From the Editor:
My name is Lilly and I’m a clothesaholic. My mother always had me “dressed up” growing up, which fostered a love for “getting dressed” over putting on clothes. Most of how my Mom afforded our outfits was through shopping second hand. When our daughter came along, I was also in love with dressing her. Every occasion needed a new look and then, of course, I needed an arsenal of clothes for “just because.” When she was two, I went through her closet for the first time and had a pit in my stomach seeing how much money and resources went into a newborn wardrobe filled with items rarely or even never worn.
Around that time, my friend Amy was in the process of her adoption. I had a toddler at home we welcomed through adoption, but Amy’s transparency and humility in her adoption process was teaching me new things about the commitment to ethical adoption. She also had a crazy idea to sell clothes she found on Instagram?! Since then, she’s found some of my daughter and I’s best loved clothing, welcomed her son and even sold some of our clothing we’ve grown out of. As we take a closer look at the environmental and ethical issues around fast fashion, shopping second hand has become a way for me to find my own style and even participate in trends (everything old is new again, making vintage my favorite way to shop these days!) without breaking the bank or creating waste. I’m excited to have Amy here as a subject matter expert on shopping second hand online!
Though I grew up shopping exclusively from the sale racks, secondhand and thrift shopping only became part of my life after I had my first child. Shopping for clothes and putting together outfits had always been a creative outlet for me and now with my own little living doll to dress, I wanted to always have him looking especially adorable. My best friend invited me to tag along to one of her favorite seasonal kids consignment sales and from the minute I entered the massive fairgrounds building I was hooked. Even though our style tastes differed greatly, we each found more than enough gently used clothes to keep our sons’ closets packed.
Fast forward a few years and I had a solid lineup of seasonal consignment sales where I shopped and was occasionally a seller. My sons attended a preschool right down the street from a thrift store where I always stopped when I had a bit of time to waste between my errands and pickup time. This is when I started to see how much STUFF was really out there.
Slowly my home began to fill with all the treasures I “rescued”- clothes for me and the boys of course, but also lamps, books, tables and every type of decorative accessory. But what I most hated about thrift shopping was all the things I had to leave behind like perfect little girls clothes or pieces that didn’t fit my boys. For a while I would buy these as gifts for family or friends, but in August of 2013 I bought a small amount of clothes to sell along with my boys’ outgrown clothes on Instagram as Amy’s Evolving Closet.
Soon after this our family began the process of adopting internationally and my side hustle of reselling clothes became an adoption fundraiser. Friends and customers from all over the country offered to donate or consign items, a service I still offer today.
The secondhand clothing movement continues to grow in popularity and approachability by the day as retail powerhouses like Nordstrom are opening their own secondhand divisions. Online platforms like ThredUp, Poshmark and Mercari cater to both buyers and sellers.
Here are a few of my best tips for starting to embrace shopping and selling secondhand:
Start local: Try out your local thrift stores, which are often associated with non-profits, consignment stores or sales first. Many consignment stores are happy to reach out when something from your favorite brand comes in. Learn what items they accept and their payout structure.
Follow shops/sellers on social media: This is a great way to get a sneak peek at items coming in or even purchase as many stores will ship. You can also stay up to date on upcoming sales or events.
Try things on/know the return policy: Size is just a number! For online shopping most sites provide measurements of garments which you can compare to things you own. Many, like Poshmark, do not allow returns in most cases, so you want to take that into account.
Have a list and save searches: The amount of clothing out there can be overwhelming so having a list really helps. Mercari and eBay both allow you to save searches and will notify you when something that fits your criteria is listed.
Decide what is right for you: The time/energy required for shopping or selling can be as much or little as you want to commit. I can spend hours in a thrift store while some of my clients have never set foot in one and prefer to have me shop for them.
If you’re interested in working with me to learn more about secondhand shopping or to Evolve Your Style you can join my Patreon community. There you will find everything from my best secondhand finds and a directory of influencers and ethical brands working in the second hand movement to the option to work one on one with me to define the fit, function and feel you want from your wardrobe.
Additionally I work with local clients at my studio space at Toast & Jam Community in Buford, Georgia. Shopping events are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am currently booking private shopping and styling appointments.
Any other questions about shopping or selling secondhand? I’m always down to chat!
Thank you so much, Amy! While I’m always scrolling the Evolving Style instagram and website for new finds, I also love shopping second hand online with Sparkle Kids, a darling consignment store in Austin, Kidizen (that link gifts you $5 off!) and Etsy. Do you have a favorite place to find second hand deals?
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