First things first, what exactly is ThredUp? ThredUp is marketed as the world’s largest online secondhand and consignment store. Thousands of new pieces are added to the site everyday, which on one hand is amazing, but on the other hand is super overwhelming. It is possible to score some amazing deals on ThredUp, but it’s equally as possible to spend hours aimlessly searching. I’ve been there, which is why I want to offer some simple time-saving tips and advice on how to shop ThredUp efficiently.
Note: there is no vintage on ThredUp–they only sell modern brands in good condition. I’m currently writing a blog about the best places to shop vintage online, so make sure you sign up for my newsletter so you know when that piece is live! Ok, back to ThredUp tips.
ThredUp Tip # 1 // Sign up for an Account
The very first thing you should do is create an account. This is helpful for several reasons. Number one, when you have an account you can save your personal sizes and that filter will stay on every time you do a search. Without an account, you have to manually re-do your size filters with every search, which is such a pain and waste of time.
An account also allows you save your favorite pieces. If you see something you remotely like, hit that heart button. This allows you to come back to it later. Also, if the piece you liked sold you can then shop similar styles which is a really nice feature.
Also when you sign up you usually get a discount code for your first order. Alternatively you can take $10 off your first order with this code:
ThredUp Tip #2 // Create My Sizes
Above I mentioned creating your personal sizes. This is very simple to do but sooo crucial. Don’t waste your time searching for anything before your sizes are set. To do this choose any category in the top navigation, for example “Women” and then “Clothing.” Scroll down and on the left sidebar you should see “Sizes.” Choose your sizes . I would suggest being very picky if you can. If you sometimes wear a small but mostly wear a medium, just click medium. Next, at the top of the my sizes page, there is a little box that says “Always set filter to My Sizes”. Make sure to click this so every search automatically filters with your sizes.
ThredUp Tip # 3 // Filter, Filter, Filter
Now my size filter is on yet I’m still seeing 50,000+ results in women’s clothing. Next, I’m going to filter. Let’s say I really need a new dress. Go to the side navigation and hit dresses and then keep scrolling down and fill out as many filters as you can. For example, the first filter is “Occassion”. I’m going to choose “Cocktail & Party”. I’m now down to 7,000 options. Still too many, but better than 50,000.
The next filter I really like is the “More Ways to Shop”. I always check the “My Home Warehouse” option. This shows you the clothes that are in the warehouse closest to you. Your item comes faster and you sometimes can save on shipping. This filter is sticky, just like your sizes, meaning it will stay on until you de-select it. After selecting that filter my options went down from 7,0000 to just under 1,000.
The next filter I always set is the price. Decide what you’re willing to pay for a dress and then set this filter. I’m going to set it at $30 max. Make sure to press the blue “Set” button after you decide your price. My options are now 572. That’s still personally overwhelming to me, so I’m just going to continue to filter. I can filter by style, skirt length, brand, color, neckline, condition, material, pattern and accents.
If you know exactly what you want, filter away! I usually don’t, but I do know I want my dress to be knee length so I check that filter and now I have 106 items, a totally reasonable number! And if I actually did need to buy a cocktail dress I would buy this 100% silk J. Crew dress for $30.
Note:If you want to search all clothes by a specific brand or fabric, do it in the sidebar! If you type in the search field at top, lots of random things will pop-up. So with every search, I stick to the sidebar filters.
# 4 // Search Premium & Designer
Another way to shop is to search the “Premium” or “Designer” sections. I like this option because it naturally filters out all the brands that probably aren’t that well-made to begin with and it introduces me to new brands I might not know about. Starting with “My Size” and “My Home Warehouse” filters on, I still have about 8,000 results. So I start the filter process all over. Because you’re starting with less options, you probably won’t have to be as specific with your filters.
Another way I like to search premium and designer is to turn off the “My Home Warehouse” filter off and then click the “Under $25” price filter. Doing this has given me some greats steals in the past, for example one of the first things that pops-up are these linen Neiman Marcus pants for $25.
ThredUp Tip #5 // Heart Away
I mentioned this at the very beginning, but it’s a really simple tip that will save you loads of time. Heart everything that catches your eye. I don’t even click the piece to read the product description. I just heart and then keep scrolling. Then at the very end I go to my saved hearts and review everything. It’s like when you’re thrifting, you just throw everything in your cart and then sort at the end. It takes less time that way and it’s easier to make a decision when you see all your potential pieces collected together.
Also, say you like the idea of the item, but don’t love that particular piece you favorited, scroll to the bottom of the description page and you’ll see a “You May Also Like” section that shows you similar pieces all in your size.
Ok, that’s it! I hope these tips will help you shop ThredUp like pro. Like any secondhand shopping, it still takes some patience and luck, but I’ve been able to find some amazing staples for my wardrobe using these guidelines!
Do you like shopping ThredUp? Or what’s your favorite online secondhand store?
You’ve read about the detriments fast fashion is having on our planet. You care about the people, including children, working in unsafe factories for little and often no pay. You want to shop better, but feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. That was me too, and years into this ethical fashion journey, I still often feel overwhelmed. But, I also know this issue is too important to simply stop caring. So I want share a simple resource that has helped me on this ever-evolving desire to support sustainable fashion.
When I first started researching fair fashion, I saw an ethical fashion pyramid that really helped me understand the hierarchy of sustainable fashion. I couldn’t find the original one, so I decided to recreate my own.
I think a huge barrier to shopping ethically is finances, and while I do not deny that this barrier exists, it absolutely does, I’ve personally found that supporting ethical fashion is more a matter of changing my mindset than changing my closet. That’s why the bottom of the pyramid is wear what you own.
1 // WEAR WHAT YOU OWN
Maybe, like me, when you learned about the horrors of fast fashion, your first feeling was guilt. I looked at the tags of my clothes and discovered that most were made in Bangladesh and other countries with extremely high risks of worker exploitation. I wanted to replace all these clothes with better clothes. However, I definitely couldn’t afford that. And if you can’t afford it, it’s not sustainable.
Turns out the most sustainable and ethical option was to wear what I already owned. The truth is that I didn’t really need new new clothes. And when I started viewing clothes more as a need, and less as a want, this simple change of mindset revolutionized my thoughts on fashion.
Having said that, I enjoy fashion and have since I was a little girl. There is nothing wrong with liking fashion or wanting to dress fashionably. The problem is when our wants interfere with other’s basic human rights, like what is happening in fast fashion. Fast fashion bets on people viewing clothing as seasonal and disposable, instead of investment pieces.
2 // MEND AND ALTER
In addition to wearing what you already own, it’s equally important to care what you already own. Before practicing ethical fashion, when my clothes became worn, I simply donated or tossed them. Mending clothes didn’t really cross my mind, probably because the cost of clothing was so little. However, mending is such a simple way to lengthen the life of your clothes and keep them out of landfills. Patch holes in jeans, sew buttons back on and treat stains.
Altering your clothes is another great and often forgotten option. If you’ve gained or lost a few pounds, it’s easy to assume you need a new wardrobe, however most clothes can easily be altered up or down a couple sizes. Find someone who does alterations and help support local jobs while also giving clothes new life.
3 // BORROW AND SWAP
This point is often left out in ethical fashion posts, but borrowing and swapping clothes is an easy and affordable way to practice fair fashion. Unless you plan on wearing something 30 plus times, try borrowing from a friend. Clothing swaps are another great sustainable option. Organize a clothing swap with a few friends and come home with some new clothes.
4 // BUY QUALITY SECONDHAND
Before buying new, ask yourself, can I buy a quality version secondhand? The word quality is really important to me because the world of secondhand and thrift shopping can so easily become another version of fast fashion. No, you’re not buying new, but buying from a thrift store, only to re-donate a few weeks later is continuing the cycle of waste since the majority of clothes we donate are not resold.
However, I do really love thrift store shopping and the majority of my clothes are secondhand. When shopping secondhand, I always try to ask myself the same questions as when I’m buying new:
Will this last? Will I wear it 30 plus times? If the fit is not perfect, can I have it altered? Are the fabric and seams quality?
Also, check out this post if you want some more simple tips for thrifting.
5 // SUPPORT ETHICAL BRANDS
Finally, when you’re ready to buy something new, support ethical brands. Your dollar does have power. Shopping ethically is going to cost more, a lot more, however if you’ve followed the pyramid, you probably won’t be buying that many new pieces. And while this hierarchy is a pyramid, it’s also cyclical. Once you’ve bought that new piece, wear it often, take good careof it, mend it and then properly donate itwhen you’re finished.
Hopefully this pyramid will help you on your ethical fashion journey. Do you have any more tips for practicing sustainable fashion?
Buying a new bathing suit is a chore. Let’s begin with the obvious reasons–the difficulty of finding a swimsuit that gives you confidence, plus is comfortable AND functional. Then add sustainably / ethically made at a price you can actually afford. It’s almost impossible, which is why I’m getting creative with my swimwear this summer.
