Shopping Secondhand: Here’s What You Need to Know

September 16, 2019

If you’ve ever tried your hand at thrifting, you’ll know that it can be quite the process. The messy racks can feel overwhelming, the search itself time consuming, and the items you do end up deciding to purchase might be few and far between. However, as you’ll discover, there are many benefits to shopping secondhand that end up outweighing the negatives. If you’re looking to give thrifting another try or to start shopping secondhand for the first time, here’s what you need to know.

It’s Environmentally Friendly

One of the main reasons shopping secondhand is increasing in popularity is because it’s an environmentally friendly action. The fact of the matter is, the United States generates an average amount of 25 billion pounds of textiles each year.  Of this, about 15% is recycled, while the remaining 85% ends up in landfills. As textiles take a significant amount of time to decompose, the continual placement of these items into the earth is a serious environmental concern. Shopping secondhand and donating your old clothes* as opposed to throwing them out is the perfect way to do your part in combatting this problem!

Thrifting Takes Time

Once you are ready to set out and start shopping secondhand, it’s always important to keep in mind that, like any shopping experience, thrifting takes time. You don’t want to rush it or you’ll come home with things you don’t want or need. Perhaps you are searching for the perfect vintage pair of jeans. That’s great! Just be sure to approach it like you would any shopping experience making sure it meets your needs and that you aren’t simply seduced by the lower price. Ideally, block out at least an hour to spend at any local consignment shop, especially because, as you know, you have to try things on to get the most out of your purchases.

Sizes vary so much from brand to brand so even when the racks are organized by size, you’ll likely need to experiment to find what fits. Even if you spend the majority of your time in one section with little luck, you never know what you might stumble upon within the last five minutes of browsing. It’s like a treasure hunt and will feel so exciting and satisfying when you find an item you love.

You Can Still Find Name Brands

Contrary to popular belief, shopping secondhand is not limited to out-of-date styles or cheap brands. In fact, many thrift stores carry name brands buried within the racks just waiting to be discovered. However, if you are someone who has an eye for the finer things and you’d prefer not to take the extra time digging for your favorite brands, research local high end thrift stores, or shop online with sites like thredUP. For example, online consignment store thredUP has a variety of your favorite brands for less, and accepts mailed donations of old clothes that you might even be able to earn some cash for. Be sure to explore all of your options and never rule out being able to find brand names at a bargain price. 

And imagine how delighted you’ll feel when you find something you love at an amazing price. Animal print is hot right now and what a fun way to greet a rainy day with this animal print trench coat from thredUP (at 72% off the retail price!).

Location is Important

It’s always a good rule of thumb to take note of the fashion trends you tend to see in the areas surrounding your local thrift stores, as the location of the shop determines the inventory as well. The next time you’re looking for your new favorite thrift store, spend some time observing the nearby area to see if the trip will be worth your while in the first place. If you’re not a preppy kind of gal, but the local stores carry a lot of that style, you might not find the looks you love at that particular thrift store. Scoping it out first will ensure you make some great finds in styles you love,  prevent wasted shopping time, and help you get more enjoymentout of the items in your wardrobe in the long run.

Ask about Restock Day

Typically every local thrift shop has a specific day they set aside for restocking their items from their warehouse. Next time you go secondhand shopping, ask the rep behind the counter when the next restock day is coming, so you can be the first to look through the newly donated items. This way you won’t find yourself stuck looking through the same set of clothing or furniture week after week.

Most importantly, have fun. Approach this like an adventure…a treasure hunt…and you will be rewarded with items you love and that no one else will have! And, of course, if you are (or want to be) a private client, I am happy to shop with you at a thrift or consignment shop anytime. My favorite Stella McCartney handbag came from a consignment shop nearly 10 years ago and I still love using it.

*Learn more about the impact of donating your clothes here: https://totalimageconsultants.com/blog/2015/02/20/eco-friendly-wardrobe-secrets-you-never-knew-part-3-conscientious-consumerism-how-to-discard-your-unwanted-clothing/

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