Forty percent of 18 to 24-year-olds shopped secondhand last year.
Thrifting has gone mainstream.
One in three women thrifted last year, and 40% of 18 to 24-year-olds shopped secondhand in 2017 alone, according to a new report from ThredUP, the resale retail site where shoppers can buy and sell used clothing.
ThredUP compiled stats from its own shoppers and market research firm GlobalData, and found that the secondhand resale market is growing 24 times faster than traditional apparel retail, and is expected to double from $20 billion to $41 billion by 2022.
The movement to buy used stems from more ethically-conscious consumers: 77% of millennials prefer to buy from environmentally-friendly brands, while 35% are more likely to switch shopping habits to thrifting because they’re concerned about waste, according to the ThredUP report. And a slew of celebrities, including Elle Fanning, Lily-Rose Depp and Georgia May Jagger, are leading the charge by frequenting secondhand stores like Golden Age, a popular vintage shop with 70’s and 80’s inspired used denim and leather goods in Los Angeles.
“I think the younger generation has grown up with less emphasis on materialism,” says Carrie Peterson, co-owner of Brooklyn-based Beacon’s Closet, a vintage shop with four locations throughout New York City. “They’ve also grown up with access to media in a way that allows them to see the global picture without filters. That has certainly made an impact on their choices and their options.”
At other thrift shops, like Buffalo Exchange in New York City, shoppers have an incentive to give back. Customers receive tokens in place of a plastic bag with their purchase, which can be used to donate to one of three local charities. For each token given, the store donates five cents to the chosen cause. It’s raised more than $728,595 since it opened in 1994 for a number of non-profits, according to its website.
Here are five thrifting hacks to practice during your next bargain binge:
1. Buy jeans with raw hems. Don’t judge your denim by its bottoms; just make sure it fits around your waist.
“Don’t be concerned with the bottom hem. Right now, raw open hems are in. If it’s a boot cut pant and it looks really dated — and not in a cool way — slice off four inches from the bottom, keep the hem raw and wear it cropped. Suddenly it looks like it’s in style,” suggests New York City-based stylist Shea Daspin.
2. Check the hardware. If you find a jacket, jeans, belt or purse that you like, always check the zippers and belt buckles to make sure they’re not defective.
“Make sure things snap, shut or zipper. Those are small things that can get overlooked,” says says Daspin. “Those will be something you have to pay to replace, or make the item unusable.”
But if you love a particular item that’s defective, and feel like it’s worth taking to the tailor, ask a store manager for a discount — some places will give 10% to 20% off of damaged items, Daspin notes.
3. Raid the jewelry section. Make a $5 jean jacket or cheap vintage T-shirt look chic and personalized by adding on brooches, pins and buttons you can get for sometimes just 50 cents apiece.
“Broaches are actually expensive. Out in the world, they can cost anywhere from $20 to a couple hundred bucks,” says Daspin. “Keep an eye out for unique, sparkly pieces that can embellish a more simple jacket you might have bought at Goodwill. You can make it look more expensive by adding on accoutrements.” And you shouldn’t spend more than $2 on each used accessory.
4. Buy it and try it. Most thrift shops have return or resale policies. So if you like something, like a faux fur jacket, but aren’t sure how it will look with an outfit at home, take it and give it some thought. If it doesn’t work out, you can bring it back and re-sell it.
“Be open to things that catch the eye and look good on, because they won’t be there again,” says Peterson. “There is usually only one of such a piece available. So there’s a bit of a ‘you snooze, you lose’ element to thrifting. Also, at many resale shops, if there’s any buyer’s remorse, the item can be sold back to the store, if not returned.”
5. Bring new sole to old shoes. The thought of buying someone else’s shoes can be a little gross — especially if it’s a sandal or something worn sans socks. But if the purchase — like a pair of leather boots — is really fabulous, take them to be professionally cleaned, and get a new shoe insert.
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