I’m a huge fan of second-hand shopping. There’s a tremendous amount of clothing already in existence, so much so that the average US-American throws away 81 pounds of clothing per year (Savers, 2016). Not only that, but new clothing takes a huge amount of resources to produce. So when I felt like my wardrobe needed a bit of a refresh for spring and summer, I turned to the second-hand market.
I thought I’d share what I bought in the form of a haulternative. In case you’re not familiar with this term, it was coined by Fashion Revolution as an alternative to regular fashion hauls, videos in which people share the clothes they’ve recently purchased, which ultimately fuel the fast fashion industry. Instead of showcasing new clothing, haulternatives consist of clothing that has been thrifted, swapped, repaired, or upcycled. The purpose is to demonstrate that you don’t need new clothes to refresh your wardrobe and express your style.
So here is my first-ever haulternative! I bought the first two items at a local thrift store, and the rest I purchased from ThredUP, an online consignment store. This was my first time thrifting on the internet, and although I was nervous about it (because the return policy seemed like a hassle), I’m pretty happy with almost everything I bought.
First up, I got this black tank top from Joie. It’s 100% silk, and cost less than $20! I never owned anything made of silk until about a year ago when I bought my first silk shirt (also second-hand) and have been wearing it to death ever since! I thought it would be nice to have another silk top, and since this one is so simple, it will go with pretty much everything.
Next, I got this 3/4 sleeve sweater from EILEEN FISHER. This is a sustainable brand that I truly admire, but definitely can’t afford to buy new. It’s 100% linen, and I think it will be a great layering piece for those cool-ish spring days and summer evenings.
The rest of the items I got were from ThredUP. First, I bought this gorgeous, 100% silk violet Chloe dress. I have never owned any designer clothing in my life, not even second-hand, but when I saw this dress in my size at such a steep discount, I couldn’t resist. The retail price of this dress is estimated at $1750, but I got it for $40. That said, it does have a hole in the back next to the zipper, but I’m hoping it won’t be too difficult to mend. Also, did I mention it has pockets?!
I also got a 3/4 sleeve t-shirt from Amour Vert. It’s sustainably made from 95% Modal. Although it doesn’t exactly scream “summer,” I think it will be cute with denim shorts this season. It’s also something I would wear all year around!
On the very summery end of the spectrum, I got this striped and palm printed halter top, with the tags still on. It’s from Zara, which is a brand I would definitely only buy on the second-hand market. I can’t wait to wear this out dancing with a flowy, high-waisted black skirt.
Next, this black tank dress is also a silk garment from Joie. I really like dresses like this one that are looser on top and more fitted on the bottom, but most dresses are the opposite.
I will be returning these last two items, but I thought I’d share them anyway. I don’t want to create the illusion that thrift shopping is a breeze and that everything works out perfectly. Sometimes you find exactly what you’re looking for, and sometimes you find nothing at all. I think I got pretty lucky in that most of what I bought online worked for me, but I spent a fair amount of time searching for various items, looking through photos, and reading descriptions, down to the materials each item was made of (I actually enjoyed this process, but I understand that not everyone would!). ThredUP subtracts a return shipping and restocking fee from your refund, which is not ideal, but it does make sense, given that they have thousands of unique garments that have to be processed individually. Plus, I’d much rather someone else buy and wear the clothes that didn’t work for me, instead of having them sit untouched at the back of my closet.
The first item I’m sending back is another dress from Joie. I thought this white eyelet dress would be great for the summertime. I could see myself wearing it to the beach over a swimsuit, and the long sleeves would prevent my arms and shoulders from getting sunburned. However, when I tried it on, I found the material to be surprisingly scratchy, which I imagine would be particularly uncomfortable when it’s hot outside. As a result, I don’t think I would get enough wear out of it to justify keeping it.
Finally, this short-sleeved back dress is from Amour Vert and made of Modal. I didn’t realize, however, that the material is a ribbed knit, which I’m not a big fan of. That might not be a deal-breaker by itself, but it’s also a little too small, so it has to go back.
And that’s it! I can’t wait to wear all these new-to-me clothes! I really enjoyed writing this post, so please let me know if you enjoyed reading it! I would love to do more posts like this in the future, but I rarely buy this many clothes over such a short time period, so it might be quite a while before I do another!
What’s your experience with thrift shopping (either online or in stores)? Do you have any favorite garments that you purchased second-hand?