Ethical Fashion... why I buy used clothing

Money is an exchange of energy.

It is the most grounding currency we use and it’s the major player in the game of our existence. It feeds us and …clothes us.  So, if we’ve gotta spend it; why not do it in a spiritual or ethical way?

I love clothes and I love fashion and making it my own- as an art form.  But I refuse to play the game of fast fashion where clothes cost next to nothing because someone risked their life to make it for me.  No thank you- that does NOT feel good to me.  

So, I buy everything used/second-hand OR from ethical companies that I feel good supporting! There are few reasons I do this, and have been doing it for the past 15 years (basically since I was in junior high).

Reason #1: I love the Mother.

Earth- she keeps me grounded and provides for me.  So I serve her when I can. Even when I’m buying things for myself.  If I can keep an item from going in the trash, and it looks good on me- why not? “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”…

Reason #2:  I REFUSE to support greedy people and greedy corporations

For a company to be able to sell clothing at extremely low prices ($10 shirts, $30 jeans, etc), it has to rely on extremely inexpensive labor.  Labor = people.  It’s a hard pill to swallow but when your clothing tag says “made in Cambodia” or China or Vietnam, or Thailand or any other developing country, you can pretty much guarantee it was made by a person working in very poor conditions.  So what makes you buy it?  Because it’s cheap.  Because we want to fill a void by filling our closets.  At the cost of someone else’s life.  No thank you. Gap, Adidas, Forever 21, H&M…etc.- it’s not worth it to me. Why would I want my energy (my money) to support a company who’s CEO makes $8 MILLION dollars a year so that someone can slave over an $8 t-shirt?

Reason #3: I save tons of money

I probably don't even need to explain this one because who doesn't love to save money?! Amanda Steinberg writes that it's more important to have a nest than to have wings. This means, saving our money for things that last or that will bring us stability, rather than on trendy purchases. As a new entrepreneur, I don't have a disposable income. Every penny that I earn goes to important purchases like food, rent, and bills. I also put money away each month into my different retirement and investment accounts and very little of my money goes to pay for clothing.  BUT... like I said, I love fashion so, used clothing is a way for me to have fun and buy things I want, without breaking the bank.  I actually end up making money by buying used but more on that later....

I could go into a thousand more reasons why I buy second hand but instead, I”ll share with you my tips and tricks in case you’re interested in making the switch!

My tips & tricks for buying used clothing...

Before you go ...

Before you go on your next shopping trip, take a moment to survey your current pieces.  More than likely, you’ve got a full closet and a full dresser of clothing; some that you haven’t worn in years.  Go through and collect the items that you haven’t worn in over a year.  Put it in a bag to donate.  (If you’d like to go on a deeper dive of cleaning out your clothes, contact me here to schedule a Skype session where Ill lead you through the Kon Mari method of clearing!)

I’ve learned that in shopping at thrift stores, it’s best to have a list of places beforehand so you’re not driving all over town.  When you think about ethical purchases, shopping local is best. That money stays your town’s economy and you’ll see direct benefits. So scan the interwebs for thrift stores in your town that aren’t “big box”.  IF you’ve only got large ones like Goodwill or Salvation Army, then by all means, add those to your list.

Thrift store shopping is best done with a friend, so bring one along and also, wear comfy clothes are easy to slip on and off, for trying things on!

When you get there...

If you’ve never gone thrifting, it’s overwhelming at first.  You walk in and it’s not a shiny, perfume-y department store where clerks ask you if you need help. But this is the charm! Just like with food; when you cook it yourself, it tastes so much better. You’ll be really proud of any awesome pieces you find!

So, when you walk in, divide and conquer.  You’ll have to dig; since each piece is one of a kind (not 10 of the same thing *that's fast fashion* ) you have to go through each and every rack to see what’s in the store. If something is a maybe, try it on- you never know what you’ll find!

Thrifting is different because you may go to a few places only get one thing- or nothing! But have patience.  (Tip* wash your items before wearing them).

But there's one thing I love more than thrift stores....

Thrift stores are fun but YARD SALES are my jam! This is my favorite solo weekend activity.

Here's how I do it:
#1- I wake up early on Saturday and/or Sunday, and visit my city’s local Craigslist site for garage sales.
#2- I look on the “map view” for the ones nearest me and if I make sure each ad lists “clothing”- otherwise I don’t go. 
#3- I write down the sales in order of closest and farthest away. I number them so I'll know when to put each in my GPS.  Then, I make myself a cozy drink, grab breakfast and set off!

I LOVE yard-saling because you meet the neatest people! Everyone yard-sales. Poor, rich, young, old- it’s so neat to see who comes together! I've had some really interesting conversations with complete strangers.  If you're not the chatty type- don't worry about it. You can always wear headphones and listen to music. 

I know some might feel shy about the idea of going to someone’s house and looking through their stuff but it’s actually okay! You are giving them money for something that, otherwise, they would have to haul off to the thrift store. 

Yard Sale Tip #1:

At yard sales, I never ask the price of an item. I bundle up everything that I want and then give them an offer. For example, if I find a few dresses and a sweater, along with some jeans and maybe a purse, Ill say, “I have $12 cash- would you take that?” and 99% of the time, they say yes. Because it takes the pressure off of them- they don’t have to figure out a price or add it all up!

Yard Sale Tip #2:

Another reason I go to yard sales is to buy vintage clothing and t-shirts that I then re-sale to my local Buffalo Exchange consignment store. Then I get store credit to buy whatever clothing I want! I do this mainly because I am very small and I can’t often find my size at yard sales. But also, because having store credit allows me to buy whatever I want!  Last month, I went to a yard sale and bought 5 vintage t-shirts for $2 total and sold them for $50 store credit. Can’t beat it! Even though I don’t find a Trisha Yearwood concert shirt ironic and cool, someone else did!

So now what? 


This week, go through your closet and clear out some things you don't like or don't wear anymore.  Then, visit a thrift store or a yard sale, and let me know it goes! 

Remember, if this is totally new to you, shoot me and email and let’s chat about it.  Together, we can work on clearing out the old, to make room for the new!

Comment below and tell us what you found! Or do you already shop second-hand? What do you like about it? 

olderLydia Jarjoura8 Comments