One great way to save money is to purchase used clothes. Some people spend thousands of dollars on clothing every year, and because shopping is a pastime for many people, that number just keeps rising.
One way to combat the high costs is to get comfortable with buying used clothes. I don’t mind wearing used clothes at all as long as they are in good condition. I’ve saved quite a bit of money this way (and by avoiding the mall altogether!)
However, not everyone agrees with me, so here are a few things to consider when talking about buying clothes or even buying used clothes in general.
One thing to consider when buying used clothes is how long they will last but this can be applied to new clothes too. For example, you can get an entirely new wardrobe at a place like Forever 21 and not spend a lot of money, but how many years will you get to wear them?
Sometimes, it really is worth it to buy new clothes that are high quality because they can be “investment” pieces that will last a very long time. Investment pieces should be things like business attire, suits, dress shoes, etc. Things like mint colored jeans are only going to be in style for a little while, so it makes sense to purchase those from a thrift store or from a store with less expensive merchandise.
Also, when you buy used clothes specifically, one concern is that you don’t really know how used they are or if they were taken care of. For example, you might find a great quality brand a thrift store but if the previous owner didn’t follow the dry cleaning directions, you might be buying something that will fall apart after the first use.
Your Level of Queasiness
I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t bother me at all to buy used clothes. I love to buy Lilly Pulitzer sundresses and Polo button downs off of eBay because they are nice, high quality brands that I know will last despite multiple uses and wearers.
However, the thought of wearing clothes that someone else had on makes my husband queasy. He just doesn’t like the idea. He also likes to just go into the mall and pick up a shirt and buy it quickly or order one online quickly whereas I love digging through the sale racks and thrift stores to try to find a gem.
He completely acknowledges that I’ve found some great gently used clothes. He’s just not willing or interested in putting in all the effort to search for them in stores that appear (at least to him) to be kind of dirty.
Sometimes, you really don’t have a choice what kind of clothes you buy because of your budget. I’ve totally been there, needing a specific type of clothing for an interview but hardly having any money in my bank account. At times like that, you really can’t be picky about brands and prices and whether or not you like wearing used clothes. Sometimes you just have to do it in order to get to the next step!
So, now it’s time to hear from you. Do you like going to thrift stores or shopping on eBay for used clothes? Does it bother you? Do you think wearing used clothes is a smart move or a not-so-smart choice due to the reasons listed above?
Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech.