So why shop second hand? For some people the thought of buying, and wearing, other people’s castoffs is just too yucky. (I confess I did post here about some apparel I wasn’t sure I could wear second hand). But for those of us who embrace the individuality, frugality and eco friendliness of thrift store shopping there’s nothing to beat it.
Below are my reasons for why everyone should embrace second-hand shopping (and giving):
1) No one will have the same outfit as me. I have to confess this was the reason I began charity shopping many years ago. As a student I wanted to look individual. I wanted to wear the shirt, jacket or shorts that no one else had (it was the early nineties and I went through quite a phase of wearing shorts/cut offs with patterned tights. I also had a great pair of shorts made from some old curtains!). I guess this is a habit that has stuck with me. Second-hand shopping is also great for experimenting with style and colour because…..
2) It is affordable. Although there are some charity shops whose prices can match the lower-end of the High Street, second-hand is usually cheaper. For those of us on a budget, or wanting to experiment with a new look, the price of pre-worn clothes makes clothes shopping so much more affordable. Of course this can also tempt us thrifty shoppers to buy more than we need because we may just fit into those trousers at some point. So I think it’s also important to remember one of the best reasons to shop second-hand is because…
3) It encourages re-use. Long before we knew about the three Rs charity shops were there to enable us to buy re-used clothing. By purchasing second-hand we are extending the life of a garment. We are ensuring the resources that are used to make, transport and package it are stretched for just a little longer. We aren’t buying into the first-hand High Street mantra of constantly purchasing new (then throwing away). But in order to keep the cycle going we must remember to donate our unwanted clothing to charity shops too.
4) It gives to good causes. This, of course, applies to charity (or thrift) shops. There are many second-hand businesses that are run for a profit for whom all the other reasons apply. But charity shops act as the public face of an organisation, raising awareness of their campaigns and mission as well as generating funds from direct sales. By purchasing from – and donating to – Oxfam, Hospice shops, British Heart Foundation, RSPCA etc we are also contributing to their cause.
5) The ‘feelgood’ factor. This comes down to the fact that I love browsing and getting a good bargain! I’m still feeling smug about the green dress I wore for New Year from a charity shop whose lookalike is on sale in Hobbs for £159! Okay, so mine was preworn and I have to sew the buttons back on the cuffs and there is a very, very tiny hole in the front. But I like to feel it has a story to tell and, if I take care of it to pass onto my daughters its life will carry on for a very long time…
So, in a nutshell, these are my five reasons for shopping second-hand. I’m sure there are plenty more but these are the ones that appeal to me. Why do you shop second-hand?