Call it recycling, re-loving, or just plain thrifting, but buying used or vintage items is currently a trendy way to shop—and, incidentally, a fairly ethical way too. By purchasing used items, your money does not go directly to support companies that are producing new goods with bad practices. Most items sold secondhand are disconnected from their original source, allowing you to enjoy the product without casting a vote for poor labor conditions or harmful environmental practices. Not to mention that you are keeping a perfectly usable item from being discarded, and saying that new production (or over-production, in the case of today’s fast fashion world) isn’t necessary for style and utility.
While thrift shopping is not without its ethical pitfalls (thrift shops are stocked with fast fashion castoffs, after all), I have to admit that this is how I get 90% of my clothes and shoes. My budget allows for a few higher-priced new ethically-made items a year, and other than that I’m pretty reliant on Goodwill and Value World. (Value World has been oddly reliable for shoes and belts, while I usually go for clothing at Goodwill.)
I recently discovered a couple of new online vintage shopping concepts that I find intriguing. They’re targeted to fashionistas with a moderate-to-generous budget and an eye for style and appear to be great options if you would rather not sift through racks and racks of stuff to find one gem.
Threadflip describes itself as a “social marketplace for buying, selling, and discovering new, unique, and pre-loved fashion.” The site is based on a community of users selling items from their own closets that they no longer wear. Items offered include clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, and bags. The collection is definitely designer-heavy with items from Louis Vuitton, Prada and the like, but lower-cost items from stores like H&M and Forever 21 also appear. Most items have free shipping, too.
NiftyThrifty offers a more traditional, curated vintage shopping experience, but with a unique twist. The items offered on the site are grouped into collections that are only available for a limited time. The sales have evocative names like First Train to Florence, Poolside Glam, and Hard Candy. (You can also shop through regular categories—tops, pants, skirts, etc.) I love scrolling through the collections, it’s like a vintage-only Pinterest. They also have a great 30-day return policy with free return shipping.
I haven’t gotten anything from either of these sites yet. One of my worries about buying vintage clothing online is that I don’t know my true measurements, so I’d be shooting in the dark about what would really fit. However, with these sites’ emphasis on style, I will definitely keep them in mind when it comes time to buy new clothes for work or a special occasion (after I get someone to properly measure me, of course).
What are your thoughts on vintage/thrift shopping? If you’ve ever bought something vintage online, how did it work out?