Second-hand shopping like a pro
Clothing is a huge part of our unnecessary consumer habits. I would have been shocked as a young person if someone bought a new outfit to wear only once (unless it was the school ball). Now it is quite common!
The International Panel on Climate Change has estimated that fashion is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as excessive use of water and synthetic chemicals to produce and finish textiles.
Second hand clothes are an eco-answer to having the variety you need in your wardrobe.
Here are some tips on how to buy well:
Dress Comfortably: Wear clothes and shoes that are easy to take off. This might sound like strange advice, but if you're in and out of changing rooms, it makes a big difference to be able to try items on with ease. You can also wear clothes that you can try things on over – like leggings and a tank top. it is a good idea to know your body measurements by heart or have them stored on your phone for quick reference – and bring a tape measure.
Know What You're Looking For: Because there are so many options at a thrift store, keeping an ongoing list of items you need helps to narrow down the search. (It's still a good idea, though, to keep an eye out for those unexpected gems.)
Know Your Personal Style: Try saving pictures of looks you like to a private collection on Instagram or Pinterest. Reference this when in doubt about what might look good.
Look for Quality: You need to develop a critical eye when shopping secondhand. Scan items for stains (particularly underarm), spots, holes, loose threads, missing buttons, broken zippers. Make sure the seams are strong and check that the material isn't worn thin in places. Sniff the item to make sure it smell fresh and clean. Ask yourself, "Would I walk out of the store wearing this?" Depending on your style, many thrifted items can actually look better than new. Think of soft graphic tees, cozy sweatshirts, and trendy ripped jeans that already look like you've put in the years of wear.
Choose Natural Fibers Whenever Possible: Natural fibers, such as cotton, hemp, wool, and linen, tend to age better and pill less than synthetic and blended materials. They do not release microplastic particles when washed, and they will biodegrade at the end of their life. They're generally easier to repair, too. (Learn more about the benefits of natural fibers here.)
Seek Out Children's Clothes: If you have children, secondhand is a great way to dress them. Kids grow and go through clothing so quickly that it becomes prohibitively expensive to buy new items for them. Look for clothes, outerwear, sporting gear, boots, and shoes at the thrift store, and continue the cycle by donating whatever they outgrow that's still in good condition.
Go Online: You will be surprised what’s out there
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