7 Reasons Why We Buy Most Of Our Clothes From Secondhand Stores

by Annie Reneau
thrift store
gabriel12 / Shustterstock

My favorite summer dress is truly adorable. It’s flowery but not too much, it’s just the right length, and it has a fun little flare when I spin around. It’s perfect. Every time I wear it, I get a slew of compliments, and inevitably someone asks where I got it.

“Thrift store,” I say with a smile. “For, like, four bucks.”

I love shopping at thrift stores for both me and my family, and I honestly don’t care who knows it. Here’s why:

1. It’s like a treasure hunt.

I never know what I’m going to find, which is part of the fun of it. Not all thrift stores are created equal, but when you stumble across a good one, it’s like striking gold. I almost always end up finding something awesome for a ridiculously low price. The rush is worth the digging.

2. You find brand names for ridiculously low prices.

Last winter, I found almost brand-new Columbia snow pants for my husband for $10. I bought a Patagonia wicking undershirt for skiing for $3.49. I bought my favorite little green Aldo purse for $1.49.

Consignment shops are usually a little pricier, but they also have consistently better quality items. I recently bought a $195 pair of Hudson jeans for $25, barely used. Best fitting jeans I’ve ever gotten.

Now, truthfully, I’m not much of a brand person — I’m just pointing out that the stuff I get secondhand is not junk. People pay big money for these things, use them a little (or not at all), and then give them to thrift shops or sell them to consignment stores. It always blows my mind. There’s nothing but winning when you’re on the buying end of that deal.

3. You shop by size, not by style.

At most thrift and consignment stores I’ve been to, you shop by size instead of by style. In many ways, that makes it a lot easier to find things. I’d much rather sift through an entire rack of size 8 pants of varying styles, knowing that anything I see I can just grab and try on, than spot a super-cute shirt and find out they don’t have any in my size.

4. It’s earth-friendly.

Buying secondhand is also good for the environment. It keeps unwanted clothing out of landfills and extends the life of perfectly usable items.

5. Every item has a story.

I like to think about the story behind the clothes — who owned it, why they decided to get rid of it, etc.

6. It frees up money for other things.

I really dislike spending more money for things than I need to, and clothing just isn’t a place where I care to spend a lot of money. I stick to a classic style, and I can fill 75% of my families clothing needs — and still look nice — shopping at thrift stores. I’d rather channel our family’s hard-earned cash into travel or home-improvement projects than into our wardrobe.

7. It usually helps charity.

Not all thrift stores are connected to charities, but a whole lot of them are. The way I see it, thrift stores are a win-win-win. People clear out things they don’t wear or love (KonMari win!), other people get to buy stuff for supercheap (frugal win!), and charities get to earn some cash (nonprofit win!). Seriously, so much winning I’m almost tired of winning.

Only not really, because thrifting is the best. So excuse me while I take my $20, head to the Salvation Army, and get ready to pop some tags.