Did you know that every week, 11 million clothing items end up in a landfill? Globally, we consume an estimated 80 billion new pieces of clothing each year. This has significantly increased over the last two decades (an estimated 400%).
I’m a little late to the game on #SecondHandSeptember, but I’ve made the pledge to not buy any new clothing for 30 days. You can make the pledge too (here) and learn more about the impact of mass clothing consumerism.
I enjoy exploring trends and evolving my personal style, but over the years I’ve shifted from this desire to stay on top of whatever was en vogue to shopping with more intention. I’m a firm believer in purchasing less and buying pieces that might be a larger investment ($$$) but have a longer shelf life.
My personal equation for being more conscious about my consumerism is paying attention to (1) where things are made (and with what materials), (2) shopping second-hand, (3) supporting small makers, (4) buying with intention so that I’m purchasing and throwing away less.
I’ve complied a list of my favorite places to shop second-hand for apparel. Now, keep in mind, this is not a comprehensive list. There’s several shops around the triangle that I’m sure are absolutely fantastic. These are just the ones I’ve been to.
- Rumors Boutique
This is one of the first shops I went to when I moved to Chapel Hill. They offer truly unique and quirky fashion pieces at affordable prices. The black lace kaftan in the photos in this post is probably my favorite find from Rumors. It’s a great spot if you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe with something unexpected. There are two locations in North Carolina – one in Chapel Hill, and a new location in Durham.
- Dress Raleigh
With two locations, this designer consignment shop is a one-stop shop for investment pieces. They sell some of my favorite designers like, Ganni, Vince, Theory, Ulla Johnson, & Veronica Beard. I recently scored a vintage Prada backpack that I’ve been sporting 24/7. They also hold amazing end of season sales where you can get some great deals.
- TROSA Thrift Store
TROSA is typically my go-to for housewares, but I’ve found some great accessories – particularly belts. I’ve scored some beautiful vintage leather belts for $1.99. All of which were in excellent condition.
- Scrap Thrift
Like funk? This is the place for you. They have some basic clothing too, but you go to Scrap if you’re looking for those unique pieces that will add some flare to your look. For example, while I was there this week I saw a white, faux feather jacket that just screamed 1920s flapper. I adored it.
- Clothes Mentor Chapel Hill
I have yet to visit in person (yet), but their Instagram is stacked with great pieces, at great prices. They routinely run sales and have a super responsive staff running their Instagram. You can even place a hold on an item they post during the day until you’re able to go check it out in person.
- PTA Thrift (Chapel Hill & Carrboro)
I love both of these spots. The Chapel Hill location is smaller but is always stacked with cute pottery. Sometimes I find some cool clothing pieces here, but I’ve had the best luck at the Carrboro location. I recently purchased a vintage Gucci wallet for $25 (yes, it’s real). I’ve also seen other luxury brands like Burberry there as well. They have a wide selection of clothing for men, women, and children and some great shoe options as well.
If you’re a reader who doesn’t live in the triangle, first off, do some googling. I’m sure you have thrift and consignment stores in your area.
- Poshmark – Most of us have heard of Poshmark before, and I can’t say that I’m a huge Poshmarker. However, when I’m on the hunt for something specific, especially if it’s last season, I typically start here. Somethings sellers price their items too high so make sure you do your homework on what the price of a particular item should be.
- Depop – I think this awesome online marketplace goes unnoticed a lot. Many of my favorite bloggers sell items from their closet on Depop. I feel like I can find more unique pieces here compared to Poshmark. However, you have to use the app to shop which can sometimes be a bummer.
- TheRealReal – Prada, Chanel, and Dior – just to name a few. This is the place you go if you want to find a luxury designer piece. They run sales constantly, and there are incentives when you first sign up as well.
- Tradesy – Similar to TheRealReal, but they also sell less expensive brands like Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors. Again, for me, I go in to these searches knowing what I’m looking for and at the end of the day, I’m just looking for the best deal for whatever item I’m on the hunt for.
- eBay – Yes, eBay. I think we forget about this as an option for online shopping. Now, you have to shop with care. Especially if you are looking for designer pieces because there is no third party authentication provided by eBay. That means you have to do your due-diligence. Ask for authentication paperwork, or any necessary photos you need to validate it yourself. I purchased a beautiful Veronica Beard floral dress for a fraction of the cost on other online retailers.
A few tips for consignment and thrift shopping for clothing…
Be specific // Know what you’re looking for, or else you’re going to get overwhelmed really quick. The one thing I hear from you all on Instagram is that you find thrifting overwhelming, and I totally understand that. Walking in to a thrift store, especially one like Trosa or The Scrap Thrift can seen a little daunting. This is the thing, the more you thrift, the better you get at it. Just start by checking out different stores, walk around, and see which ones seem to be more your style/scene. Get comfortable with how they organize the store, that way when you are on the hunt for something you know exactly where to look.
Quality over quantity // If you think that Forever 21 shirt that falls apart after one wash is going to hold up after you found it in a thrift store, you’re sorely mistaken. Look for pieces made with quality materials. Check the lining, the seams, and the overall feel of the piece. Which leads me to my next tip…
Check the tags // Figure out what the piece is made out of and where it’s from. This is huge. It will also help determine how you can take care of it properly because it will need to be cleaned before you wear it. Checking the tags will also help determine the age of the piece.
Be ready to walk away // Look at the end of the day, the thrifting/vintage game is about being willing to walk away. If something doesn’t call out to you, don’t get it. I feel this way about all of my purchases now. It’s better to have less in your closet than it be filled with stuff you really don’t like or feel indifferent towards.
Patience // Thrifting takes time. You have to be willing to do the leg work. I recently found a vintage brass buckle leather braided belt at Trosa for $1.99. It was exactly what I was looking for, but it took a few weeks before I actually found one. It was worth the wait!
As always, thank you for reading. It means the world to me. If you’re a triangle local, I’d love for you to comment with your favorite places to shop second-hand because your girl is always on the hunt for new places to check out.
Photography: Dan Hacker