I enjoy shopping at yard sales, thrift stores, and Goodwill. Sure, you have to hunt for quality, and you have to wash stuff well when you get it home, but you can't beat the prices. With my babies, I pretty well dressed them that way. Why should I spend $25 for the outfit new when I can get it for $1 after another baby drooled on it a few times? It's harder to do with older children, who have more defined tastes, but I still find something here and there. And I even find things for myself sometimes. Some of the clothes I get the most compliments on are things I picked up second-hand. Often the tags are still on the clothes.
One benefit of buying used clothes is that you get the better brands that way. The clothes that survive long enough to make it to hand-me-down status are often the better quality ones to start with. Cheaper clothes wear out on the first kid.
Some of my friends think this is nasty. One used the word "disgusting" about the maternity clothes stash that I maintain at my house and loan out to pregnant women I know. But maternity clothes are expensive, and as I told my friend, "We wash them first." I really don't see the problem.
In Tecwil, most of the people you see on the street are dressed in second-hand clothes that are imported into the country in huge bundles and bought by street merchants. This often leads to interesting sights as people wear T-shirts with English on them that they can't read or understand. But it's a cheap and easy way to get dressed.
I've been collecting links on this subject for a while, and here are some of them:
Some people think that sending used clothes to Africa
is actually harming African economies. They argue that the local textile industries have been severely damaged by this practice. Here's another point of view
, written by a woman who sells second-hand clothes. And here's what Oxfam's report has to say about it.
Here's a thought-provoking post on Osama bin Laden in Burkina Faso
. Where do these clothes come from, and what can we conclude about the people wearing them?
And here's something on Kennedy clothes in Haiti