People ask me all the time how I shop Zero Waste. My answer: secondhand!

I buy all of my clothing secondhand which helps me to save money and have a closet full of unique items. How do I do it? Well, I teamed up with Suitcase Magazine and Viber to create a video on why I love secondhand shopping in NYC and what my favorite spots are. Check out the video below to learn all about them!
My favorite Secondhand Stores in New York City: 

  1. Beacon’s Closet
  2. 2nd Time Around 
  3. Housing Works
  4. Goodwill

What do I look for? 

When secondhand shopping I look for simple, well made pieces that I could imagine wearing two days in a row and not having anyone notice. I like for my clothing to be basic and not trendy that way I can layer it, wear it over and over, and keep it for a really long time. I also look for pieces that are made from natural fibers like cotton, silk, hemp, wool, and leather. These materials are all naturally biodegradable. I stay away from synthetic fibers because they are bad for your skin because they are made from toxic ingredients, bad for the environment because they are typically oil derived and the extraction and production processes are chemical, water, and energy intensive, and bad for our oceans as synthetic fibers get released into our water system and mistaken for food by animal life which then suffocates them. Plastics in the ocean also attract toxins when are then consumed by animal life so I stay away from plastic based or synthetic fabrics.

What are some of your favorite secondhand finds and stores? Let me know in the comments below!

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8 comments

  1. So many great second hand items and passed down! Besides the environmental impacts that surround new clothing (or anything) , the human rights/social justice are important reasons to purchase second hand. I tend to stick to Goodwill and church thrift stores, as that is what is available in my community.

    I would rather have a sweater that my grandfather had than a new one purchased off the racks any day!

  2. Hi Lauren! You're such an inspiration! What do you do with clothes that you no longer want to wear? Do you use the fabric to make new pieces out of them, donate them, or sell them or anything like that?

    1. I was wondering alternatives for worn out clothing. I have some threadbare tshirts and jeans that are no longer wearable and would be turned to rags for heavy industry (that eventually get thrown away) or shipped overseas (ruining local clothing production from these cheap resells). Any ideas? Im stashing them for possible sewing projects for now.

    2. I was wondering alternatives for worn out clothing. I have some threadbare tshirts and jeans that are no longer wearable and would be turned to rags for heavy industry (that eventually get thrown away) or shipped overseas (ruining local clothing production from these cheap resells). Any ideas? Im stashing them for possible sewing projects for now.

  3. Hi Lauren,

    First off – love the blog. It's great. I was watching this video and I was interested that you were okay with buying clothes like a suede jacket which comes from animals. At what point does the intersection of environmental sustainability come in contact with animal poaching/killing? I'm curious to hear your positioning on that, because I'm taught to never buy anything with real animal fur.

    1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing local, organic, grass fed meat. Happy well treated animals are simply that. It's the circle of life. If no one ate meat, the world would be run by overpopulated animals. As far as buying secondhand items made with animal material? It's already made and would be more of a waste for no one to use it. It would also not increase the demand due to the fact it is secondhand.

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