Sustainably Thrifty

In Sustainability by jen@wunderkid.coLeave a Comment

No matter how much you love (or hate) the song “Thrift Shop,” you probably haven’t considered turning to thrift stores for most of your wardrobe. But if you’re considering building a more conscious wardrobe, your local thrift store might just become your new favorite place.
As more and more consumers are choosing to build a more conscious, slow wardrobe, they are turning to thrift stores, as buying clothes secondhand is a good way to both reduce wasting clothes and to also perhaps donate to a local cause. That’s right: thrifting isn’t just for Macklemore and the equally-problematic hipsters he’s come to represent. As wonderful as new sustainable fashion brands are, the steep prices are for many of us just not something we can afford, no matter how much we’d like to.
Enter thrift, vintage, and secondhand stores, which have already gained popularity with younger consumers. Sure, you can’t get everything at a thrift or secondhand store, but there’s good news: there are more options for you to find affordable pieces secondhand than ever before.
It all depends on how intentionally you want to thrift. Here are a few tips on how to go about start building a more sustainably-thrifted wardrobe intentionally.

Identify your local thrift stores and which organizations they represent.
Near us, there are a variety of thrift stores that benefit a variety of causes (To name a few in our vicinity: bigger organizations like Goodwill, as well as our local Hospice, Assistance League, and pet rescue societies all have thrift storefronts nearby.) Before you start shopping, take the time to discover which organization your favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) thrift store benefits. You probably know that Goodwill provides “education, training, work experience and job placement services” for individuals with “disabilities or disadvantages.” But what about the other thrift stores near you? Do you know what their organization stands for? Take some time to do your research if you’re planning on being very intentional with your spending.

Thrift or Secondhand?
Some places you might think are thrift stores are actually secondhand or consignment shops. Which, arguably, might not make them less sustainable, but it might change your mindset. Typical sizes of secondhand shops may vary, from Savers (which also sells new clothes) to a local vintage shop to small boutique secondhand shop chains like Crossroads Trading, which are surging in popularity in Southern California. If you’re looking to be more intentional with your spending, again, you might want to look into the shop’s mission before buying from them. Are they non- or for-profit?

Online Thrifting?
Yes, you can now thrift online. Sites like ThredUp and The RealReal have taken thrifting to cyberspace. However, these sites do exist to make a profit. So if it’s nonprofit online shopping you’re looking for, you’ll have to do a bit more digging.

Basically, a good rule of thumb is that the more intentional you want to be with thrifting, the more work and research you’ll have to do. Which, if you’re committed, won’t be a problem: it might even be a part of the fun.

Caring for Thrifted and Secondhand Items
Sometimes the reason pieces are in a thrift shop is because they’re torn or damaged. However, you can fix minor tears and holes with a needle and thread, and no one will be the wiser. Don’t be put off if you’ve never sewn anything before in your life: YouTube is here for you.
In addition, if you’re committed to a thrifted piece that’s perfect…except for the fact that it needs to be altered, you’ll want to find a good tailor in your area. Google and the phone book (or asking around among friends) can be a great way to find the perfect tailor.
As far as caring for thrifted items goes, we’ve turn to this awesome piece from Sustainably Chic to guide us in the past.

Basically, a good rule of thumb is that the more intentional you want to be with thrifting, the more work and research you’ll have to do. Which, if you’re committed, won’t be a problem: it might even be a part of the fun.

 
 

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