I watched the documentary The True Cost (on Netflix!) a few months ago, and it has haunted me. The idea of cheap fashion was already on my radar. I had an inkling that my spending rules around food were a bit disingenuous if they don’t extend to our other spending categories as well (this story on NPR last year didn’t hurt). We mostly get hand-me-downs or buy used for the kids, but we don’t do the same for shopping for Grant and me. Since I don’t love shopping anyway, I have always relied on easy places like Old Navy, Gap, and Target, but then I watched The True Cost. It wasn’t that big of a deal because I don’t shop all that often anyway, but then summer hit. All of my Kon Mari-ing at the end of last summer left me with a lack of summer attire. I did find some fun stuff at Goodwill, but my problem with Goodwill is that it requires lots of shopping and patience – one of which I don’t like and the other of which I don’t have (ask the kids).
ThredUP is basically an upscale thrift shop online. Here is why I love it:
- Obviously, the benefits of buying used are the biggest selling point for me: far better for the environment and not participating in the traditional fashion industry and all of its pitfalls
- They are super picky about what they accept to sell, so everything I’ve gotten so far has been practically brand new. Some stuff still even has the tags on it.
- You can return what you want for free (for a store credit) within 14 days, so there’s no risk in ordering something, trying it on, and sending it back.
- Everything is packaged so beautifully – it feels like you’re shopping from a regular store instead of thrift store. And this is weird, but it smells good! It seems like I have to wash most used stuff I get, even from nicer thrift stores, several times to get that used clothes smell out, but not with any of the goodies I’ve ordered from ThredUp (obviously, I still wash before wearing, but the smell isn’t an issue, if you catch my drift).
I’ve ordered a few times from them and plan to keep it up. Here were my keepers from my first order – American Eagle, Maeve (via Anthropologie), Ann Taylor, and some other brands I had never heard of, but are now on my radar:
I got all of that for around $80. ThredUP tells you the original retail of the items, and according to them, the original retail price of my order was somewhere north of $500. It is definitely more expensive than a Goodwill, but shopping online and their quality standards more than make it worth it for me. They also will take your old clothes, so I am cleaning out my closet to fill up one of their Clean Up Kits, in hopes of having some credit to spend on my next purchase. My only complaint is that they don’t have men’s clothes, but I’m hoping that changes soon. I was going to save this for my “what I’m loving” post for June, but I decided it needed a post of its own instead. If you order via my referral link, you get $10 off your first order (and I get a credit too, so thank you!).
The True Cost website has some great resources for buying better, including a link to some of their favorite sustainable and fair trade brands if you’d rather buy new. Slow fashion is an emerging trend that I can get behind too, but I’d still rather buy second-hand and give used stuff a new life.
Have you used ThredUP or something like it? What are your trips and tricks for feeling better about your clothing purchases?