Sustainable Fashion – Thrifting to Save our Planet (and your wallet!)

Okay, so the world is in a crisis. I know Covid-19 is the one thing we are most worried about at the moment, and a number of local and small businesses are going through tough times. Unfortunately, some of these businesses won’t make it through this crisis – and that’s a scary thought! A group of these small businesses are our charity businesses; our op shops, local hospice and SPCA stores, and a number of second hand stores that really help out our communities!

Things brings me onto today’s topic – why Thrift Shopping should be the future of shopping!

Of course, we are a materialistic group of people here in the Western World; we all want the new and shiny, and because of this we get rid of so many things that would be useful to other people. We are creating waste that our planet simply doesn’t need, and depriving others of items that would be of great use to them! Don’t get me wrong, I love buying things new when I see something I absolutely love, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that (especially when you’re able to support local as well!) but thrift shopping is just a whole new level of fun, and it’s something that we should all be doing more!

My Top 3 Benefits of Thrifting:

  1. Thrift shopping is also an amazing way to support buying local! Just by popping into your local Hospice, or St John op shop and picking up a few awesome pieces, you are also supporting local charities and giving back to your community. It’s almost like giving a donation – but you get some awesome fashion and homewares out of it! Besides, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and that is the joys of thrift shopping!
  2. It’s amazing on your wallet! Instead of buying brand new, which really you’re paying for the label as well as the item, second hand is a great opportunity to pick up some boujee pieces on a budget! Some second hand stores were originally started to help those less fortunate, which has now become much more of a trend as well – so why not take advantage?
  3. You’re doing the planet a whole lot of good by shopping second hand! You’re saving on waste by purchasing second hand clothing – which in theory means less clothes need to be made, and less get thrown out! You can even use clothes from a second hand store for their fabric and turn them into a brand new creation – which is even more saving! It’s much better on the environment to recycle as much as we can, and that definitely includes clothes!

My lovely friend Abby and I went on a thrift shopping challenge before lockdown – on a mission to see if we could shop different outfits for each other, only in op shops or second hand stores! We had so much fun, and found so many amazing items, all for an absolute bargain! Plus, with all of the stores being local, we were also giving back to our community, which makes the challenge that much better. (keep an eye out on Instagram for snaps of what we picked up!)

Thrift shopping, in my opinion, can be much more fun than regular shopping – especially with clothes! There are so many treasures, and amazing steals you can find, just within your local op shops and thrift stores! Here I will share a few tips and tricks to finding amazing bargains in thrift stores, and I hope this inspires you to want to shop second hand more often!

1. Look at Everything!

Yes, I mean everything. Find the racks with your sizes, and really have a look at everything! Thrift shopping isn’t like normal shopping in clothing stores, where you can look around and see items on display, you really need to get in there and see for yourself what they have to offer. Block out an entire morning so you can take the time to just browse and see the awesome pieces that your op shops and thrift stores have to offer!

2. Know Your Labels!

If you know your labels, you know what to look for! People drop off so many different pieces into these store – you’ll find a surprising amount of designer labels or even things from popular, higher priced brands! On our shop we found labels like Trenery, Boohoo, RPM, Kathmandu, and all sorts! You never know what kinds of items other people just don’t wear – and there are so many bargains!

How cute is this outfit? We picked up this tee from our local Hospice Shop here in Whakatane and the shorts from our local Recycled Labels Store!

The white tee was probably one of the most exciting finds on the whole trip! I love having a nice comfy white tee in my wardrobe – because they just go with everything! This one is a V-neck with a little chest pocket, the label was Maya, and only cost $2!

These shorts were super exciting to find – would you believe that they are RPM!? They’re cute floaty shorts that could be worn on a comfy day at home, around town paired up like this, or even on a run! (I tried them, they were actually super comfy on a run). Even better than that, these only cost $5!

3. Always Double Check the Quality

I can not stress this enough, always! Some pieces do go to op shops and thrift stores in varying conditions, and it’s best to double check to make sure you are picking up pieces in good quality! Sometimes they may have little holes or tears or stains, but that really doesn’t matter if you know how to tidy them up! Maybe, if you’re one of those amazing people that know how to sew, you’d be able to touch up special pieces that need a bit of TLC!

We managed to find a cute pair of Converse High Tops with some of the outsides slightly coming apart for a tiny 50c! What was cool is it was an easy fix; we could get some new inner liners so they were a bit more comfy on the inside, and

4. Take Someone With You

I personally love having a second opinion when I go shopping, but I found it even more helpful with thrift shopping! Having a second pair of eyes to make sure you don’t miss any amazing pieces, or to give you that helpful criticism, is just so helpful! Especially when you’re shopping in places that don’t have changing rooms for you to look for yourself!

5. Keep an Open Mind

Honestly, just open up your mind to different pieces, styles and colours! Thrift shopping and is an amazing way to try new styles, at a fraction of the price! If you only look for what you know, you are more likely to miss some of the other amazing bargains that these stores can have to offer!

On a normal day, I would never have gone for a red pair of pants (especially where I live…) but having a second opinion helped me realise they they actually looked pretty bomb and I should branch out more! It’s even influenced how I go shopping for all of my clothes, and giving me the confidence to choose things I wouldn’t normally. I find having a person with you when you’re thrift shopping is awesome to branch out your wardrobe – why not when you’re on a budget, and it’s much easier to commit to new styles!?

But that isn’t all! My friend Abby is (in my opinion) the ultimate Thrift Shopper! She currently has a personal challenge where she isn’t buying any clothes brand new (except essentials like under garments) and she’s doing absolutely amazing at it. I think this idea is awesome, as it focuses more on supporting local and reducing waste on our planet by thrift shopping. Every time we ask her “oh my gosh where did you get that!?” the answer is almost always from a thrift store!

You can find her on Instagram at

She has been super amazing to share a few of her top tips with you as well! Here they are – some tips from the master!

1. Work out How the Clothing Will Pair With Other Pieces in Your Wardrobe

Before you buy that insanely colourful sweater or vintage jacket, think about other clothing you already have and what you would wear with it. Then when you bring your thrifted clothing home, you’ll already have an outfit planned for wearing it.

2. You Don’t Have to be in a Boujee Thrift Store to Find Boujee Brands

There have been a tonne of upmarket thrift stores open recently, and yes – most of them stock all of the top brands. But these stores are often pricey! You can still find top brands in your local Red Cross or Hospice thrift store, it will take more time and patience, but pay off for your wallet!!

3. Try Before you Buy!

Yes, you may only pay $4 for a pair of pants, but you don’t want to get home and find that they’re super low cut, tight around the thighs and make you suddenly grow cankles!

There you have it, there are so many benefits to shopping local and getting your thrift on! With all of these tips and tricks, you’ll be the star thrift shopper in no time! You never know what treasures you will find until you get on out to your local thrift stores and give it a go! Get a group of friends together and make a day of it; I can promise you that you will have the best time together, and you’ll love it even more with all of the bargains you are bound to pick up! Whether you’re on a budget, looking for that specific piece for an event, or just out to refresh your wardrobe – don’t look past your local thrift shop! Give it a go, and you never know what you will find!

2 thoughts on “Sustainable Fashion – Thrifting to Save our Planet (and your wallet!)

  1. Thank you for this.

    My brother works for a Salvation Army store, and you would be surprised at what is brought in and what he has to go collect. My brother was telling us today about a piece of furniture that he and another driver had to pick up from an older lady. The woman did not know she had roaches and other bugs inside the couch, so they had to put it on the curb for her instead of taking it away.
    Some thrift stores are careful in sifting through what a person brings in and some are not.


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