February 8, 2020

Featured Article

Adventures in Thrifting: My Three Insights on Secondhand Clothes Thrifting and Reselling.

February 8, 2020

A few years ago, I started thrifting to make upcycled products and resold items that were too nice to cut up. My experience completely changed my perception of second-hand clothing.

According to the EPA, in 2017, Americans threw away almost 17 Million Tons of textiles to the landfills annually. Clothing left to rot has many environmental impacts, including the release of toxic CO2 and methane gases into the atmosphere. Buying second-hand clothing is the most sustainable as new production creates an additional strain on the environment beyond post-consumer waste.  This post, I am sharing three insights on thrifting that will hopefully change your purchasing decisions.

The items above show a small sampling of things I found at various thrift stores, includes brands like Rothy’sAdam Selman X Opening CeremonyASOS FestivalGivenchyKate SpadeAcne Studios. Some of the items are lucky finds, but it’s not uncommon to see rare and vintage pieces that are still in perfect condition. Most thrift store prices vary, but local non-profit stores will support local charities. Check with their websites to find out more.

1. Finding the Best Local Deals for a Good Cause!

I want to focus on offline shopping as the prices tend to be cheaper, and local non-profit thrift stores often donate to local charities. NY Housing Work is an example of one as they provide support for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. They usually have beautiful designer clothing at reasonable prices.  You can also find numerous reselling apps available in your app store:  PoshmarkDepopMercarieBayThredUP, and TheRealReal. It’s helpful for resellers to compare prices and popularity of the item as most will have multiple listings.

You can use Google Maps to search and save all the local thrift stores near you. The image below is a snapshot of my NYC thrift map. It’s a great way to discover places, read reviews, and save for offline use! You can use it on any device as its seamless syncs with your Gmail account. There is a super helpful note feature where you write down important information about each store.

Generally, thrift stores in the well to do neighborhoods tend to have better brands and merchandise, but its not always the case as some people will go out of their way to donate in other neighborhoods. It’s a good idea to check out different stores and get familiar with the layout and inventory.

Visit Your Regular Stores Often

I tend to visit mostly Goodwill and Salvation Army stores since there are a bunch of stores located within 20mins from where I live. I know some people think they are evil, but they do have good programs. I will leave it at that. If you plan on reselling, its always a good idea to have a variety of stores you can visit to increase your chances of scoring big.

Most Goodwill stores have weekly quotas of adding 800+ items to the selling floor, so expect them to bring fresh donations out multiple times a day.  Local thrift stores often have set days where they’ll offer discounts. All Goodwill stores have weekly sales on specific colored tags, and some have 99 cents Sundays; Salvation Army has 50% Wednesdays. So finding out when things go on sale will save you even more money.

Most city centers have Goodwill Outlets, as they offer buyers a steeply discounted price to purchase by the pound. The experience is like digging for treasures; its time consuming, but it is gratifying finding the gems. If you plan to go, bring reusable gloves as sometimes it can get dirty. Some people donate directly to the outlets; often, you can find great brands and even items with hangtags still attached. Unsold clothing from these outlets is sold to recyclers to make home insulations, and a small percentage do go to the landfills. Huffington Post covered extensively on Goodwill’s process from receiving donations to where they eventually end up.

2. Get to Know Your Brands

Learning about brands is essential, not just for reselling. Some brands have better craftsmanship and use higher quality materials so that they will last longer. When I moved out of NYC, I had zero expectations in finding much. With online and mobile shopping surpassing in-store buying, you can now get almost anything delivered to your doorstep.

I’ve shopped in various cities, and most second-hand stores have a large selection of cheap brands from Target, Meijer, and other discount retailers. Even in cities like NYC. I consider those to be part of fast fashion and stay away from them as they are poorly made and don’t always use quality materials. You have to work at finding the quality items.

Finding obscure brands are always great. I’ve come across those items simply because they were cool looking and unique; some of them are Ivan GrundalOlivia Von HalleProenza Schouler, and Mugler,, to name a few. The image below shows all the brands that I’ve found over the years. Most of those items were exceptional to new condition and never paid more than $10 each. At times you can spot the better brands as the designs or prints are generally cooler with with interesting details.

Poshmark Tip: If you are just starting to sell on Poshmark, you should check out the trending brands and styles. They host 4 Posh parties 7 days a week where they would allow certain brands to participate. Get familiar with them and see if you can spot them on your next thrift outing.

Sustainable Brands

When I first started, I rarely found sustainable brands at the thrift stores. Lately, I see more and more, including brands like EverlaneReformationRothy’sPatagoniaCuyana, and Eileen Fisher. (They are linked to goodonyou.eco rating, while most offer a range of sustainable materials, not all received top grades. You can also learn and discover more sustainable brands from their directory ) 

Buying new from these brands is ideal since they do not have a high environmental impact while retaining a higher resell value. It’s also essential to learn how to take care of your clothing as it will help extend their life. I’ll be writing another post about that shortly.

3. Trends Come and Go, Style is Forever.

For some people, fashion is about self-expression and dressing according to how you feel that particular day. Knowing trends is good, , refinery29 is an excellent resource for women’s styles, and thefashionisto and Fuckingyoung are for menswear; most trends come and go but often repeated. Animal prints are often hot for the Fall and Winter seasons, while floral prints are always big during Spring and Summers. A beautiful print will stand the test of time, and a person with great style can work it into their wardrobe for years to come.

You can learn more about how people coordinate outfits by looking at the Collection Streetwear, fashion blogs, or on Instagram.  The resources provide excellent examples of personal styles mixed in with some current trends. Studying this can help you understand the trends as well. You can train your eye to spot more beautiful items from the sea of clothes hanging on the racks.

The image below is taken from a simple image search on Ecosia using the keywords “Vintage Street Style” ( I use Ecosia as my default browser as they pledge to plant trees with each search )

Learning about different styles can help broaden your knowledge and guide you to learn how to coordinate pieces better, especially if you are reselling. You can most definitely sell a wardrobe instead of individual items to maximize profits. Lastly, by spending your money wisely on high-quality Sustainable investment pieces to add to your wardrobe, you can reduce the things you need as they can last for years.

 

Whether you are shopping for yourself or a reseller aiming to make money, it’s essential to realize all decisions we make have a significant impact on the planet, our collective efforts towards the right path can bring positive change.