Birthdays. Baby showers. Holidays. No matter what time of year, there’s always an event that require a kid’s gift. But the next time you need a kid’s gift, try thinking outside the box with your gift giving and gift wrapping. These simple and sustainable kid’s gifts are just are fun, thoughtful and guaranteed to please parents too.
// Forget the Toy //
Instead of buying a toy, gift an experience. Experiences are by far my favorite gift to give and receive. Do some research and find out what’s close to you. Kid’s museums are a great bet or annual passes to a local garden are perfect for the whole family. If you have a local theater, giving tickets to see a show would be super sweet and you can’t lose with movie vouchers for a fun family outing. My absolute favorite birthday gift for Lewie was tickets to Disneyland.
// Make or Bake //
If you can sew, make your own sustainable kid’s gift. There are so many cute ideas that can be made out upcycled fabric. If you can’t sew, or simply don’t have the patience for that (like me), there are still options, like this adorable lego set made with a thrifted lunch tin or naturally-dyed play dough. Think about the child’s favorite activities and get creative.
Or you can always bake something. Chances are someone was going to make cake for that birthday party so it might as well be you. Coordinate with the host and bring something delicious. This is great option especially if the invite says no gifts, but you still want to do something nice.
If the above options are not your thing, no worries, go ahead and buy the kid a toy. Kids love toys and there is no guilt in buying a gift. But there a couple simple ways to make buying a toy a more sustainable and eco-friendly affair.
// Shop Secondhand //
Here’s the thing, kids, especially younger kids, do not care if their toy is new. Lewie reacts the same if he sees a train in a thrift store or in target. Buying secondhand is great if you’re on a strict budget, because you’re going to get more for your money. Try thrift stores, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. One of my absolute favorite baby gifts was a friend’s selection of her own kids favorite baby books handed down to me.
// Support Small Business //
If you do want to buy new, search your local kids store first and try to buy something that will last a long time. If you don’t have a local kid’s store, here some of my favorite online kid’s stores for unique gifts:
Shop Merci Milo// If you live in LA, this adorable store has a brick-and-mortar in Eagle Rock.
Bella Luna Toys // I adore their arts and crafts section, perfect for inspiring creativity in elementary aged kids.
The Little Market// For babies, The Little Market has the sweetest selection of fair-trade animals and rattles.
Etsy // Etsy has a huge selection of beautiful handcrafted toys. You can also shop based on a custom location. I love putting in my state to see what’s made close to me.
TIP: Most online shops will have a notes for seller section. I always ask (nicely) to please use as little plastic and packaging as possible. And speaking of packaging…
// Pick Frustration Free Packaging //
And if you’re running late and need to use trusty Amazon Prime (we’ve all been there) search toys with Frustration Free Packaging. Frustration Free Packaging just means way less packaging is used and what is used is recyclable. Just a quick search gave me lots of great toy options. A few favorites:
Green Toys Dump Truck// Green Toys are a favorite in our house. They’re durable, great for indoor, outdoor and water play, plus made with 100% recycled plastic. Below Lewie is playing with his Green Toys Firetruck.
Plan Toys Tea Set// A tea set is a childhood staple. I love how sturdy and unisex this one is!
Wooden Croquet Set// I grew up playing croquet ever summer so this toy is super nostalgic for me.
Bead Coaster // I’ve never met a toddler who doesn’t love these things. It’s one of the very few toys Lewie will play with basically everyday for whole minutes at a time.
// Forgo the Wrapping //
And lastly, find a creative way to wrap your gift. For baby showers, I love wrapping my gifts in swaddles or baby blankets. Or just sort through the recycling to find something to wrap your gift in. Chances are you’ll find a box or paper that will work. And if you have kids of your own, let them help decorate. Or stick the gift in a reusable bag. And if all else fails, just forget the wrapping all together and gift it with a smile. In the end, the kid won’t care.
What about you? What are some of your favorite tips to making gift-giving more sustainable?
I can’t afford ethical fashion. Oh I daydream and drool over beautiful clothes, but in reality I barely buy these enviable items. I have a baby, live in one of the most expensive cities in the US and owe a mountain of student loans. Spending $300 on a dress is not my reality.
However, I firmly believe in the detriment of fast fashion, from the treatment of workers to the depletion of natural resources. I know the facts and ignoring them is not an option. And yet sometimes I have to buy new clothes. So over the years I’ve developed a few simple tips on how to shop ethically on a (very) small budget.
