Recently, I shared my reasons for quitting fast fashion and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in the past few years. Since I’m no longer buying from traditional stores at the mall, I’ve started exploring new options for adding clothing and accessories to my closet. This had led me to get creative when searching for specific items and also have a more open mind to secondhand clothes in general.
Now how does one buy clothes when not buying from your regular fashion stores? At first, I wasn’t too sure myself. Of course I knew about thrift stores, but even I’ll admit that that can be time consuming with little return. There are days I go thrifting and hit it big time with whole outfits. Then there’s other times when I leave with absolutely nothing.
Then there’s the fact that when buying secondhand, the pieces have to be sifted through to find what speaks to you. But that’s also one of the highlights of not buying fast fashion (in my opinion). You get to truly decide what pieces fit your style and what you’ll love wearing. Since buying clothes exclusively secondhand, I’ve noticed that I’m so much happier with my outfits than I ever was buying what was “on trend”. This also make my my secondhand purchases more sustainable because I’m more likely to keep them long term.
So with that here are the places I buy my clothes secondhand after quitting fast fashion.
This is the main place I’ve been buying clothes over the past few months. I have enjoyed thrifting for a few years, and in 2018 started shopping almost exclusively at thrift store because of my budget. I was determined to become debt-free in 2018 (and I did!) so buying new clothes was kind out of the question. When I quit fast fashion all together, thrift stores became my go-to for new clothing pieces and other household items.
Thrift stores can have some gems. I’ve found great pieces from high-end brands for over 50% to 75% of the original cost. Once you start seeing the prices you can be paying for clothes versus buying new, honestly it’s hard to go back. The gems also come from the unique pieces that you can find. Really, it’s you that defines what the gems are.
Buying from your local thrift stores is also one of the more sustainable options. Buying local means no shipping costs or packaging (bring your own bag!), and the donations are usually from local residents too. A few of the thrift stores available throughout the U.S. are Savers, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army. Don’t forget about the locally owned thrift stores that benefit your community!
If you’re looking for more trendy, name brand pieces, I recommend trying a consignment store. Consignment sells secondhand pieces on behalf of others. Consignment stores are also great if you’ve been decluttering and have gently used items you were going to otherwise donate. Try consigning them instead!
It’s a pretty simple concept: sellers bring in their secondhand items (my local store includes clothes, household items, furniture and more), the store puts the items out in the store, and when the item sells the store takes a small percentage of the sale before returning the rest of the profit back to the original owner. If items don’t sell after a certain time frame set, the clothes can either be picked up or are donated. At my local store, if I bring in items that are out of season, the store will hold them in storage until it has a higher chance of selling in another season.
Consignment is also a great option when looking for something specific or for a special occasion. It’s also where I prefer buying athletic clothes since the items are often in like-new condition. There’s a bit of a taboo surrounding secondhand clothes, let alone secondhand athletic clothes, but this is where I’ve have to had an open mind. Just pay close attention to items’ conditions in the store and disinfect in the wash (on the sanitize cycle, with vinegar, regular laundry detergent, among other options).
Poshmark is a great place for the shopper who wants to quit fast fashion, but is still looking for the shopping experience and trendy pieces. Poshmark is an online marketplace where users can sell secondhand items, ranging from clothing, accessories, beauty, and other unique items. You can browse the listings via their app or website filtering by brand, size, colors, and more! In addition to buying via the app/website, you can also sell your secondhand items and make a little money. It’s basically the online version of a consignment store.
Again, this is a great option when searching for a specific item for a special occasion and trendy athletic clothes. Lately, I’ve been browsing the site for a dress for our friend’s wedding this summer. I’m also slowly picking up pieces for our trip to Mexico. I’m always browsing the thrift stores for these items, but having an online store to shop from can make things a little easier.
As I’ve been decluttering my closet during the past few months, I’ve been listing pieces to sell that need a new home. It’s always better finding a new home for your secondhand clothes and accessories rather than donating them right away. Usually, I list my items for a few weeks and if they don’t sell, I’ll move onto consigning them. Check out my Poshmark listings if you’re interested in learning more about the site!
Another great online shopping resource to browse secondhand is eBay. I’ve used eBay many times in the past for specific pieces – such as my Adidas gym bag and Merrel hiking boots. But it hasn’t always been a go-to website for me. I’ve been missing out! eBay has just about anything that you could want, and often many of the listings have free or discounted shipping!
eBay is similar to Poshmark in that you can narrow down your search by size, shipping location, and style. Because of the endless number of listings on the site, I find that I have to sift through the items more than other sites. Also, you can’t always buy the item outright, since eBay listings offer bidding. Again, if this isn’t something you’re into, you can filter the buying option during your search. Be sure to double check that the item you’re buying is pre-owned in the description.
Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist
I’m starting to discover how amazing Facebook Marketplace and Cragislist are. In my opinion, Facebook Marketplace is better than Craigslist because of its all-in-one platform. You can search, save, and message sellers on the platform, and see the sellers rating based on previous listings. Also, the price is usually negotiable because of the resell value and most people are looking to get rid of what they no longer want.
Facebook or Cragslist listings are a great option when it comes to sustainability because there’s usually no shipping and it’s local. The downside to Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, however, is that you have to sift through all the listings to find specific items. Same goes for sizes, colors and designs.
Which of these options is your favorite for thrifting and buying secondhand?