It’s got nothing to do with money.
Thrift stores, once upon a time known as places poor people shopped, are now a shopping mecca for environmentally conscious fashion lovers, such as myself.
I know, I agree with you, I hate the fact that thrift stores used to be known as places that ‘poor’ people shopped. So, full disclosure- the term ‘poor’ is not at all my personal opinion, it is what I have learned to be historically true and have come up upon the more I read up on thrifting.
I often use the term secondhand shopping when I talk about what I do, but a lot of people won’t use it because of the stigma that goes with it- that secondhand is somehow second-best. Secondhand stores are full of someone else’s trash. Instead many people opt for the more modern and stylish-sounding terms pre-owned or pre-loved. Those work great too, and those terms definitely come with a little more polish, or allure to get more people to do it, or maybe just look at people who do it differently- like not poor people.
The more I research and learn about the power of secondhand shopping, or what is today referred to as part of a circular economy, the more I see that it is the environmentally superior way to shop.
But I am sticking with the secondhand label because of the same reasons most people avoid it. It kinda sounds grungy and ‘less than’. Seeing I don’t feel at all grungy, and I don’t think I look it either, maybe my sharing can disrupt the stigma around secondhand shopping that still stands today- that it is second-best. If we can rewire our preconceived notions about what it means to be a ‘thrifter’ maybe we can focus on the environmental gains that doing so can provide to all. Simply for the fact that I do it, I love it and I believe in it. I'm not one bit a poor person; I have no shame in saying it either.
Yes, thrifting is financially thrifty, but it is also financially smart- savvy, budget conscious, sustainable- words by which I prefer to recognize it.
People who want to get the most value for their dollar know thrift shopping well. We may love clothes, but we also have other things to spend our money on, such as trips, great food, and time going out with family and friends.
If you’re like me and you LOVE fashion and you care about the environment, secondhand shopping is the most sustainable thing you can do for the planet. Thrifting is also for the environmentally savvy shopper, like myself. Savvy, meaning stylish, hip, modern, cool- not treehugger-ish, which I also hear way too much. (I may be Earthy, but I am not crunchy)
Yes, there may be plenty of people who consider themselves tree huggers that may love thrifting as well, but thrifting is also for the fashion conscious, fashion lovers too- the chic, extravagant, over the top dressers. You know, the ones that are serious about their style, the ones that turn heads when they walk into a room.
I want to impress upon you the value of shopping secondhand. You are essentially shopping one-of-a-kind items. Where else can you find such an array to choose from- vintage, designer, contemporary, handmade, and even high-value items all under one roof? Not at the mall, not a department store, and not online unless it fits under said category).
Again, my choice for using the term secondhand is to challenge the public opinions of what it looks like to be a thrifter, to shop secondhand and to make treasures out of someone else’s trash.
Shopping secondhand is a lot of fun. It’s also really good for the environment. It is the most sustainable shopping you can do. It is sustainable fashion. And- it may be the future of fashion... one I am perfectly in favor of.
Photography- Phyllis Lane
Makeup- Mary Reid
Look- Goodwill AZ.