Designer for a Discount
Shopping secondhand stores takes time. However, I consider it time well spent when I find what I'm looking for at less than twenty percent of original retail cost! I will also say, the amount of time needed to determine whether or not a given resale shop has what you're looking for gradually decreases as you learn more about that particular shop. You will learn where different items are located, when new things are put out, and how to scan racks quickly as you visit repeatedly over time. Of course, you can always choose to shop secondhand stores online as well. Shopping secondhand stores online allows you to search inventory by brand name, style, color, condition, size, and more. I personally shop local whenever possible, but shopping online is also a great option. I love to shop secondhand for several reasons and I want to share a few of them with you!
1. Secondhand garments are almost always more affordable than brand new clothes. I love premium fabrics like linen and silk. I can purchase linen or silk garments in excellent condition for about 25% or less of the original retail cost! I have even purchased new designer linen blouses at one of my local thrift stores for less than three dollars! I love to wear linen when I am working outside in my garden. It's easier to get dirt all over a three dollar shirt rather than a more expensive one.
2. Personal style evolves and needs change, sometimes for a short time! For instance, when I was breastfeeding, I needed to wear garments that made feeding my baby as easy as possible. I also knew I would not be breastfeeding forever! I knew I wanted to make a modest investment in the pieces I needed without splurging on garments I knew I would not need for more than a year or two. There have also been seasons in which I was larger than usual, like when I was 42 weeks and six days pregnant with my daughter! It was so nice to purchase the items I needed at a discount from my local resale shops during that season of my life rather than purchasing them brand new since I knew I would only need them until I returned to my normal size!
3. Just because it was made to be worn once, doesn't mean it should only be worn once! If I need a dress for an event and I think I might only wear it once, I shop secondhand first. For instance, my wedding dress was from a local resale shop! It was actually on sale the day my mom and I happened to go look! It cost less than two hundred dollars! I knew I was only going to wear it once, so I chose to spend modestly and wisely. Another excellent option, especially for men, is garment rental. I don't recall any of my guy friends going out and purchasing a brand new tuxedo for prom. They rented! On the other hand, most of my girlfriends wore brand new dresses! There are excellent alternatives to spending hundreds of dollars on a dress for a high school dance in 2018, thank goodness! New websites like this one are making garment rental more accessible and more realistic. I have never rented a piece of clothing before, but I see many benefits to the concept.
4. Designer handbags are always most affordable as resale items, whether they are new with tags or gently used. If I want a new handbag, I check my local secondhand stores first! If I don't find what I am looking for locally, I know there are a websites like this one offering bags that have been verified authentic by industry experts. Last year, I really wanted a smaller bag with lots of structure, a few pockets, a small handle, and a cross-body strap to take on date night's with my husband, concerts, and music or art festivals. I found the perfect handbag in like-new condition (it still had protective film on the hardware of the bag) at one of my favorite local resale shops. It's a popular designer brand and I paid a fraction of the original retail cost even though it had clearly never been worn. I also feel great about the fact that I purchased it secondhand because it's leather, and I try not to purchase new leather items unless they have been fair-trade certified or otherwise proven to be ethically and/or sustainably produced. A year later, I still carry this bag almost every time I go out. I consider my money and time well spent!
5. Secondhand doesn't always mean used. Just because I am shopping in a resale shop doesn't mean I am purchasing tattered clothing. On the contrary, I only purchase items in like-new condition. Sometimes, the tags are still on the garments or accessories I purchase from secondhand shops. As I said previously, personal style evolves and needs change. Have you ever purchased something and a year later, you have yet to wear it? Resale shops, whether online or local, provide a space for you to recover a portion of your investment, which brings me to my next point.
6. Resale shops and websites provide a place to buy or sell. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, "The average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually." This graphic helps put textile waste in perspective. Selling, donating, or recycling items you no longer wear or use is much more responsible than sending them to a landfill, especially if they are made out of synthetic fibers like polyester or acrylic, which take an average of 20 to 200 years to decompose according to Close The Loop. Selling items you no longer want or need reduces the amount of textiles going in to a landfill. It also gives that particular item a second, third, or fourth life. Reusing and recycling is an excellent way to begin living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Shopping secondhand items, whether it be at local resale shops or online, provides many benefits. I hope one of my several reasons for shopping like-new or gently used items inspires you to give it a try if you never have. As a child, my mom often took my twin sister and me to local resale shops. I remember being frustrated that I couldn't get something new at the mall instead. Now, I am so thankful she taught me to shop resale. Shopping secondhand items is a part of living a more sustainable lifestyle. We must reduce waste, reuse what we can, and recycle whatever is left, all for the future of our planet and the generations to come.
Check out which local resale shops and resale websites made it on to my "Favorites" list so far here.
If you have any questions about shopping secondhand, leave them in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer them! Do you shop resale or thrift stores? If so, I would love to hear a few of your reasons why! You can share them in the comments section below.