The outfit I’m wearing in this post has been entirely thrifted through the main ways I buy second hand items.
On a recent trip to Newtown in Sydney (one of my favourite suburbs to hang out in), I picked up this amazing striped knit top by COS for AUD$20 from the store U Turn Recycled Fashion. For comparison, a similar sweater on the COS site currently sells for 69 euros. It’s a pretty big call, but I would say this is the perfect sweater – in snuggly warm wool, striped, perfectly slouchy, I am in love.
I’d been after a pair of J Brand jeans for a loooong time and while browsing at one of the charity stores near my home, I was super stoked to grab this charcoal pair (in my size) for AUD$15. Again for comparison, J Brand jeans in the same style retail for about USD$218.
And these Rag and Bone boots. I absolutely fell head over heels with these when I spied them on eBay. They’ve been worn and needed re-heeling, so after postage and repair the boots cost AUD$72. These boots sold for AUD$812 brand new.
So based on the labels and prices above, it’s easy to understand why I thrift. However, along with the thrill of the hunt and finding little gems like the knit for a fraction of the cost, there is another reason why I have chosen to thrift too.
One week I was at my local charity/thrift store on a Tuesday, on the hunt as per usual for the next great find. As with most of the stores in Sydney they get the majority of their donations over the weekend, and spend most of Monday sorting out the good and the bad.
So Tuesday is the day that they put the good stuff out on the racks. At the time of the day I visited the store, the staff hadn’t been able to put all of the newly donated items on the clothing racks just yet. I was absolutely shocked to see the sheer amount of clothing that had been donated just over that weekend.
There were countless storage bins crammed with clothes, bags and shoes, lined up in front of the racks they were to be organised on. It was really quite overwhelming seeing all the clothes spilling out of the storage bins. This of course doesn’t include all the clothing already tightly packed onto the clothing racks, plus whatever the staff decided wasn’t worth selling.
I felt an incredible amount of guilt in the previous purchases I had made before – those impulse purchases from cheap clothing stores, because who could resist a $5 bargain or a 40% sale? Those purchases that end up only being worn a handful of times before they end up in places like this, where the poor staff have to go through each and every item and inspect them carefully to make sure they can even sell the item again.
I felt guilt in the amount of money I spent over years on clothes that were manufactured on a mass basis, without much thought for the quality of each item, so that these pieces fell apart fairly quickly and end up being thrown out in the bin and added to landfill.
I felt guilt in participating in this fast fashion cycle, being swept up in the thrill of buying something new and trendy, only to stop wearing it after only a few wears.
Over the last couple of months I have hardly bought anything from an actual retail store. I did buy one thing from Witchery as it was a style I was after for a long time, plus I couldn’t find it through my usual second hand channels. I also bought something rather indulgent for myself as an early birthday present (which I’ll share soon!), which was also brand new. Where possible however I’ll try and buy from the charity/thrift shops, second hand markets/stores/fairs, or preloved on eBay.
Above all, if there’s one thing to take away from why I thrift (and why you should too) – paying 7% of the original retail price for a pair of J Brands. That’s basically lunch.
Wearing: COS striped knit | J Brand super skinny jeans in charcoal | Rag and Bone boots
Pics by Instagram Husband