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Confessions of a Resale Fashionista 

By: Kim Cass

Oh how we love clothes shopping for a good deal and being eco friendly at the same time. Being good to the environment doesn’t mean that you have to do without comfort, style or nice clothes. Resale boutiques have become vogue in the last few years. You can easily be thrifty because let’s face it; in these hard economic times, many of us are looking for ways to cut costs and spend less without sacrificing style or quality. Thanks to vintage & resale stores, it means being kinder to the earth while you shop. Less consumer waste that ends up in landfills.  Men, women and kids can shop for stylish resale clothes at a fraction of the cost of “off the rack” retail.

Being environmentally savvy or “green” involves renewal, regeneration and giving back. When you purchase something that already exists, you’re saving natural resources and all of the energy used to harvest and make them. Now doesn’t that feel good?

Here’s ideas that are eco-chic and high on style:

Reused Clothing- If you’re looking for upscale clothes, shoes or handbags- there are plenty of designer resale boutiques all over the nation. All reused clothing is green, since – by being salvaged – it doesn’t find itself piling up in a landfill for all of eternity. It may take a little time and patience to hunt for individual items, but when you uncover those truly one-of-a-kind pieces that rival many of today’s mass produced fashions, second-hand shopping is worth the work. So go ahead and shop with wild abandon in your local thrift or vintage clothing stores. You can also make money by selling your gently used clothes back to many of these places. Ask if they do consignment or sell them to the store if they are in good condition. A win-win.

Thrift, Consignment & Vintage Shopping Tips-

Every fashionista knows that clothing made in the mid 1960s was usually top quality, which is why much of it is still in excellent condition at the local thrift or vintage shop.  What’s the difference between Thrift Stores versus Consignment Shops versus Vintage Boutiques?


Consignment stores are where the original owner retains some of the revenue from the sale– they often have equal quality to vintage boutiques, however thrift stores (with their hodgepodge collection of donated clothes) are where you must truly become a fashion sleuth.

Vintage shops will more consistently yield the best selection and the highest quality but prices will be higher than consignment shops or thrift stores. You are paying for a knowledgeable staff and a selection that is usually grouped by decade.

 Until the 1960’s most clothing was made to measure by major fashion houses, local seamstresses and even department stores, so definitely do not overlook unfamiliar labels. With clothing made prior to the sixties, higher quality is a given, especially if the label is woven and has been completely sewn down. Thrift stores and resale stores are basically shops that sell resused items, in this case clothing, shoes and accessories.

I was recently asked about organic clothing. Buying organic clothes means you are wearing cloth that is not made with pesticide-laden fabric. For example, organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides with attention to the eco system and biodiversity. I think it’s a very promising sign that some of the largest retailers have gotten involved with organic cotton. Walmart is one of the biggest buyers of organic cotton and they keep the cost down for those of us who aren’t looking to spend a week’s salary on one organic outfit! Organic clothing isn’t just limited to cotton. You can find wool, silk, hemp and jute to name a few. It’s good to keep this option in the back of your mind the next time you shop.

One of my favorite places to shop resale is Plato’s Closet. Their resale fashions  are current. From brands like American Eagle to Hollister to Aeropostale, Gap and Juicy Couture to name a few. Look for men and women’s clothes, shoes, hats, accessories, handbags and more. Many of these resale stores are chains and have locations all over the USA. www.platoscloset.com. Clothes Mentor is another resale store that only sells name brand, high quality clothing for 70% off regular, retail prices.

I also found resale clothes for babies to tweens at http://www.onceuponachild.com. All name brands and current styles. They also carry toys, shoes, baby gear like high chairs, bikes, car seats, toy boxes, books and more.

 Check out www.etsy.com. Etsy is your online source for hand made, repurposed and sometimes vintage accessories and clothing with amazing prices for the eco friendly fashionista. It’s “green style”. Fashion consciousness blossoms. Feel free to share with us your favorite local resale places or eco- friendly clothing finds. Recycling Vintage Fashions = “preloved”

So rock those resale clothes, you’re helping the earth!