Following trends and buying new clothes tends to break the budget pretty fast. Shopping from fast fashion retailers helps to save cash while still buying new things, but at what cost? Clothes waste keeps rising as trends change. Fast fashion brands keep overproducing to feed into buyers' overconsumption, and it's a vicious cycle.
Shopping at thrift stores is a great way to shop sustainably while still getting trendy pieces at a low cost.
Why Is Thrifting the Way to Go?
Thrifting saves you money. You not only give pre-owned clothes a new home, but they often sell for a fraction of their old price. Besides the money-saving perk, though, thrifting is a great way to avoid supporting fast fashion and buy clothes in a more sustainable way.
According to recent studies, the average American tends to throw out around 80 pounds (36.29 kg) of clothes annually. Why is that? Well, overconsumption.
Thanks to new trends popping up almost monthly, and fast fashion producing massive amounts of clothes for cheap, people are used to overspending and buying things they don't necessarily need or even want. So, it's no surprise such a staggering number of clothes ends up in the bin. Occasionally, the bin beckons the garment because the trend has come and gone, and other times it's because it has fallen apart. Fast fashion pieces rarely get made to last.
Though there are many sustainability-forward clothes shops available currently, and more and more coming up each day, they tend to come with a hefty price tag attached. So most people simply can't afford to shop there. But that shouldn't deter your sustainability journey.
This is where thrift shops shine. They offer all sorts of pieces from every category, from high-end brands to fast fashion and vintage pieces, it's all there. And if you love a certain H&M top or Shein dress, it's better to look into buying it secondhand rather than supporting the companies directly.
Online shopping has always been appealing, and online thrift stores make the thrifting experience even easier and simpler. Instead of spending hours on your feet rummaging through racks and clothes bins trying to find your next garment, you can type in a quick search, mark the proper filters, and scroll in the comfort of your couch.
ThredUp offers “Secondhand Clothes, Firsthand Fun”. It's among the most recognizable places people go to online thrift. The store hosts millions of items, ranging from lower to higher-end brands. You can find everything there, and the best part is it has many handy filters. Like, ones for petite and plus-size thrifting, which can be a huge time-saver and ease the whole shopping experience.
Apart from buying clothes from ThredUp, you can also sell your own items, all from the comfort of your home. If you order a Clean Out Kit, you get sent a giant polka dot bag that you can fill up with your clothes and ship it back to the company for free! ThredUp does all the staging and photographing for you, and when your items sell, you earn money either as store credit or cash. Anything they don't accept, you can either get sent back to you or get recycled. Isn't that just the easiest way to get rid of unwanted clothes sustainably and make money off them with minimum effort?
If you want to save a few extra bucks when shopping on ThredUp, look for YouTuber discount codes. ThredUp often sponsors creators, so take advantage of that.
Depop lets you buy and sell fashion items and strives to create a global community that prizes diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability. When you shop at Depop, you help reduce waste.
The platform is right for you if you're looking for more edgy, creative pieces. The entire platform takes great inspiration from Instagram in its setup and aesthetic, and it shows. You can spend hours browsing through its different feeds.
Like ThredUp, Depop lets you sell your items. It encourages people to display both what they've sold and what they've bought on their feed. Due to its edginess and social media presence, Depop tends to attract a younger crowd.
Poshmark is a great place to look for high-end designer brands and get them for a fraction of their original price.
The online thrift store offers items for women, men, kids, pets, and even the home. When you join Poshmark as a seller or buyer, you become a part of a global community. The platform boasts an impressive 70 million registered users with over 200 million items for sale.
You can find new or gently used secondhand, or as Poshmark puts it, “pre-loved” items. Every brand you can think of is likely to be featured on the thrift store, and there's an incredible selection you can browse. If you find something you like, but it's out of your price range, Poshmark encourages haggling and even has an “offer/counter-offer” feature. There's also a “like” feature that helps you track if an item has a price drop, so you can snag it.
As the name lets on, ASOS Marketplace derives from the popular ASOS fashion site. But since ASOS falls under the fast fashion umbrella, it's better to support the online thrift store instead.
ASOS Marketplace is full of vintage boutiques and independent designers, and the platform is so easy to navigate. You can use the separate tabs or the search bar to browse for items and click away until you find them. There's also a separate Boutiques tab that takes you to a whole slew of boutiques waiting for you to explore them. There's We Are Curves that caters to curvier individuals, Cuteryko that sells quirky handmade jewelry, and so on.
The online thrift store displays items modeled by real people and prizes inclusion and diversity. So, you'll see plenty of different body types and skin tones while thrifting, helping you select the fit and shade that's right for you.
Vinted is an online marketplace that helps grant old clothes new life. The online thrift store lets its users buy, sell, and even swap new and secondhand items. It mainly deals with clothing and accessories.
It hosts a community of people who'd prefer to get rid of the items they no longer want sustainably, by finding a new owner. The platform is easy to use, and once you land on it, you're dropped right in the thick of it, among the listed items for sale. If you want to sell rather than buy, there's a button you click, and it takes you to sign up. It only takes a few easy steps, and you're good to go.
Vinted is a mixed bag thrifting experience, as you can find a little bit of everything on it.
Is Thrifting Even Worth It?
In recent years, people have begun turning to thrifting spaces and using them to turn a profit, buying items for cheap and then re-selling them with a markup. Sometimes they get their stock from other sellers, other times from physical thrift stores, and often they even turn to fast fashion stores, completely ruining the purpose of secondhand thrift shops.
But these people are only a fraction and don't represent the whole, so don't overlook thrift shops just yet. Find an online thrift store that works for you, and get into it. Find a community, buy and sell sustainably, and do your best to reduce your clothes waste and not support fast fashion shops.