secondhand vs. splurge

ethical shopping tips on a budget

Most of us are on some sort of a budget, especially when it comes to clothing. With the higher price-tag of ethical items, shopping secondhand is a great way to save some cash without supporting fast-fashion. However, if you have the ability to save up and buy something new, it can be a wonderful investment in your wardrobe. This post is dedicated to helping you determine what items are truly worth buying new and what items can easily be found secondhand! 


Items that are (almost) always worth buying new:

  • Bras + Underwear - Do I even need to explain this one? Buy yourself underthings that haven't been worn by anyone else... please! Check out Azura Bay or Naja for bras (Naja has frequent sales!) and find affordable basic underwear styles at PACT
  • Shoes - Occasionally you can find a great pair of shoes secondhand, but I think it's worth saving up for a pair of well-made shoes that will last you for years. When you get a new pair, they'll mold to your unique foot shape over time and be supremely comfortable. I'm a huge fan of Nisolo shoes and think they are reasonably priced for the level of craftsmanship. 
  • White Shirts - Armpit stains are a real thing, and there's nothing worse than not knowing whose stains you're wearing. For basic white tees and affordable white blouses check out Everlane and Brass
  • Athletic + Loungewear - I don't like the thought of wearing anything that a stranger has either sweat in or slept in. Anyone else feel that way? There are so many places to find ethically made activewear, some of my favorites are Free Label, MiakodaPACT, Encircled, and Threads 4 Thought


Items that can often be found secondhand:

  • Special Occassion Dresses - Unless it's a versatile dress that you'll wear over and over, I always encourage women to either rent or thrift dresses for special occasions. You can find amazing dresses that have barely been worn on ThredUp or rent designer gowns at Rent the Runway. If you have more free time, go peruse your local consignment store and you may just find an affordable gem! 
  • Winter Coats - I find it fairly easy to find warm winter coats at thrift stores, and a lot of the styles are so timeless that they still look great! It can be a massive investment to purchase a brand new coat, so look around some secondhand stores first. 
  • Sweaters - Just like winter coats, there are a lot of knit sweaters that are just as trendy now as they were a decade ago. A well-made sweater should stand the test of time, and you can find loads of them on thrift racks. 
  • Bohemian + Vintage Anything - If you're a fan of flowing summer dresses, vintage blouses and skirts, etc. you will be in secondhand heaven! Check out Velour for a curated selection of these items, or just wander through any consignment store and you're sure to find a unique piece you love. 


Of course you can find lots of other things secondhand, or perhaps you're in a position to save for new clothes whenever you need them. These are just general guidelines to help you in your conscious shopping journey. I'd love to hear what your favorite secondhand vs. splurge insights are!