Thrift store clothes shopping is “green” in more ways than one. First, wearing second-hand clothes saves the resources and energy that would be used to make, transport, and distribute new clothes. Second it saves some green in one’s wallet.
Friends and family will say that I am picky about clothes and many other things (I say I’m discerning). Like my maternal grandmother, Helen, I tend to select quality over quantity. I admire the style and creativity of fashionistas, but am definitely not one.
As the oldest girl in the family, there were no hand-me-down clothes for me when I was a kid. I am 5 inches taller than my mother (and have been since about 6th grade) so even if we had the same taste in clothes, sharing was not possible.
With winter approaching I was in need of an additional layer to wear indoors over a t-shirt. Instead of turning to my favorite mail order catalog companies or brick and mortar stores to buy something new, I decided to see what I could find by shopping at thrift stores.
Thrift Store Clothes Shopping
To me, it makes sense to follow the same shopping process regardless of whether one is buying new or second-hand clothes.
- Buy clothes only when you need them. Don’t buy just because it’s cheap, on sale, or a great deal.
- On any given shopping expedition, be prepared to sort through a lot of merchandise and not find anything.
- Try on clothes before buying to make sure they fit. If it’s not possible to try on an item, think about skipping it.
- Make sure the clothes are clean and don’t have any stains, tears, pulled seams, snags, broken zippers, missing buttons, etc.
- Only buy clothes you like, even if you can return or exchange them. Why buy something you don’t really like that much in the first place?
- Although I buy clothes online, I would be leery of purchasing second-hand clothes online because it is seems like it would be difficult to judge condition from a picture.
- Some thrift stores are run by charitable or non-profit organizations. Shop green and support a favorite cause at the same time.
New Versus Thrift Store Cost Comparison
I was fortunate to find what I was looking for at the first thrift store I visited. An Eddie Bauer women’s long sleeve flannel shirt fit the bill perfectly. I can wear it over a t-shirt, in the house or outdoors, it is in great condition, and even better it is green literally and environmentally.
I decided to do a cost comparison of what it would have cost to buy a similar new shirt online at Eddie Bauer.
Eddie Bauer Women’s Long Sleeve Flannel Shirt
- New: $49.95 (shirt) + $3.87 (7.75% sales tax) + $7.99 (shipping) = $61.81
- Second-hand: $8.95 (shirt) + $0.69 (7.75% sales tax) + $0.0 (shipping) = $9.64
- Savings: $52.17 or about 84%. I walked to the thrift store so saved on gas and greenhouse emissions.
Since I found what I was looking for on the first try, I didn’t get much thrift store clothes shopping practice this time around. Nevertheless, it was a green experience.