Wearing Nothing New

savvyhousekeeping buying used clothes how to wear nothing new
(Image courtesy Lucky So and So)
Hello! I am back. We had a great trip. On Saturday, I unpacked my suitcases, and then finished a project I started before I left for Spain: I applied the Drawer-by-Drawer Organizing Method to my closet. With a ruthless eye, I took out everything that I never wear and reassessed whether it needed to stick around. A lot of it did not.
While I was doing this, I noticed that I tend to favor clothes that I bought used. For some reason, I take more pride in the clothes I got at consignment or vintage or thrift stores. Even though I likely paid almost nothing for a blouse at a thrift store compared to one I got at the mall, the used blouse seems more special to me. It is something I hunted down on my own and therefore is more of a statement of personal style.
And you know, fashion is so bossy. Every woman has had the experience of wanting to buy something simple–a button-down blouse or a nice tee shirt, say–and being unable to find it in any of the stores because it isn’t in style at the moment. Instead, the fashion gurus have decided that everyone should wear tee shirts so long that they double as dresses or blouses with fabric that flows out around the stomach so that you look like you’re pregnant. Never mind that the style in question looks good on almost no one, that’s what’s in the stores, so we have to either wear it or wait for the style to pass.
Buying used clothes is a way around this. Instead of being held to the styles of the moment, buying used allows you to create a style of your own because you are drawing from a broad selection of clothes all with history and a story of their own. Plus, you save a bundle shopping that way. When you’re looking at $40-$70 for your average shirt at the mall, getting a used one for $3 that you like even better feels like a triumph.
Which brings me to this adorable talk by Jessi Arrington of Lucky So and So. She takes buying used clothes to a new level. Her motto is Wear Nothing New.

Hobby: Jessi Arrington, Thrift Store Shopping via Swissmiss.
She is so enthusiastic about used clothes, it makes me want to go to a flea market right now. (Alas, I cannot, I have to work, but maybe next weekend?)
In summary, buying new clothes allows you to:
1. Be More Creative. As mentioned above, buying used clothes is away to escape the fashion industry, which wants us all to wear pregnancy tops and skinny jeans and weigh around 95 pounds. Through used clothes, there is freedom to explore different looks that flatter your body type and to better express your personality in the process.
2. Save Money. Obviously, buying used clothes is cheaper, a lot cheaper, than buying in the store. In the age of $700 pairs of shoes and $300 handbags, that’s pretty awesome.
3. Make An Environmentally Friendly Choice. There are many problems with the fashion industry. There’s sweat shops, for example, where poor people make those $700 shoes for $10 bucks, which are then shipped across the ocean–using gas and other resources, of course–and sold at a huge markup to consumers here. Or, there’s polyester, which is often made out of petroleum oil, the same stuff that’s flooding the Gulf Coast right now, which in turn is blended with most fabrics and in most of our clothes. Or there’s … well, you get the picture. Buying used clothes avoids all this ickiness.
4. Have Fun and Feel Smart. Buying used clothes is a state of mind. It can be a gross, depressing task where you have to shift through filthy sweat-stained racks because you are too poor to shop in real stores. OR it can be a creative challenge where you find clothes that look awesome on you, are one-of-a-kind, and so cheap you can hardly believe your luck. The choice is up to you.

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5 thoughts on “Wearing Nothing New”

  1. I am a huge supporter of second hand shopping. Thrift stores, consignment shops, church rummage sales, garage sales…all great places to get affordable used clothing, and I’m not one for the fashionable clothing, so, I rarely shop new. In fact, it’s undergarments, and sock that I buy new, always. Those I won’t wear used…oh, and shoes. I tend towards new shoes, but, that’s because I spend so much time on my feet daily, I have to have absolute comfort, and have never found used shoes to fit the bill.

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  2. I admit, I am a sucker for high fashion, but I equally love paying off my mortgage and the idea of traveling for retirement, so thrift stores (op shops on this side of the world) are perfect!! I get my retail therapy without overspending and am shocked at how often I find high fashion brands for next to nothing. The little old ladies that run the shops around us can’t tell the difference between a shirt from Kmart or from Versace. I bought a Versace t-shirt for a few bucks the other day–brand new….score!

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  3. Wolfsong–Yeah I would never buy anything intimate like that secondhand–shoes, underwear, nightgowns. Yech. That’s too gross for me.
    Amy–That is a score! I’ve noticed that high-end clothes show up a lot in thrift stores. Same for nice cookware. It is amazing what people give away.

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  4. Pingback: Savvy Housekeeping » The 10-Item Wardrobe
  5. I started hitting thrift stores as a student, but continue now even as a professional. I find that I have better luck finding clothes that fit and that are decently priced at thrift stores vs new. For example, I have a closet full of clothes from Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J Crew, etc, and bought all but a few items from thrift stores. But I won’t go to any thrift store – in my city there are quite a few, but some never seem to have decent stuff, or things aren’t organized by size (such a pain!!!). No two thrift stores are alike, so shop around and find some that have the kind of things you like.

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