Tip 1 // Schedule Shopping
These days shopping is a past time, an almost mindless activity like eating popcorn in front of the TV. But if you’re really on a budget, than shopping ethically requires planning, like months and months planning. Think about your closet and what items you will need next season and the season after that and the season after that. For example, if you know that next summer you’ll need a new swimsuit, don’t wait till next summer to buy it. Instead, buy it at the end of the current summer when it’s likely to be on sale. Maybe you can’t afford ethical fashion at full price, but you might be able to afford it on sale, especially if you plan ahead. Find some shops you love and then sign up for their newsletters and follow them on IG so you’re the first to know when sales hit.
Tip 2 // Think Thrifty
Before heading to the mall, check out your local thrift or consignment stores first. Or if you’re more into online shopping, search ThredUp for second-hand deals, or Etsy for vintage finds. Chances are they’ve have what you need, potentially at a better quality and lower price. If you’re new to thrift shopping and want some tips, check out this blog.
Psst:: You can also get $10 of your first ThredUp order with this code: http://www.thredup.com/r/RH97X5
Tip 3 // Wear Well
You can’t afford the ethically-made piece, you tried to buy second-hand with no luck and you need something, now. We’ve all been there. My advice? Buy the highest quality thing you can afford and then wear it again and again and again. Have you heard of the 30 wears challenge? The idea is that before you buy something new, ask yourself, “Will I wear this 30 times?” If you wore that piece once a week it would take 7 months to reach 30. So another way to ask is, “Will I still want to wear this in a year from now?” If everyone committed to wearing clothes 30 plus times before buying new, it would dramatically alter the fast-fashion industry. Instead of buying throwaway pieces, buy pieces that you love and that will become closet staples.
Tip 4 // Mend your Mindset
We’re surrounded by a culture of consumerism and maybe like me you live in a city that is obsessed with fashion. It’s easy to feel insecure when everyone from the downtown party to the local park seems to be dressed effortlessly cool. I’ve had countless moments of insecurity about what I’m wearing. It takes time to alter your mindset when fast fashion is so ubiquitous. I constantly have to remind myself why I believe in slow and ethical fashion. We’re so disconnected from the process of creating clothes that it’s easy to forgot that real people are involved in every step. But a real person’s hands had to plant the cotton seeds and sew the seams, so in my moments of insecurity I remind myself of those people’s hands.
How about you? Do you have any tips on shopping ethically on a budget?
Currently is a seasonal series where I recap some of the simple things I’ve been doing / making / reading / listening and such throughout the season. Thanks for reading along.
Making // Roasted Plums with Brown Sugar & Balsamicwith the plums from our backyard tree. This recipe is so simple and refreshing. Perfect for those warm summer nights with a dollop of ice cream on the side.
Listening // Harry Potter on Audible. It’s my summer tradition to re-read Harry Potter, but this year I’m listening to series read by Jim Dale. I feel like i’m experiencing the magic all over again. Over the series, he performs over 300 different voices for all the characters. You can watch his interview about the experiencehere.
I hate the word actor… Act means putting on something fake, you’re acting it. I just think the word should “be.” You just go up there and be.
Wearing //ThredUp finds. I actually love thrift shopping but it’s difficult to shop with with a toddler in tow, so I did my first online thrift shopping at ThredUp and bought shorts, two silk tanks and a skirt all for under $40. I was trying to find clothes I could wear for the summer and could also transition into cooler months. ThreadUp can be a little overwhelming at first, but I found the best luck by searching for specific brands and fabrics that I know are higher quality and will last.
P.S. If you’re new to ThredUp you can get $10 off your first order with this code: http://www.thredup.com/r/RH97X5
Reading //The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. My friend gave this book to me a couple years ago. I finally picked it up and devoured it in two days. The message of grace is truly humbling and outstanding.
“Mama’s love had always been the kind that acted itself out with soup pot and sewing basket. But now that these things were taken away, the love seemed as whole as before. She sat in her chair at the window and loved us. She loved the people she saw in the street– and beyond: her love took in the city, the land of Holland, the world. And so I learned that love is larger than the walls which shut it in.”
Using // Cloth Napkins — eco-friendly and beautiful. Using a cloth napkin is such a simple but lovely way to make any meal feel more festive. I bought both these pink ones and the printed ones (top photo) at a thrift store, and wouldn’tthese yellow ones be ideal for a summer picnic?