Get ready to feel really good about yourself. I know you’re concerned about your carbon and slavery footprint (You are, right? Good.) but just don’t have the time, energy, and resources to buy locally sourced and stitched goods to cover your body. It’s hard enough to remember which produce to buy organic, then we have to figure out which blouses are organic cotton? The struggle is real. But you know what’s also real? We consume 80 billion pieces of new clothing every year. Fast fashion has made design turnover faster than servers at Chili’s. And it comes at a cost you don’t pay with your AmEx. All this consumption takes a huge toll on the environment and the [pretty much slave] labor that produces it. I could delve deeper but I recommend watching The True Cost, a documentary on Netflix about what you’re really paying for when you buy that new shirt that you “kind of like but it’s on sale so whatever.”
So here’s the bright side, you can have all the trendy apparel you want from any brand you like without adding to your carbon or slavery footprint. Buying secondhand is the simplest move you can make to save the world and push the fashion industry in a more ethical direction. And best of all, it’s cheaper than retail. You’ll save 50-90% and get pieces that are good quality and timeless. Hate the idea of the smelly thrift store and don’t know where to start on your secondhand journey? Here are some of my favorites:
These are great because they’re brick and mortar shops where you can touch and try on everything. This is always where I start when I’m hankering for something fresh to put in my closet. Plato’s is the most wallet friendly, Revolve has a great vintage section, and Mentor is where you go to get your business casual (and where to send you mom when she asks you about all your new threads.) They’re all picky about what they buy so you can be assured you’re getting top-notch quality.
This is an online consignment store that has women’s, children’s, and maternity clothing ranging from high end to Target brands. They also carry accessories. I love the styles and variety they have (200,000+ items,) and every piece I’ve purchased from them has been exceptional quality. My favorite thing about them though is their passion for sustainable clothing practices and their commitment to education and the environment.
Another great online consignment that, in addition to women and children, carries men’s, baby clothes/gear, toys, books, and movies! They have a massive variety of things to choose from (600,000+ items) at great prices.
You’ve heard of the great work Oxfam is doing to eliminate poverty around the world. Did you know they accept donated goods at their stores in the UK and post them online for your shopping pleasure? This is a great way to get European brands for a fraction of the cost and feel so so good about yourself while doing it. Their online shop is easy to navigate and even includes a bridal section. And international shipping is less than $8 for most purchases.
I could go on but these should get you started for the next time you need a dress for a wedding, new colors in your closet, or gifts for loved (and acquainted) ones.