- begin beige belt Black blouse blue boots brown burgundy cardigan consumerism corduroy cream declutter denim drawer dress eggplant fantasy self fishnets flats floral flowers graphic gray green green living jeans jewelry junk khaki layers LBD Lent mauve maxi skirt minimalism minimize monthly mission navy neutrals olive orange outfits pattern patterns peach pink plaid project 333 projects purple rain boots rainbow red royal blue scarf sequin shorts skirt solids stripes stuff style sustainability sweater teal the 411 project tights travel Valentine's day warm colors white wool yellow
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I’ve been avoiding jeans shopping for months. Thankfully patience and persistence paid off, and now I have two pairs of jeans to replace my ripped ones and my wide-leg ones (they didn’t fit well).
I bought these at a consignment store. For shopping some items consignment is easier than thrift because the selection is smaller (less overwhelm) and the quality is better.
Either way, remember: Patience and Persistence.
Successful second-hand shopping can take a lot of repeat browsing. Yet most minimalists don’t consider shopping recreational, so this may seem counterintuitive. Still – sometimes you need to replace worn items or freshen your look, and buying second-hand is the most responsible way to do so.
Give yourself some time! Don’t go once, strikeout, and throw in the towel. Come back every few weeks, browse the racks, try on a few things, and the call it a day. Listen to some Macklemore. It doesn’t have to take hours. Truly, repeat visits will increase your odds of finding the piece that you love.
Elsie of A Beautiful Mess has her own list of tips. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Keep a running list of wants and needs. It can be hard to stay focused in a thrift store. Keep a list of items you’re hunting for, and see if they’re there.
- Buy only what you love. Keep things minimal and your style lovely by wearing clothes you adore.
- Keep an open mind. It’s important to push your comfort zone to stay fresh and on your style toes. Be open minded about new colors, patterns, cuts. You may find a well-made item that fits beautifully, even if you didn’t imagine wearing it before.
- If in doubt, don’t. Don’t clutter your closet with an item that you’re not sure about (unless it’s a comfort-zone experiment. And those only need be done one at a time).
- Be prepared. Preparedness for me means slip-on shoes, no skirts, no purses or heavy coats, and a tank-top so I can try on sweaters in the aisle. How do you prepare to thrift?
- Don’t forget the little things. Unique jewelry, scarves, belts, etc. accumulate at thrift stores. Give them a scan, using your practiced, discerning eye!
- Question each purchase. Do you have pieces to wear it with? Is it practical? Easy to care for? Versatile?
What are your thrifting or second-hand-buying tips?
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Mauve sweater: 3
Black skirt: 4
Black tights: 9
Brown sheepskin boots: 2
Gray sweater: 6
Olive skirt: 3
Purple tights: 2
Brown boots: 2 (new!)
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I chose jeans today because I planned to hit up a thrift store during lunch – but to no avail. Work took precedence. So my easy-to-change clothes weren’t put to the use I intended, nonetheless I like the wide stripes in earthy brown and bright white set against stark black. A little red on the neck and blue on the ears. For the rest of the week, back to skirts.
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I am a staunch consumer of organic foods, despite the higher price. I’m willing to pay more for organics because I know that the hidden cost of conventional foods is much greater than the cheap price up front. Not surprisingly, the same is true for clothes.
Shannon Whitehead’s list gave me pause and provoked me to think more deeply about my clothes:
- There are chemicals on your clothes just as there are chemicals in and on conventional foods. See the video below.
- There are up to 30 million slaves in the world today which explains how shirts and jackets can be sold at such low prices.
- Big retailers are a big problem for reasons stated above.
- Our old clothes and disposable behavior are ruining Africa’s economy because of the volume at which we buy and then donate our (cheap) clothes. Clothes that aren’t deemed worthy of resale are shipped overseas and negatively impact local textile and clothing economies.
- It takes decades for your clothing to decompose in a landfill. I take what I don’t donate to textile recycling at the dump. I don’t know where it goes next, but I hope it’s better than a landfill. There are also companies that take old denim and recycle it into insulation.
- It’s not helpless.
There are things to do!
- Buy less. The fewer things to bring into your wardrobe, the more you will value and care for them.
- Buy used. There are second-hand buy-and-sell places like Buffalo Exchange. There are local consignment stores and thrift stores. Shop them. It can take patience, but it’s that or the list above.
- Buy organic. If you can’t find it used after diligent effort, buy organic. Buy recycled or up-cycled. More on these options soon.
See Shannon’s follow-up suggestions here.