Fetch Fits: Sustainable Style on Earth Day


Jessica Vanderbeck

Second-hand shopping is a fun and fashionable activity to practice sustainable consumption.

Jessica Vanderbeck, Reporter

April 22nd is Earth Day, which means recycling, planting flowers, and- shopping? Yes! Shopping at second-hand stores (also called thrift or charity shops) is one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable. To celebrate the season, let’s look at two of the most popular local thrift destinations (Goodwill and Plato’s Closet) to find out which one is the right choice for you- along with some tips on finding the second-hand item that’s just right.

First, let’s look at the classic thrift giant, Goodwill. At Goodwill, you can get it all: clothes, shoes, and plenty of accessories. You could potentially find vintage and even designer pieces for incredibly cheap prices. It can also be a great resource for costumes or cosplay. You can find very specific items that would cost way too much to buy brand-new- especially coats and jackets. However, not every trip will be filled with designer items for less than ten dollars. Although it’s a great dopamine hit finding a deal on an expensive item, that item could be more worn than usual since the crowd that donates to Goodwill is a bit older. It’s also important to consider the age of the item- just so you don’t take home a rash.

Now let’s look at a more modern alternative: Plato’s Closet. The target audience of Plato’s is far younger, meaning the items offered are more recent. Their racks go on for miles, and they’re organized by color- perfect for pictures. The jewelry section at Plato’s is also worth looking at- if you like whacky earrings, this is the store for you! Plato’s really does feel like a teen dream, but it’s important to consider a major issue that all second-hand stores face: the excessive amount of fast fashion that gets poured into thrift stores. Be sure to check labels to know where your garment is coming from and what it’s made out of: look for natural materials like cotton and avoid polyester at all costs.

Once you determine which second-hand shop is right for you, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most out of your shopping experience. Check the website of your destination to find out when they open and find out when their new stock gets delivered. Often, the best times to go thrift shopping are weekdays early in the morning. It’s also a good idea to have a general idea of what you’re looking for when you go- although it’s good to keep your eyes open for whatever you might find, it’s also easy to get distracted by something you don’t need.

In an era of over-consumption, it’s hard to be a smart consumer. Some sustainable companies charge $70 for a plain white tee, and brands that sell at student-friendly prices are far from well-made. However, thrift-shopping is an easy and fun way to feel better about what you’re buying- without sacrificing style. “Thrift shopping is a great way to find sustainable clothes at cheap prices,” says Valeria Rodriguez Gonzalez, a senior Creative Writer and frequent second-hand shopper. “Sometimes, the clothes are a little strange, but that’s the beauty of thrifting- you always end up with something one of a kind.”

Happy Earth Day from Fetch Fits!