HOW-TO: THE THRIFTED CLOSET
WORDS AND IMAGE: KATE WEINER
As part of our Work With What You Have Project, we're committed to helping you find fun ways to scrimp and to savor. As Nicole beautifully showed us in her Nesting How-To, you can create something fresh from something pre-loved. We've talked plenty on Loam about the toxic effects of the fashion industry: buying new can no longer be the norm. Below is a brief list of ways to get thrifty. Be sure to share your own green tips with us as well--we always love learning something new.
This online thrift store is a great resource for finding gently-worn clothes for when you're searching for a nice something that's new to you/need to get together a professional wardrobe on a tight budget. You can also ship your own items at no cost to Thred Up. Whatever Thred Up doesn't buy will be donated to charity, ensuring that your old stuff stays out of the waste stream.
If you're in NYC, Housing Works is where it's at. This organization is committed to ending AIDS and homelessness through passionate advocacy, spirited auctions, and collaborative campaigns. Be sure to check out its multiple thrift shops and used bookstores: buying a t-shirt does a lot more good here than most anywhere else.
Eco-chic brand Reformation works with surplus materials and sustainable fibers to craft splurgey dresses and sweet separates. Although most of their stuff itself isn't thrift, Ref recently launched a genius clothes recycling program worth looking into. Have a giveaway that is too ratty for consignment? Check out this video to learn how you can be part of the movement to convert worn rags into reusable material.
This nationwide thrift chain is a surefire spot to find cute stuff that is still current. You can sell and trade old threads as well.
Both EBAY and ETSY can be materialist infernos--there is so much stuff to scroll through. However, if you refine your search to "used' and favorite brand, you'll have a good chance of finding preloved shoes for when your go-to pair can no longer be repaired.
As always, recognize that shopping is a luxury and not a necessity. It is easy to fall into the retail therapy trap--know that no object will ever truly remedy a bad day. Although I am someone who enjoys getting dressed and has a lot of fun thrifting with friends, it's a small part of my life. Practicing buying less begins with doing more-and you'll find that with practice, you'll want for fewer things and learn to better inhabit the present.