Musings on Green Fashion, Part 1: Buy Used!

As much as I care about being green, focusing specifically on green fashion is relatively new to me. In recent months, I’ve started trying to reduce my purchases – buying less, and repurposing what I already have. However, I’m definitely a girl who loves clothes, and I often get sick of what I already own. Don’t we all? In fact, I’m planning on organizing a clothing exchange party for my girlfriends soon, because I know we all have cute stuff in our closets we’ll just never wear again and might as well pass along to a better home!

Anyway, I’ve started looking for clothing that is made from sustainable materials and/or made in America – extra points if it’s made locally. This is quite a daunting task, as you might expect. It is so, so difficult to find clothes that aren’t made in China. Now I haven’t done tons of research on this subject, but I’m willing to bet the working conditions in many of the places where this clothing is made are not the best, nor are the wages. Caring about the environment also means caring about the people on it, and I don’t want to support sweatshops. Again, I haven’t done extensive research on this, but in general, I am steering away from clothing and other products made in China, whenever possible.

In addition to being hard to find, eco-fashion tends to come in two different options: affordable and hideous (think hemp, hippie-style), or cute and trendy, but expensive. Now, I don’t mind paying a bit more for well-made clothing that’s in line with my values, but ya know, the economy is not doing so well right now. We’re all broke, and it’s simply not an option for many of us to buy fancy green fashion, even if we want to.

One solution I’ve come up with, that I’m liking a lot, is to buy used. Sometimes when I think about how much “stuff” is already in the world, I freak out. It’s pretty disgusting, actually. Buying used is a great solution, leaving a very small carbon footprint. I’ve been shopping at Crossroads lately (locations in CA, Seattle, Portland and Chicago), which tends to have current, cute, trendy fashion. I’ve also recently discovered Plato’s Closet, which I’m loving! I’ve picked up some great stuff in the past few weeks – a few dresses (for under $10), cute sunglasses (LOVE that I don’t have to buy “new plastic”), a zip-up hoodie that I’ve got tons of compliments on, a Weston Wear shirt (made in the USA, a local company AND used – triple score), and Joe’s Jeans that were $40! It looks like they have locations all across the country. I highly encourage you to check them out – you might have to do a little digging through a lot of teeny-bopper stuff, but there are some great deals to be found! Today, I’m wearing this cute dress I got there for $10. I haven’t checked out Buffalo Exchange yet, but they’ve got a ton of locations as well.

I feel really stupid modeling this, but cute dress, right?

Some stuff I’ve picked up thrift!
Velvet shirt (the brand Velvet, not the texture, which I hate, ha), C&C Organic hoodie shirt, Weston Wear shirt, Zip-up hoodie, “I Need a Hug” shirt, Joe’s jeans, the dress from the picture above, Little Black Dress ($8!)

I’ve also been doing a lot of eBay window (heh. Windows?) shopping. One problem with eBay is it seems to have been taken over by the resellers, which defeats the purpose of trying to buy used! But you can look under the Conditions filter and choose “used” or “pre-owned.” Sometimes “New w/o Tags” is also an option, but make sure they are not resellers. You’ll be able to tell if they have multiples of the same item. I bought the C&C California Organic striped-shirt in the picture above for $8, including shipping. It retailed for $98 – ridiculous! There are also some great eBay consignment shops that sell lots of cute, gently used clothing. If I find an item I like, I’ll check out the seller’s other items, again making sure they’re not a big reseller. One thing I like to do, when I’m not sure what I’m looking for, is search for a term like “Anthropologie,” which will serve up lots of clothes in the style I like.

I definitely encourage you to try thrift if you’re looking to be green while saving some cash. You – and the planet – deserve it!

Coming in Part 2: Shopping online for ecodeals, and buying American-made!



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7 responses to “Musings on Green Fashion, Part 1: Buy Used!

  1. I agree with you. I love Crossroads (both selling my stuff and buying *new* used stuff. Sometimes it’s hard to resist a good sale at Anthropologie or American Eagle though!

  2. janeterin

    Totally – you actually were the one to get me into Crossroads, cause you always have cute stuff from there! I can’t say I won’t ever buy stuff from regular stores – like you said, a good sale, is so tempting – but I’m trying for now!

    PS: Thanks for taking my picture! πŸ˜‰

  3. Good post! I have struggled with this a lot. I really like shopping (Old Navy and Target are my go to stores since they’re cheap but stuff is generally cute) but I hate that everything is made in sweatshops and in some countries I can barely pronounce (okay, that’s an exaggeration, but still!). I haven’t purchased any new clothing in a few months because of that. I really miss thrifting and have been trying to do it more often. Sometimes I also struggle with the fact that I am still buying sweatshop made clothing but from a thrift store, but I also don’t believe in wasting things so I guess giving clothing a new life is better than throwing it away. I have to remind myself that I am not perfect and I can do the best I can do. I’d like to pimp out No Sweat – they make sweatshop free, USA-made t-shirts and other things. I like them better than American Apparel since the owner is kind of a sexist jerk, but to each their own.

    That dress is so cute!

  4. janeterin

    Thanks, Heather! I totally know how you feel – it’s something I struggle with all the time, too. And I feel the same way about sweatshop stuff, even if it’s used. But I figure if more people bought used, it would mean less new stuff would have to be made in sweatshops. I hope.

    “I have to remind myself that I am not perfect and I can do the best I can do” – I like this. It’s easy to get totally caught up, and beat yourself up, for every decision you do and do not make, but we just have to remember, we’re trying, and it’s not always easy!

    I will totally check out No Sweat – the AA guy *is* such a creep!

    And thanks re: the dress! Not bad for $10, right?

  5. Great post! Can’t wait for part 2. I really need some new clothes, and I don’t have a lot of money to spend, so I’m going to hit up some used clothing stores/thrift stores to see what I can find.

    I’ve also participated in a few clothing exhanges and they are GREAT, especially if you have girlfreinds who are similar sizes. We always take the clothes that are leftover at the end of the night to a homeless shelter or Goodwill. Clean out the closet, get some new clothes, and help those in need! Can’t beat that right πŸ™‚

  6. janeterin

    Thanks, Hallie! I think I remember there was a pretty good thrift store in PB – I’m blanking on the name, though! I think maybe it was the Children’s Thrift? Maybe we can go when I am down visiting this summer! πŸ˜€

    I’m totally planning on doing an exchange, soon. Although, as the host, do I get first dibs on all the cutest stuff? Hehe.

  7. Pingback: A Green Prom « pretty green girl

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