Sustainable Clothing: ThredUp Review

UPDATE: thredUP has graciously provided me a discount code to offer to all of you!

Use the code ZOETIC at checkout to get 50% off your first order under $50.

 

So a couple months ago I heard about this website called thredUP, probably in an ad or a Youtube video, and it’s unlike anything else I’ve come across. thredUP is basically an online thrift store – think the convenience of online shopping crossed with the fantastic, one-of-a-kind items you find at secondhand stores. Not only am I a bargain hunter and hate paying full-price for clothing, but I love the idea of buying secondhand to be more environmentally conscious.

Wait, how is that related to the environment? I’m so glad you asked!

The clothing we buy definitely doesn’t scream “environmental waste” the same way plastic cups or grocery bags do, but we should be thinking about its impact more often. We are surrounded by cheap, “disposable” clothing  – think of all the low-quality, low-price “fast fashion” clothing stores that have gained popularity over recent years like Forever 21, H&M, Zara, etc. It’s easy for us to buy clothing, not necessarily because we love the item or it’s good quality, but because we think, “it’s only $10, I might as well grab it!” (sound familiar?)

Our society has this obsession with constantly purchasing new and replacing the old; nothing feels as good as new clothing right? But what we don’t think about is the fact that we wear that item maybe two, three times (maybe never) and it ends up in the trash or a donation bin (with the best intentions, of course). Unfortunately, most disposed clothing ends up in landfills regardless because it’s too worn to resell, isn’t a valuable fabric or brand, etc. And clothing, especially the cheap, disposable clothing we love, isn’t very biodegradable – it is filled with dyes, chemicals, and synthetic materials that stay put for years and release chemical compounds into the air, soil, and water.

If you want to learn more about this issue, there is a great documentary on Netflix called The True Cost, which explores the detrimental effects of fast fashion on the environment and the well-being of those in developing countries.

It’s easy to see why the secondhand movement is gaining popularity lately. Not only is there great value in shopping secondhand, you are also giving quality items a second life. Enter thredUP. There is a crazy, overwhelming amount of items in this store – seriously, you could browse for hours – and you can filter items by brand, sizes, colors, etc. They also have crazy strict standards for accepting clothing, so you are guaranteed to get barely-worn or brand-new (with tags!) clothing for super cheap. However, you need to act fast: this is an online thrift store, so there isn’t countless copies of each item but rather each item is unique. Because of this, obviously only one person can purchase each item, so once you put something in your shopping cart it is unavailable to other users online.

Lululemon, Madewell, and Nike?!

Now, there are only two negatives that I would point out with thredUP – however, they are fairly common issues with any online shopping. The first is that some of the items I ordered didn’t fit as well as I would’ve liked – however, that is a risk you take with ordering online and not being able to try on the clothes before purchasing. I should have anticipated this problem with ordering jeans and shorts online, so I blame myself for that. The other downfall is the return process of thredUP – they do allow 14 days after delivery to return any items, which is great. Unfortunately, to ship back the few items that I wasn’t pleased with was going to cost around $30, almost half of what I would’ve gotten for the refund. However, the company is still fairly new so I anticipate they will improve this return process in the future.

Despite these two issues (which to be frank, most online shopping has these same pitfalls), thredUP is seriously an amazing company that you need to check out (PS – I may have a promo code for you in the works, so stay tuned!). My order came quickly, the items were in beautiful condition and were accurate to their description. Not to mention there was an endless selection of amazing finds; there is TONS of basically new, brand name clothing (think Nike, Lululemon, Madewell, Gap, Steve Madden, Free People, etc.) for really cheap. Seriously guys… I ordered a beautiful, high quality Levi cardigan for under $20 – that’s insane. I will definitely be ordering from thredUP again, although I think I will stick to ordering tops since ordering pants online is always a risky game to play!

Not ready to embrace secondhand clothing? At the least, try to be more mindful about the clothing you buy. Although it’s easy to buy a cheap top that you’ll wear once, consider how long that top will sit in your closet (or landfill) after that one wear. I understand as a student that no one wants to spend big bucks if they don’t have to, but investing in good quality clothes that will last you – and stay out of landfills as long as possible – is definitely worth it. And when you do get tired of a piece of clothing, look for other options for it besides the garbage; can it be donated? Can you reuse the fabric for dish cloths or other scraps? Can you sell it through a company like thredUP and Plato’s Closet or sell it locally? My mom, sister, and I are notorious for selling our gently-worn clothing on our local Facebook Buy and Sell page – it’s a great way to give your clothing a new home to people in your community.

 

I hope you enjoyed a bit of a different post today; although this blog will focus on nutrition content, I am very passionate about mindful lifestyle practices as well, especially those related to environmental sustainability. I hope these posts are beneficial and challenge you to be more mindful of your everyday actions and purchases. Next week we will be back to a nutrition-related post (a controversial one at that), so watch for that next Monday!

What are your thoughts on buying secondhand? Are you a skeptic, or are you all-aboard? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below, here, or on Instagram and Twitter!

 

Talk soon friends!

 

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