I must confess, clothes are my weakness. To me, fashion is fun, and I love to shop. However, shopping can be dangerous, especially for college students who are making their way through school.
I found a solution: thrift-shopping.
1. It saves money. Seriously, though. Right now I'm wearing a thrifted American Eagle sweater that would've been $30-$60 new. I was able to buy it for $4.50. That's $25-$55 that can be spent on gas, groceries, or other necessities. You can't beat that!
2. It makes money. A lot of consignment stores will buy any old clothes you have as long as they're in good condition. I've taken in about one trash bag worth of clothes to my favorite local shop, and I've made over $30. Every place is different, though. For the one I go to, I bring my clothes in, shop for a bit while they weed out the "unsellables", and come back to manage my account. Then over the next few weeks, I can come in any time and check my account. If I've sold anything, Iearn a percentage of the price. If the item isn't sold in the season, it's given away. The contract is to insure that I don't make any complaints about the price going down or an item being given away if it isn't sold. I think it's a simple way to make a little extra cash and keep a clean closet.
3. It makes sense. Nothing changes as constantly as fashion. And with each new fad, more new clothing is produced, and less "old" clothing gets used. I think this is a terrible waste, especially when I think about people around the world that go without basic clothing. I guess thrifting is my way of putting those resources to use. For many people, wearing second-hand, less-than-current clothing isn't appealing, and I get that. But so many times, I'm complimented on what I'm wearing, and I look down (yes, I often forget what I put on) and it's thrifted! What I've found is that it's really not about the biggest brand or the latest trend; it's about putting together something that I find beautiful and classy, whether it was originally from Walmart or Ralph Lauren.
4. It's fun. And you can almost always guarantee that you'll never see anyone else wearing what you buy. Especially if it's pre-2000s. My personal favorite finds are those high-waisted, 90's era jeans. They have real pockets, they're made with real denim and with a little seamstressing they make shorts. It's especially fun when you take a friend or two. I've found that I don't even like shopping in malls anymore because they're predictable In a thrift shop, you never know what you'll find. Even if you don't buy it, it's always fun to try on a feather boa or that leopard-print trench coat with the fur collar:)
5. It supports small businesses and local non-profits. When I can, I try to take my business to local shops because I believe in small business. A lot of consignment stores are like that. The woman who started my favorite store designed her whole resale system: the contract, accounts, commission, everything. I like getting great clothes for low prices and making some occasional money, too, but I'm also in it to support her business. Lots of places give any profit they make away to charities. You should probably check on the integrity of the organization first, but there are many companies such as Salvation Army that have good interests. And in most towns you can find local non-profits that benefit the surrounding community. Either way, there's always a way to give.
I hope this gave you a little insight into why I choose to thrift and some helpful information if you decide to try it.