Ethical and inexpensive: The perks of secondhand online clothes shopping

Photo of Facebook's Free & For Sale page and a stack of clothes
Antonio Martin/Staff

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As someone who loves clothing but doesn’t love spending huge amounts of money on clothing, the comfort of my favorite stores and local thrift stores has made me feel like I’m wearing the same old clothing. Of course, online stores are always available, but I always feel so nervous about how clothes will fit and dealing with returning items if they don’t work out. Though it’s hardly a problem that I haven’t been buying much clothing lately, I do feel as though I’ve been missing one of my favorite ways to procrastinate and make my days a little brighter. Well, Clog readers, I have the solution for you — online used clothing shopping. I’m talking Facebook Free and For Sale, websites such as ThredUP and even just following fashion Instagram accounts that sell used clothing! The world of secondhand, online clothing is at your fingertips!

It can be super cheap

I love nothing more than a great deal on the perfect pair of pants. Pages such as Free and For Sale are the perfect places to cheaply buy items others people are tired of but feel completely new to you. My pro tip is to ask if people are selling items that are price negotiable. Often people really just want to get rid of their old clothing, and you can easily save a couple bucks by asking if you could pay them $8 instead of $12. 

Not as scary as online shopping

When you’re online shopping, there are so many questions that go unanswered until the item arrives. When will it arrive? Will it fit? Will the quality be okay? Will it look like the picture? Though, of course, using a communal online marketplace doesn’t eliminate these worries, it definitely minimizes them. On a platform like Facebook or Instagram, you can message the seller to get a better idea of size, ask them about the wear and tear on the fabric and request more pictures. And if you’re picking up the item from them instead of having it shipped, you can always hand the item back if it isn’t what they promised!

It’s an environmentally friendly and socially conscious option

As much as I love scrolling through huge fashion retailer websites, I know that there’s a pretty decent chance the workers who made the item were underpaid and the fabric and materials were not sourced ethically or in an environmentally friendly way, not to mention all the packaging that comes along with online shopping. Buying clothing secondhand is a good way to be a little more conscious of your actions as a consumer. If you can find used clothing options that aren’t adding to continual support of corporations and retailers with poor practices, that’s a great step to take!

Procrastinate by hunting for bargains

Often, finding the best items of clothing requires checking websites and online marketplaces multiple times a day. Sometimes I’ll check Free and For Sale and find a super fun jacket, only to message the seller and find it was sold an hour earlier! Keep in mind that you definitely shouldn’t be obsessing over social media and online marketplaces — everything within reason! But if scrolling through pictures of used clothing is a fun way to take your mind off classes for a bit, go for it! 

Feeling crafty? 

I love finding weird articles of clothing and cutting them up into something really unique and fun. Sometimes I’ll see an article of clothing that won’t really fit me or looks a little strange, but I buy it anyway to use the fabric or materials to make something new! And seriously, because so many of these items are so cheap, it’s pretty painless if you make a mess out of your DIY.

Feeling inspired to check out some online used clothing stores? It has certainly helped me shop a little more ethically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you’re not a huge shopper, check it out! You might find something you didn’t know you needed, or you could even try to sell some items yourself.

Contact Elysa Dombro at [email protected].