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.
Saturday 15th of August 2020
I think thrifting is absolutely DISGUSTING. I have seen GoodWill charging MORE when you can sinply buy items NEW for less. Have any of yall heard of IDK WALMART!? I can get a NEW tank top for $3. We grew up poor and basically wore the same outfits every other day. My mom was a single mom with 3 girls, but she would NEVER buy us sthg used. That is so fucking gross. I knew a teacher who bought used underwear. I hate this trend too like OMG so retro shopping at these overpriced shitholes for items that were dumped for free. I went to a thrift store ONCE. I was looking 4 a halloween costume I could alter. The smell was disgusting. The creepy people. The setup of the store. Then those rich cheap bastards who can easily afford normal clothes, but hogging shit from poor people. These thrift dumps should be giving almost free stuff 2 ppl who are truly almost homeless. For everyone else no excuse 4 your dirty ass. Hello fungus, bedbugs, lice, bodily fluids, etc. It is just gross like ewl. Get a life losers. You like to scrounge off ppls used items. You wanna wear "designer" but buying from a thrift store. There are many outlets, promos online, certain holiday sales where you can buy these things at decent prices. Stop trying to dress rich if you aren't. How about just dress normal instead of trying to be flashy. Leave thrift stores for homeless. I bet you bargain" shoppers are the ones hiking up prices cuz youll pay that ridiculous price for an item you can get from the original store 4 cheaper. G R O S S!!!!! NASTY! Don't come near me cheap ass!
Thursday 2nd of July 2020
There is a nothing wrong with thrift store clothes. I always buy my work pants, Nice demim dress pants, Used clothes don't bother me one bit. Just wash them and forget about it.
Tuesday 3rd of September 2019
Getting overpriced brands for way less is so tempting, but the idea of someone having worn that item weirds me out a little bit. It's not even the worn part itself, but thinking about what they might have been doing, or where they might have been while wearing that item. I would never look down on anyone for dressing from the thrift store, whether because they enjoy it or because that's all they can afford, but I would't set a foot in a store that sells used stuff. I can't get over the smell. If anything, I'd consider getting a pre-owned dress or shirt online, purchased directly from someone and even then, I'd sanitize the heck out of it before throwing it in the washing machine with the rest of my clothes.
Monday 26th of August 2019
Have read with much interest all of the comments above in relation to this issue, which is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.
I'm in my mid-30s, Male and when I was in my teens I absolutely loved nothing better than finding a thrift store bargain. I was (and still am) very much of the thinking that really well made and designed clothing is an art-form. I remember finding really unusual designer pieces, a couple of which I still have (but don't quite fit my frame, 20+ years on!).
Now, I'm getting a little older, but still very much interested in both Avant-Garde and just really beautifully made garments. The trouble is budget. The kind of items I'd love to be buying are crazily expensive. I'm very good at sales though, and maybe once or twice a year will watch a garment until it comes down to a price I can afford them jump. Investment pieces only. Blazers, very high quality shirts etc.
But, the more time I spend trying to dig out rare and costly designers, the more I refer to e-bay. And yes, I can on occasion find a really special item there. But something stops me.
And that's OCD. Not the silly version of it that TV has made is all thing it is, but the actual diagnosed psychiatric condition.
Has anyone experienced this kind of issue when it comes to second-hand clothing?
It's strange that clothing never used to bother me when I was younger (even though OCD was a big problem for me then) but that it has now re-emerged, in this manifestation.
I'd love to hear from anyone who has had any experience in the field as it were!
Thanks so much
Saturday 1st of December 2018
I have been buying the clothes from thrift stores almost exclusively for the past 30 years since a friend invited me to go to Goodwill with her. My first reaction was "what for?'. I had a very good job and shopped the mall for most of my things. Well on that first trip I found a brand new London Fog all weather coat, and 2 beautiful dresses that fit perfectly. Now I am very petite so finding things that fit has always been a challenge....I don't sew. I got so many compliments on those dresses at every occasion I wore them and they lasted and lasted. Then I noticed I could find jeans that fit, already pre shrunk and softened, this was a novelty. Soon I noticed my thrift store finds were not wearing out as fast as store bought. No opening seams, buttons falling off (again, I don't sew), not fraying as fast. In fact over I have some thrift store things that have lasted a good 10 - 15 years. Can't say that for the few retail things I have gotten. In fact I just tossed out a Dress Barn blouse (one of my favorite pieces) that I bought new 4 years ago after getting a new sales job and needing some new clothes for it. I had just moved to a new state and hadn't found the thrift stores here yet. Noticed last week that the hem was badly frayed and I could see thru the shoulder seams. Of course it didn't take me too lomg after moving here to find the amazing thrift stores in the area and those items are still going strong. Last month during a trip to Breckenridge I checked out the thrift shops there and found so many "must haves" I also had to pick up another suitcase to get them home. Worrying about somebody else having worn it is just silly. Thats what washing machines are for. You're not going to get some horrible disease from putting on something someone else wore. If the seams are good, buttons firmly attached, not shrunken or stretched and it fits and looks good on, I say save yourself some money! Have a nice dinner out.