Hello Friends, and Happy New Year to you all!
In my last blog post, I talked about different ways to start the New Year off strong. One of my suggestions was shopping smarter by shopping at thrift stores. I never thought that I would be an advocate for thrift shops, but honestly, I can’t imagine my life without them now. When I was younger, I hated thrift shops. I thought they smelled weird, only had old and beat up clothes that no one wanted, and the idea of wearing something that was on someone else’s body freaked me out. But as I grew up, I realized that not only was I completely wrong, but this was a dumb attitude to have because thrifting has so many benefits. Now, at least half of my wardrobe is from a second-hand store. In this blog post, I’m going to go more in depth as to why shopping this way makes so much sense for so many reasons.
1. Room to Experiment
Ever since I was a little girl, I have had an interest in fashion. I would constantly create new outfits and strut around the house in them. Honestly, you couldn’t tell my five year old self anything–I thought I was the coolest things on two legs. And in regards to me trying on new outfits and strutting around the house, not much has changed. Fashion for me, as well as many other people, is a major outlet of self-expression. I love experimenting with different looks and creating new versions of myself with each outfit change. If you are like me, and you like to experiment, then let me be this first to tell you that thrifting is the way to go. If you’re not sure how a certain style will look on you or you have an idea for a design you want to try out, make your way to a thrift store. Destroying a shirt that you spent $2 on is a lot easier to deal with than destroying a shirt you spent $30 on. Also, thrifting gives you a chance to really develop a one of a kind wardrobe. You never know what you’re going to find while you’re digging through the racks of a Goodwill, and not all of it is gold, but you will most definitely find something that grabs your eye.
2. Smart Spending
So, on top of being able to get a bunch of clothes for an extremely low price, you are also helping support some really amazing causes. Something I didn’t realize until recently, is that many thrift stores are part of larger organizations that provide services for the disabled, homeless people, and veterans. Organizations such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army have worked for over 200 years collectively to provide job training services, homeless shelters, disaster relief and so much more. Buying from these shops helps to support these programs so that they may continue to better the lives of people who need help the most.
As I briefly mentioned in my last post, much of the fashion industry uses slave labor to manufacture their clothing. Companies hire factory workers (most of whom are women) in various countries such as China, India, Bangladesh, Armenia, Brazil, and El Salvador, where the employees work very long hours, in terrible conditions, and are paid very little. In 2013, a journalist named Raveena Aulakh worked undercover in one of these sweatshops and found that many of the girls working were underage (as young as nine) and the factory workers worked from 9am to 9pm with only one lunch break. On top of this, the factory was small, only had one exit, no fire extinguisher, and had a rat infestation. These conditions are not uncommon in the industry, but there is light at the end of the tunnel as more and more light is shed on the subject. If you want to be part of the solution to this problem, I suggest you make your way to a thrift shop the next time you need some new clothes.
3. Recycling FTW
One of the things that really helped to change my mind about thrift shops was when I realized it was another form of recycling. As soon as a figured that out, I was pretty much sold completely on the awesome power of the thrift shop. I have always believed in the importance of recycling in order to keep a healthy planet. We like to have the attitude of “out of sight, out of mind”, but this is a horrible mentality to have. Throwing something away doesn’t mean it disappears, it means that it will most likely end up in a landfill, or in an ocean if we are not careful and responsible with our waste. This doesn’t just stop at plastic or paper; this same idea can be applied to clothes too. A lot of energy is used to make clothes and fabric, and buying clothes unnecessarily and not wearing them or throwing them out is not as harmless as you might think. Buying clothes second-hand is a surefire way to make sure that the energy wasn’t wasted. Thrifting is one of the ultimate forms of recycling because it’s about giving something a new life. It’s about being able to see the usefulness where someone else sees lack or brokenness, and I think we could all benefit from a change of perspective in this regard.
With all this being said, I want to make something clear, I am in no way saying that I make the best choices 100% of the time when it comes to clothing. And I am most certainly not trying to make anyone feel bad for shopping where they shop. However, I think it is immensely important to educate ourselves. Knowledge is power, and the more aware we become as individuals, the better we will be as a society.
P.S. All the outfits in this blog post are completely or mostly thrifted.