3 words for you: Used clothing stores.
These are popping up everywhere in city centers these days, and they are beginning to collect some great finds. Today I popped into The Kind Exchange in Toronto (there are 18 Kind Exchanges in the Greater Toronto Area, my favourites being the Yonge & Eglington location, the Lakeshore Oakville location and the downtown Burlington location) and check out what I got:
2 tank tops, 5 shirts, 1 sweater, 5 dresses, 2 pairs of pants, 1 pair of shoes, with brand names ranging from Zara, Guess, Hollister and many more.
All this for $60. Plus tax. Sixty freaking dollars. One dress at Urban Outfitters is twice that.
Fantastic quality, already worn in, but not worn out, and best of all: easy on the wallet and the environment.
I love clothes, I love fashion and I love eclectic style. I even love the act of shopping. But I dislike the culture of consumerism (a little hypocritical, I know), the knowledge that most of the money for a tiny garment from traditional clothing stores goes to gigantic companies rather than local designers, and that the clothes have not been made sustainably or with human compassion in mind.
I struggle with not having enough money yet to invest in local, Canadian designers, and Eco-friendly companies that use re-purposed materials (but when I splurge, that is where I go). I also struggle with “cheap” clothing companies whose clothing falls apart after about 3 uses.
Fun fact: I have a penchant for fall boots: every pair I own except for one has come from a Used Clothing Store and they last far, far longer than boots I shell out for brand new. I’ve had many of them for years now and they still look amazing.
And while the brand names on the clothes I get second hand are still big companies for the most part, I get satisfaction in knowing that I am taking something that may have otherwise been thrown away and treasuring it, rather than adding to the purchase of new that our Western culture is so addicted to. I’m also directly supporting second hands stores and their lovely staff as well as the act of recycling. While the best way to avoid consumerism is to buy less, recycling and re-purposing is much better than discarding and replacing.
So if you are considering adding some pieces to your wardrobe, I would suggest taking a stroll through some local second-hand stores and see what they’ve got. You might be surprised, and your wallet will definitely thank you.
And if you have pieces of clothing you don’t use anymore, try bringing them into a Used Clothing Store to sell, or donate to an organization. There’s enough stuff in the garbage as is 🙂