrift-shop wash. Turn your garments inside out before purchasing to check that all seams and hems are intact.
7. Pills – I hate them. If a sweater or shirt has pills on it, there are two things you need to decide. 1. Do you want to take the time to de-pill the garment? 2. Do you want a garment that pills (and will need de-pilling) in the first place? Not me!
8. NWT – be leary. Just because something is New With Tags, doesn’t mean you’ve hit the jackpot. There might be a very good reason why somebody donated it in the first place! Like, it was sewn together all wonky and it fits crooked. Or, it got a slice in it when the purchaser used scissors to open their mail order package, and cut a hole right through the fabric.
9. Dry Clean Only – if going to the cleaners isn’t your thing, then check the washing instructions. That said, I’ve bought a gajillion sweaters that say Dry Clean Only, and I ALWAYS hand wash them in the sink without incident. Sometimes, it’s worth the $4 risk.
10. Brand – it’s simple. Higher quality items have a greater life expectancy than a lower quality, fast fashion, label. In other words, a cheap pair of jeans will stretch, fade and lose their shape much sooner than a pair of high quality jeans. When I thrift, I stick to the better labels to ensure that what I bring into my closet is a piece of integrity and longevity.