My gorgeous sister Gen not only has impeccable taste but she shops smart too! We spent an afternoon shopping at some of my sisters favorite spots for recycled clothing. Essentially recycled clothing stores contain the "good stuff" you'd find at a local thrift store. They gather these pieces by purchasing items directly from the previous owner (YOU!) at about 30%-50% of what they'll sell it for. It's definitely more pricey than a thrift store but you will still save a TON of money on a recycled item vs. paying full price at the mall. Recycled clothing is not only good for the environment by keeping good clothes out of landfills but it is also an alternative way to buy certain items without giving money to the corporations who use unethical practices and creating more of a demand for the unethically made products.
Here are some simple steps to making recycled clothing work for you!
1. Sort through your closet at the very beginning of each season. Stores "buy for the season" so if you're trying to sell a short skirt and sandals in December you won't get very far. For the fall and winter think boots, jeans, party dresses, clutches and coats. For the spring and summer try blouses, shorts and sundresses.
2. Look for quality pieces you don't need anymore. As a rule, thoughtful shoppers don't make many impulse purchases of disposable clothing (more on that later) but if you have things in your closet you haven't worn in 9-12 months, feel free to say goodbye. One buyer told us "primarily what we pay top dollar for are designer or high end items in good condition (think: coach, seven jeans, anthropologie brands) . However we will also take trendy stuff as long as it's in great shape (think: forever21, urban outfitters). What's most important to us is to know that we'll be able to sell it, so if it's in style, in good shape and the right season we'll probably take it".
3. Make sure clothing is clean, wrinkle-free and clear of any rips or stains. Most stores will tag the item for re-sale while your standing there, so if the item isn't 'sale ready' they'll pass on it. If you wouldn't pick it up and want to buy it as-is, neither will they.
4. Toughen up! It's the buyers job to make sure they can make money off of your items by reselling them. We walked in with 12 items and the buyer accepted 5. Don't let this discourage you and don't be offended, you're still getting way more use out of your clothes than you would letting them waste space in your closet.
5. Sell where you want to shop. Most store will offer cash or store credit for the items you sell. The store we sold to offered 35% of what they'll sell the item for in cash but 50% in store credit. For example, if you bring in a nice coat and they'll sell it for $100 you can either take $35 cash or $50 to spend within their store. By selling where you'd also like to shop you're making your items work for you!
6. Shop!! Unfortunately on our little journey we didn't find anything we loved at the store we sold to, so we opted for $16 cash. Down the street we found the perfect blouse at another recycled clothing store for $18. We thought that was a great trade! Since the clothing has been worn before there is a stronger possibility that the item could have some type of flaw that the stores buyer missed so know before hand what the return policy is should you have a problem with the item.
In the coming weeks we'll have some thrifty ladies tell us their secrets on how to find great second hand clothing. Until then start gathering up some items to sell and start recycling!
recycled clothing stores:
Are you a recycled clothes shopper? Send us a picture of your finds by email or instagram @letsbefair.