In honor of this obscure holiday, Verena Erin of The Green Closet offers great suggestions on how to shop efficiently and wisely at your local thrift store.
I bet you didn’t know today is National Second-Hand Wardrobe Day! Every August 25th is a chance to remind ourselves of the pleasures of shopping for second-hand clothes, something we’ve long supported here at TreeHugger. Not only do you find interesting treasures and well-made vintage pieces, but you also save money and feel good about not supporting the polluting fashion industry.
Verena Erin is one of my favorite eco-fashion bloggers. She has a YouTube channel called The Green Closet, and produced a video in 2015 called ‘How to Thrift: Second Hand Shopping Tips & Haulternative.’ It has great practical suggestions for second-hand shopping that I’d like to share. I highly recommend you check out her work; it’s inspiring and informative.
Erin insists that one’s approach to second-hand shopping must be different from regular ‘new’ shopping. Know what you’re looking for — a wise suggestion for any kind of shopping, I think — and give yourself enough time to go through the clothing racks. Go back frequently and be willing to walk away with nothing.
Not all thrift stores are the same, so scout out the ones in your area to figure out which have the best clothes. Ask staff which days are the best to shop; these can change, depending on deliveries and stocking. For example, I know Tuesdays are the day for deals at my local shop because it’s closed on Mondays while staff are busy restocking shelves. Typically, the start of a new season is a good time to shop, when people are decluttering in preparation for the next.
Once in the store, Erin recommends figuring out the layout and going to what interests you most. Scan the clothing racks for prints and colors you want, then check tags for size and material. The size does not matter as much as you may think, since older clothes were often sized differently than new ones are today; try it on if you think it might fit. Inspect for stains, snags, holes, and whether or not tailoring could help a great piece fit better. Little details like buttons can easily be changed to update a piece.
One good piece of advice that I don’t often think of — dress consciously before hitting a second-hand store. Leggings, a tank top, and flip-flops, or anything that can be removed easily, make it a lot easier and faster to try on clothing.
For inspiration, watch some of Erin’s ‘haulternatives’, the name of which derives from the fast-fashion clothing ‘hauls’ made so popular on YouTube. It’s fun to see what she has found at thrift stores and transformed into an integral part of her seasonal capsule wardrobe.