Shopping secondhand has become my go-to method in the past couple of years; however, prior to my ethical style transformation, I bought everything new. I had several misconceptions about shopping secondhand: it was too much of a hassle to find what I needed; the clothes were not trendy; the clothes would look too worn.
I can say from experience, these misconceptions were unfounded. Some of my favorite pieces I own have come from a consignment or vintage store. Let’s dispel some of these myths that I’ve mentioned as well as address the benefits of shopping secondhand.
Myth 1: It’s too much of a hassle to find what you need.
Unless you need a highly specific item (like a violet bridesmaid’s dress) in a very short amount of time, this is not the case. Even then, I would argue, you may not find it new. As I mentioned in this post, I was able to find this particular dress from a J.Crew catalog nine years ago. Sites like Poshmark, Tradesy, and Ebay are great for locating highly specific items.
Myth 2: Secondhand clothes are not trendy.
Sure, certain places such as Goodwill or Salvation Army may not carry the latest trends, but there are plenty of other consignment stores that specialize in more on-trend styles. (I would like to note that I did find a like-new cashmere coat at Goodwill this winter.) Many consignment stores get new items in every week and therefore it’s helpful to check back frequently.
Myth 3: The clothes look too worn.
The majority of consignment and vintage stores have very strict standards for clothes they will and will not accept. The highest on that list, is whether or not the garment is in good condition. And by good, I mean gently worn. I have bought many secondhand items with the tags still on the garment!
Now that we’ve dispelled the myths about shopping secondhand, let’s discuss the benefits.
Benefit 1: It saves you money.
On average, there is a 50% reduction on the cost of secondhand items. Have your eye on a designer handbag but don’t want to shell out the money? Try finding it used on sites like Tradesy, The RealReal, and Trendlee.
Benefit 2: It’s more ethical and sustainable.
Americans throw away 16 million tons of clothing per year (EPA 2014 Report). That number is staggering; however, more and more people are choosing to donate or recycle their clothes. The fact is that there are PLENTY of clothes to be found without having to buy something new every time. Additionally, you are not directly supporting certain fast fashion brands that exploit their workers when you choose to shop secondhand.
Benefit 3: Supports your local community.
Shopping at a consignment or vintage store means you’re able to support a local business and economy. We all know the struggle that small businesses have to compete with larger chains, and this gives you the consumer the opportunity to directly support your community.
Live in Richmond? Want to learn more about the benefits of shopping secondhand? Be sure and join me along with the Ethical Style Collective at our upcoming event at local consignment store, Ashby. Tickets can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/conscious-conversation-series-tickets-44109808625