Why I choose to thrift

I’m starting today’s post off with a few personal thoughts before diving deeper into the topic. After sharing that majority of my clothing purchases in 2016 were actually thrifted, it sparked some really great dialogues (thank you!!) asking how I got into thrifting and why I continue to buy secondhand.

To be frank, my response to “Why do you thrift?” is two-fold:
1. From a financial aspect, it can be more wallet friendly to buy secondhand. I say “can be” purposefully, because it is very possible to spend more on rare pieces than buying new at retail (e.g. vintage designer purses). For the most part, it’s wallet friendly.
2. There’s a huge negative environmental and economical impact to countries who export fast fashion labour that goes widely unspoken of. Many people who work in factories producing clothing sold to consumers as dirt cheap prices get paid dirt cheap wages. Often, many of these factories do not meet safety standards, do not provide healthy work environments, and don’t treat their labour force fairly. For these very reasons, I have a hard time continuing to support businesses who exploit human labour and am actively learning what it means to be a conscious consumer.

In an effort to spend (and save) more consciously, I’ve decided to own less pieces in my closet and get creative with thrifting the majority of the new-to-me pieces that get added as I rediscover gaps in my wardrobe staples. Instead of filling the landfills with more unwanted clothing, I’ve been shopping consignment, Goodwill, eBay, and Poshmark to hopefully reduce the amount of waste produced. Some of my favourite pieces – many of which you’ve seen on the blog – are thrifted treasures!

the demure muse // vintage Coach Legacy purse
thrifted vintage Coach Legacy purse from Falling for monochrome post, Sept 2016

Thrifting is something that’s been part of my life since I was a kid. Because I used to spend a couple weeks every Summer living with my grandparents, my grandma used to take me along to run her daily errands. Aside from learning how to pick the best produce at the grocery store and the Chinese names of my favourite dishes at dim sum, my grandma taught me how to be a smart thrifter. It was her passion for finding good deals and patience for waiting it out for the perfect piece that helped to shape the way I thrift today. I have so many fond memories of going to Goodwill stores with her, which is probably why I have such a positive association with the stores as an adult today.

As a blogger who has felt the pressures of trying to stay up to date with trends in the past, I have definitely fallen victim to supporting fast fashion. As I’ve grown older and have started to settle into my personal style that isn’t heavily influenced by the window displays of stores, I have gotten better about thrifting pieces based off of the styles more than off the labels.

I know that thrifting and buying secondhand isn’t for everyone. There have been many times that I’ve talked about thrift finds to people who gave me the stink eye about buying used items, but to each their own! I personally love the thrill of finding unique pieces and knowing that I’m helping to reduce the amount of waste in landfills.

If you’re ever curious about learning more about the “cost” of fast fashion, I highly recommend checking out the documentary The True Cost.

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  • I’m right there with you with loving thrifting! I’m trying to be more conscious about the type of impact my purchases have on the environment. While I still buy clothes that are brand new, I try to be more conscious about whether it’s something that I will keep in my wardrobe for a long time.

    -Helen
    http://www.sweethelengrace.com

    • I hear ya! I do still buy new as well (excited to start linking back to Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers this year) with a breakdown of new vs secondhand, but I try my best to be more conscious about what I’m buying new vs pre-loved.

      The part that makes me the most intrigued by peoples spending habits are seeing the large amounts of fast fashion brands at thrift stores.

  • I love thrifting but don’t do it often enough! I’m a convenience shopper so if there were more in my neighbourhood or other areas that I frequent, I would definitely go more. I love buying designer jeans second-hand – they are always so much cheaper!

    xo Jules

    • YES to designer jeans being way cheaper when secondhand! *high fives* I found the perfect pair of white Michael Kors jeans last summer for $13.99 and in my size. I could never bring myself to buy a pair of white jeans for $100+ because of how clumsy I am with food and staining white clothes, so this was a huge game changer for me.

      Getting to a thirft store can be a bit of a stretch for me too… all the stars align (nice weather, not too cold, bf is also up for a bike ride, and I’m in the thrift-treasure-finding mood).

  • Ugh girl, this is what I’m slowly working towards. I have bags of clothes to donate, and I’m trying to capsulize my wardrobe. I love thrifting though, you’ll never know what you’ll find. Once I found a gorgeous Banana Republic crocheted lace vest for TWO DOLLARS. Where is it now that I need it, LOL.

    • Oooh, I haven’t tried capsulizing yet. How is that working out for you? Are you going by season or a different time marker?

      Two dollars for a BR vest sounds awesome! The amount of treasures waiting to be found in a thrift shop… cannot wait for the next trip to the thrift shop!

  • Caitlin

    I wish my area had better thrifting :( Most of it seems to veer 3 ways:

    – Very expensive or “mature” styles that don’t appeal to me – I love my grandma but I don’t want to wear her clothes…
    – Inexpensive but youth-oriented and kind of pointless – getting Forever21/H&M/etc. secondhand isn’t going to make it last any longer
    – Just plain ugly :(

    If you were to ever post thrifting tips, I for one would love to see them!

    • haha! As someone who owns a few of my grandma’s sweaters, I couldn’t help but chuckle. ;)

      Thanks for the idea on a thrifting tips post! I haven’t put one together before… sometimes I rarely know what to even look for when thrifting and the “magic” just happens. I’ll definitely think more on this and try to scribble down what goes through my mind on the next trip to the thrift store. Lindsay of Lindsay Living did a great post last year on her biggest (and best) thrift haul and some tips: http://www.lindsayliving.com/shopping/my-thrift-haul/