I am such a secondhand shopping advocate after this summer – I’m even writing a blog post to let you know you should give it a shot too! At the end of the school year I was making a summer bucket list and asking around for people’s suggestions of places to explore. Something I heard twice was to go secondhand shopping. So my friends and I planned a trip and went to Plato’s Closet and Clothes Mentor. First a quick distinction:
Run by nonprofits. Restocks by taking items on donation.
Gets items from people who get paid if/when the item sells in the consignment shop.
Stocks store by purchasing items from individual sellers up front.
The two stores my friends and I went to were resale shops. My friends and I had never really shopped secondhand before this summer, but we all agreed that there’s no going back now. We had such a great experience! Here are the reasons we found secondhand clothes shopping to be so valuable.
Variety of Brands
Unlike shopping almost anywhere else, you don’t need to go to different stores to check out different brands. This centrality is helpful for you, and helpful when you’re shopping with other people. Rather than splitting up between stores, you can stick with your shopping buddies.
Can See How the Item Has Held Up Over Time
This is probably one of the best things about secondhand shopping. We’ve all experienced buying that cute new top that then gets a lot of pilling or wrinkled after one day. The beauty of buying secondhand is that someone else had to go through that disappointment before you, and now you get to pick the winners for yourself.
Can Find Off Season Items
The typical clothing store rotates the items on the floor depending on the season, current trends, and the overall collection the store is showcasing at the moment. You don’t see that kind of clothes style restriction at a secondhand store. New items coming through secondhand stores can be items originally purchased a week ago or years ago. I know I’ve been frustrated before when I’m shopping in the summer but what I really need to buy is a sweater. I can get that style variety at a secondhand store.
Honestly, before going secondhand shopping myself my perception of it consisted only of giant warehouse-esque thrift shops (à la Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” music video). It’s nice to now know that there are different kinds of secondhand stores. You can deff find your grandpa’s hand-me-downs, but you can also find some real high quality brands just depending on where you’re shopping. The resale stores my friends and I went to were clean, organized, and boutique sized stores. It was a really comfortable environment where I didn’t feel weird just digging in and getting serious about looking through all the clothes.
Still Have Sales and Clearance Items
For all you sales and clearance junkies, have no fear, the resale stores my friends and I explored both had their very own clearance sections. It’s like the clothing section for the smartest and thriftiest of us all. If you weren’t already feeling great about saving some $$ by buying secondhand, you can just keep saving with secondhand store sales.
Can Sell (or Donate) Your Items to the Store
I feel like the popularity of the capsule wardrobe and minimalism speaks to a generation that’s tired of being bogged down by material possessions. Buying and selling secondhand items helps you and the next person refine your wardrobes to consist of the things that you each truly love. By selling to resale shops or donating to thrift stores you’re becoming a part of the cycle. Maybe the person who used to own the item you just bought will find whatever you’re giving away and two wardrobes have now been made whole again. ❤
No Mannequins Wearing Sample Outfits
I don’t know about you, but those mannequin displays totally work on me. I’ll see some outfit modeled on the mannequin and think “that’s a nice combo,” or “that looks good on that mannequin.” And even though I know they pin back the clothes on the mannequin to make the clothes look better, or that I really don’t need the whole outfit set being modeled I’ll respond to that standing mannequin advertisement. I prefer the no frills, no nonsense vibe that comes with eliminating those mannequin displays at many secondhand stores.
Won’t Find the Same Items in a Bunch of Sizes
Okay, so maybe this one might be a negative point for you, but for me this is great! Instead of trying on something that isn’t the right size, and then having to snoop around, find another size, and then try on that new size to make sure this one is finally okay I can just move on to the next thing at the secondhand store. I get to try on more items overall and less of the same thing in different sizes. I don’t have to worry about not being able to get something just because they didn’t have that specific item in my size.
Tell me about your secondhand shopping experiences!