Artwork by Elena Campos
Retail therapy with a clean conscience.
As someone who uses shopping as therapy, I spend a lot of money on things that I don’t end up wearing more than once. I needlessly buy items from Target that will fall apart within two weeks. I waste money on cheaply made clothes for momentary happiness. In pursuit of the newest trend, many Americans, myself included, buy and subsequently throw away new items of clothing without thinking. This culture of fast fashion creates waste and pollution in the name of style. The state of our earth will only continue to worsen if we, as a culture, don’t reduce the amount of trash we create.
Thrifting is the key to buying things without feeling so guilty about your carbon footprint, but it can be tricky.
As a thrifting veteran myself, my biggest tip is to get outside of the women’s section. The women’s sections of thrift stores tend to be more difficult than the men’s to find stylish tops, and the men’s section has some truly amazing shirts. Men’s clothes tend to be cheaper than women’s, and everyone loves an oversized button down with mom jeans, .
Look for good patterns and good fabrics instead of focusing on the style of clothes. You can easily crop or shorten any item of clothing to take it from grandma chic to true fashion. Almost every teenage girl I know loves a cropped t-shirt and mom jeans (not for school of course because the dress code is important). The same way that you can crop a shirt, you can easily shorten a maxi skirt to be a cute mini skirt. If you are good at sewing, there are plenty of ways to modify clothes to bring them into 2019.
Be careful about trying on clothes in places that don’t seem very clean. Most clothes are reasonably cheap, so if it doesn’t end up fitting correctly, you can rethrift it.
Don’t be afraid of the shoe or jacket section because you can find real gems for cheap. If you are scared of wearing thrifted shoes, just wash and disinfect them more than once, and they should be safe to wear.
To avoid wasting a perfectly good thrifting outing due to unpreparedness, you need a good night’s sleep, a full tummy, and moral support. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your favorite thrift store hungry and tired. Consider bringing a friend along next time you thrift to keep you accountable and make shopping more fun - but be sure to carpool for ideal gas conservation!
Perhaps the most important piece of thrifting wisdom I’m in a position to impart is this: everything has potential even if doesn’t look good on the hanger. Take a thrifting tour down Summer Avenue next time you have a free afternoon. Between City Thrift, the Mid-South Outlet, and the Junior League Repeat Boutique, there are a multitude of second hand stores on Summer Avenue and around Memphis. Just remember to wash everything and come prepared to search. Happy thrifting!
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