Buying clothes secondhand is a very divisive practice. On one side, there are the people who think it’s gross and beneath them — something only poor people do; on the other, there are the people who love shopping at secondhand stores and get almost all of their clothing from them.
It’s hard for the latter to convince the former otherwise, mainly because they refuse to step foot in a secondhand or thrift store. But when they do, very often the naysayers become converts as they realize all the great reasons to buy secondhand.
Save Money on Quality Clothing
The primary reason for shopping at a thrift store for clothes is obvious: it’s cheaper. Most items are priced under $10 and often less than $5. It’s possible to get an entire outfit for less than $20.
Imagine all the money that can be saved from buying secondhand instead of from department stores. You could buy more groceries, save for a family vacation, or buy better Christmas presents this year.
Thrift stores like Goodwill even have sales like regular retail stores do! Some stores offer $3 clothing days, where every piece of clothing is $3. There are also tag sales, where certain colored tags are discounted by 50 percent off or more, and many secondhand stores also offer special discounts for senior citizens and the military.
While you won’t always find current pieces or name brands at secondhand stores, when you do they will be at least one-third of the original retail price, if not more! It’s not uncommon to find a $200 pair of shoes for $10 at a thrift store. A lot of the time, these items are in like new condition or even brand new with tags.
All of us are guilty of buying something and then letting it sit unworn in our closet for months and maybe even years. Donating it to a secondhand store lets someone else have the opportunity to make use of it and look fabulous while doing so.
Score Vintage Pieces for Less
If you pay attention to fashion at all, you’ve realized old styles are often made new again. Currently, styles from the 70s, 80s and 90s are walking the runway and coming back in vogue.
Instead of heading to your nearest high-end fashion store for these new versions of old styles, why not head to a secondhand store where you can purchase the real thing? You’ll undoubtedly find vintage pieces at a thrift store for a fraction of the price of modern reproductions.
Plus, there’s the added bonus of not showing up to work or a party wearing the same thing as someone else. Original vintage has become one-of-a-kind at this point as most duplicates have been worn out or trashed.
Speaking of trash, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office of solid waste and emergency response estimates that Americans throw away 68lbs of clothing per person per year.
As the fashion industry perpetuates trends and encourages consumers to buy what’s in style, textile waste goes up. Buying secondhand puts your dollars toward prolonging the life of a garment, reusing it or recycling it into something else instead of chucking into a landfill.
As a consumer, what you spend your money on effects what is produced and how frequently. If you don’t want to be part of the problem, be part of the solution and reduce your carbon footprint in the process.
Support a Good Cause
There are additional feel-good reasons for buying your clothes secondhand: most thrift shops are run by charities and non-profit organizations that benefit the local community. Some are associated with religious groups, but many are secular as well.
The Salvation Army, while considered a Christian organization, provides secular resources and jobs for the homeless, poor, and those recovering from substance abuse. Goodwill offers jobs and training to those with disabilities, often partnering with local businesses to reduce unemployment. The sale of clothing purchased at many thrift stores goes directly to these programs and helping people in need.
Buy Clothing Guilt-Free
If you are the type of person who will only wear an outfit once, especially if it’s for a big event or special occasion, buying secondhand is an affordable way to do so. Thrift stores have a constant influx of new items coming in daily with styles for every taste.
If you have teenagers, don’t be afraid to take them shopping for homecoming or prom outfits, as thrift stores are not limited to casual attire. Secondhand stores are especially great for finding costumes during Halloween or for parties.
Because donors are from all ages and walks of life, you never know what you may find when you peruse the aisles of a thrift shop. Many stores stockpile Halloween costumes and period outfits they find during the year and put them on sale in a special boutique during the month of October. Once you have bought something and worn it, you can re-donate it to allow for someone else to make use of the item.
As you can see, buying your clothes secondhand is a valuable way to stretch a dollar. It offers variety, affordability and fun while on a shopping trip. Plus, you will know exactly where your money is going.
Next time you want to splurge on a new pair of jeans or boots, check your local thrift store first. You might just be able to buy two for the price of one!