There is definitely a negative stereotype behind wearing secondhand clothing. It comes up on television, schoolchildren tease one another, and some of the clientele who frequent discount clothing stores can be off-putting to those who aren’t accustomed to thrift stores. These stereotypes have long been impressed on consumers by not just television, but by department stores themselves. They know that if a large number of shoppers suddenly began buying discount and thrift clothes, their business model would be out the window. Revenues would dive, and stores would eventually close.
You can’t always buy used clothes, of course. Or, at least, most people wouldn’t want to. Take undergarments, for example. Do you really want to be wearing that? Most thrift stores won’t even take them as donations, but some do. Socks and shoes are another example. While shoes might seem innocuous, they’re not. The first person who wears them regularly imprints their foot’s distinctive shape into the insole, and after a while, that impression becomes permanent. Once someone has worn that print into a shoe, it will be untenably uncomfortable for anyone else to wear them on a regular basis. Unlike some things in life, with shoes you really do get what you pay for.
You’d be surprised just how often you run into a situation in which you find items in a thrift store that still carry their tags on them. This happens for a variety of reasons, but they’re still new clothes on sale for used clothes prices. Other pieces may only have been worn once or twice before making their way to the donation pile. Maybe they weren’t comfortable, the wrong color - whatever. You can pick these up - even from major designers, for between 90% and 95% off original retail price.
Even thrift stores have sales occasionally to help clear out old stock and make way for new. These sales provide the perfect opportunity to get a whole wardrobe for next to nothing. Thrift stores usually use colored tags with prices on them. They then correlate the day or week’s sale with those colors. According to the store, the colored tags may denote a type of clothing or they may be totally random. It pays to know what’s on sale when.
It’s unfortunate that recycled clothing has gotten such a bad reputation, particularly on television, where many trends are dramatized and then turned into gospel when those trends make it into the real world. Buying gently used clothing has a number of positives - it’s better for the environment, as fewer synthetics are required for manufacture, and it takes longer for items to reach landfills. Gently used clothing also helps stop the epidemic of sweatshop labor in other countries. After all, how often do you really wear a piece of clothing until it is no longer of any use to anyone?