Opinion: Everybody should be thrifting their clothing


Sydney Lammey

My closet with some of the clothing I have thrifted over the years.

Sydney Lammey, News Director

Clothing is a part of everybody’s life, whether it is used as an outlet for self-expression or just as a way to function day-to-day. Some people purchase clothing from fast fashion brands like SHEIN or Forever 21, while others get their clothes from luxury brands like Ralph Lauren or Dior, but most people shop somewhere in between. Whether your average clothing expenses are on the cheap end or the expensive end, everybody should be shopping at thrift stores.

Thrifting has recently become trendy in the past few years through the use of the social media platform TikTok. While trends on TikTok seem to come and go very quickly, thrifting has stayed pretty popular. 

At first, the rise of people going to thrift stores seemed like a good thing; people were helping combat textile waste and giving old clothing new homes. But as more and more wealthy influencers began to post their $300 to $500 thrift hauls, people began to see issues with thrift stores becoming a trend.  

TikTok user “2018.k1d” believes that wealthy people shopping at thrift stores is disrespectful to those in need of inexpensive clothing. 

“It’s annoying because thrifting isn’t a trend, especially if you have money. People are struggling and that’s all they can afford while you guys buy the whole store,” they said in their TikTok post. “Thrifting isn’t trendy, it’s so disrespectful too if you can go to other stores, thrift stores aren’t SHEIN or cheap, it’s for people in need,” they add.

Just like thrift stores themselves, the idea that only lower-class people should be shopping at thrift stores is also trendy on TikTok. There is an idea going around that there is only a certain amount of second-hand clothing in the world, so when wealthy people purchase large amounts of clothing from thrift stores, they are inadvertently taking away clothing from lower-class people, but that is not the case. 

According to Washington Post writer, Allyson Chiu, Goodwill received more than 107 million donations in 2021, which amounts to about 5.7 billion pounds of clothing. 5.7 billion pounds of clothing is more than enough for everybody to be thrifting clothes. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 84% of donated clothing ends up in landfills or incinerators. Not only that, but fast fashion companies produce around 92 tons of waste a year. With the mass amounts of clothing waste in the world, all people should be thrifting clothing. 

TikTok user “Wretcehed3ggg” also believes that thrift stores are not only meant for low-class people. 

“Hot take: there’s nothing wrong with rich people shopping in thrift stores. Overconsuming is only a problem if it’s tied to overproduction. Buying a s— ton from thrift stores is a good thing unless you aren’t repurposing, upcycling, ethically disposing, etc. Rich people aren’t raising thrift store prices, corporations are,” Wretched3ggg says in a TikTok post. 

Instead of posting $700 SHEIN hauls, influencers have been posting thrift hauls. While they might not know it, by spending their money at thrift stores instead of fast fashion companies, these influencers are helping repurpose clothing that may have ended up in landfills. 

I purchase almost all of my clothing second-hand, either from thrift stores or eBay. I have been thrifting clothing since I was in elementary school. When I first began thrift shopping by myself, I would buy 10-15 pieces and only add 3-5 pieces to my closet rotation. Instead of throwing away the clothes I did not wear, I donated them back to the thrift store. When buying second-hand clothing, I like to think of these things: 

  • Will this go with the clothing I already have in my closet?
  • Is the item in good condition? 
  • How old is the item?
  • What is the item priced at?
  • Does the item fit well?
  • Would I buy this item at full price?

Thinking about those things every time I go to the thrift store helps me keep myself from buying clothing I would not wear. Thrifting has helped me spend less money on clothes and have more unique clothing in my closet. 

Whether you shop at thrift stores for inexpensive prices or just because it is trendy, everybody should be shopping there. Thrifting helps repurpose clothing that has already been manufactured, keeping it out of landfills.

Some of my favorite thrift stores/second-hand stores in Northern Colorado are:

  • ARC Thrift Store – 2701 S College Ave
  • Ragstock – 228 South College Ave (clothing here may be sold at mark-up prices)
  • Plato’s Closet – 4372 S College Ave (clothing here may be sold at mark-up prices)
  • Goodwill – 315 Pavillion Ln (recently closed down the outlet location next door)
  • ARC Longmont – 1750 Main St

If you are interested in clothing at even cheaper prices, Goodwill has a few outlet locations in Colorado. The Goodwill outlets are located at:

  • Goodwill Outlet World Denver – 4355 Kearney St
  • Goodwill Outlet World Aurora – 13600 E Mississippi Ave
  • Goodwill Outlet World Englewood – 3155 S Platte River Dr
  • Goodwill Outlet World Colorado Springs – 2855 S Academy Blvd

Help reduce clothing waste by purchasing clothing second-hand at any of these locations.