Shopping Secondhand Is Thrifty, Chic And Green

Spring brings thoughts of new flowers, more sunshine, pedicures and new clothes (okay and healthcare, taxes). A great way to have fun expanding your wardrobe without being brutal to your bank account is to shop secondhand.  You feel refreshed and can try colors and styles you may not be certain of, for a fraction of what you’d invest at retail.  You may need to dig for finds, but shoppers seem to agree it’s worth it. Vivian, a 34-year-old stylist in Manhattan shares, “Stylists usually hit Beacon's Closet and Buffalo Exchange near Williamsburg for upscale thrift.  If you're up for the browsing time, it's easy to score a pair of Seven jeans, a Tracy Reese strapless dress, and a pair of Prada boots, or even a colorful pair of Nike Dunks which I got for $15 last weekend.”

Secondhand bargains in Chicago are great too and the cheaper thrift stores like Unique usually have a half off deal of some sort running. We found a Coach bag at Family Thrift on Milwaukee Ave. for $2, unheard of!

Ann, a 40-something editor from Toronto is a big fan of secondhand clothes because they fit her better.

“I find many vintage items are better tailored to my short, curvy proportions than contemporary pieces--especially coats.  My favourite pieces are a 1950's black cashmere overcoat with large buttons and a flattering raspberry-red winter coat from the same era. They cost around $35 each and have gotten me through several long Canadian winters in style.”

Don't forget to accessorize!  Online vintage stores like A Touch of Vintage carry cool, unique pieces that are the perfect finishing touch for your wardrobe or living room.

Still not convinced?  Here are some interesting facts that might convince you.

It’s green. The David Suzuki Foundation blog says each American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing per year.  Remaking what you have, taping into/having clothing trade parties, or re-buying secondhand--are clearly the better ways to buy.

It’s chic. How many times have you seen “retro” or “vintage look” in a fashion magazine?  Exactly.  Skip the pricey footprint and price tag and get the real thing. And bonus, you won’t end up in a “Who Wore It Better” photo spread—you’ve got your own fashion beat.

It helps others. You’ll probably have the biggies in your area—Goodwill or Salvation Army which help build your community.  Look out too, for smaller gems that also benefit local charities, like St. Vincent de Paul in LA or the arts, like the City Opera Thrift shop in NYC.