Over the last few years, the practice of thrifting has become increasingly prevalent among young, middle-class consumers, and the practice of buying second-hand clothing has expanded exponentially. The rise in thrifting can be credited to more heightened awareness about the evils of fast fashion, the advent of thrifting apps such as Depop and Poshmark, as well as the desire to cultivate a more eclectic and affordable wardrobe.
Millennials and Gen Z’ers are increasingly gravitating towards thrifting as a way to build their wardrobes and to engage in the slow fashion movement while simultaneously being able to incorporate more interesting pieces to their closets. We took a look inside some of the MUSE exec’s closets’ to get a sneak peek at some of the best thrift finds on the team.
Though the practice of thrifting is a fun way to add sustainable, affordable, and unique pieces to our wardrobe without the worries of finding someone with the exact same item, it is important for routine thrifters to be mindful of their overall thrifting habits. Though thrifting has been adopted by 70% of women in 2019 alone, the ability to choose to buy second-hand clothing is a privilege. The normalization of thrifting and the expansion of the resale market has led to a massive increase in consumers purchasing from second-hand outlets. Though the rise of thrifting appears to be a larger movement towards slow fashion practices, it ultimately presents the risk of the overall gentrification of the resale market. As thrifting continues to expand in popularity among middle- and upper-class consumers, and as individuals continue to clear out thrift stores by purchasing items for their own uniquely cultivated shops on apps like Depop and Poshmark, the thrifting market as a whole runs the risk of becoming both unaffordable to individuals who rely on thrift stores for their primary source of clothing, as well as being overrun by excessive and unsustainable consumer habits of middle and upper classes. For those of us who use thrifting as a way to either get involved in the slow fashion industry or simply add fun items to our closets, it is important to adopt a more mindful way of participating in this trend. Though mass purchasing at Value Village can seem tempting due to the low prices, this cleans out the shelves for the people that rely on thrifting as their main access to buying clothing.
Despite the risk of gentrification second-hand stores face as thrifting continues to become more mainstream, the rise of thrifting should be celebrated as a triumph for both slow fashion and a way to better cultivate our wardrobes. In being mindful of our own privilege we have when thrifting, we are better able to enjoy the practice while allowing it to be a sustainable way to buy clothes.
Jack Selby, Music Contributor
“I bought the sweater before I went to my second year at camp and I used to wear it on my nights out. There’s a lot of nights that I remember chilling in it on the docks looking at stars. I love it because it’s so cozy and oozes comfy and because it fits in with the colour palette of my other clothes.”
Fiona Meeson, Online Contributor
“This outfit makes me feel like a disco princess and a member of Led Zeppelin simultaneously, which is really the dream. My sense of style evolves at a dizzying pace, but I’m currently obsessed with 60’s and 70’s-inspired silhouettes, prints, and accessories. I never have enough basics to go with the staggering amount of statement pieces I own. I especially like to thrift cool outerwear and printed shirts—I love the uniqueness of the embroidery on the jacket I’m wearing. I’m also a huge textures nerd! Love a good corduroy, a stiff denim, a cashmere moment. Most importantly, skinny jeans should be outlawed.
I wore this jacket one day back in mid-April when everyone was still taking the pandemic seriously. I decided to get dressed up for a walk because there’s only so many combinations of oversized shirts and pajama pants a girl can take. It was a ridiculously beautiful day, so I made my way down to the river near my house. The trail alongside it was basically deserted except for a couple cyclists and a shy baby fox. It had rained the day before; the air was warm and smelled like fresh earth and growing things. I sprawled out in a patch of wildflowers and listened to the new Waxahatchee album—that was the closest I’ve ever gotten to inner peace.“
Sarah Reese, Photographer
“These black leather boots have a chunky heel, side zippers, and a funky square toe! They were made by the brand Hush Puppies, and I thrifted them last fall in Kingston. My sense of style is pretty casual, I’m usually a cozy sweater and jeans kinda gal. The retro look of these boots makes them totally different from what I normally wear, and they’ve been a fun piece for more dressy occasions! I like that since they’re plain black, they’ll match with almost everything. I wore these boots as part of my Halloween costume last year, when I dressed up as Trinity from “The Matrix”, one of my favourite movies!”
Megan Fanjoy, Online Editor
“I often describe my style as Parisian chic, but it’s truly all over the place. My family is half French so I gain a lot of style inspiration from my mum and Paris street style. This piece is truly a wardrobe staple – it’s great to pair with some baggy jeans and sneaks, but can also be dressed up with some booties and a black captain’s hat. The worn-in look of the jacket adds a lot of character and warmth to the vibe. Just thinking about this piece is giving me to urge to slip into my black leather boots and throw this coat over a cute crop top, as I stroll down a cobblestone road – sipping coffee and buying fresh flowers.
I stumbled upon the jacket in March I went on one of my first real dates with this boy I had a crush on for months. Halfway through the date we aimlessly stopped in the Black Market, a vintage shop in downtown Toronto, to look around. I fell in love with this jacket the moment I saw it. Five months later I’m still just as in love with this jacket – and even more so with the boy from the first date.”
Anna McAlpine, Editor-in-Chief
“I wear floral slip dresses basically all summer just because they’re so easy and great for hot weather. My boots are great for transitioning these pieces into fall with a little cardigan or denim jacket and are a fun little way to make these looks my own. While I haven’t made any distinct memories with these boots yet, I’m looking forward to wearing them to a concert post-pandemic!”
Amy Newnham, Online Contributor
“My sense of style ranges from street-style layering, accessories, sneakers, and oversized brights to a more, some may say, ~granola~ style. Regardless of the outfit I choose, comfort is at the root of it all. My Banff zip-up fits into both styles seamlessly, making it my most worn fleece of all – which is saying a lot considering my closet is 90% sweaters. I was first introduced to this fleece on a day-off while working at summer camp. It was early June, my best friend and I decided to road trip down to Barrie in hopes of finding some “necessities” for our big two-week canoe trip that was coming up. After spending an embarrassing amount of money at MEC, we decided to make one final stop at the thrift store. It was at this moment I found her, the most perfectly oversized zip-up fleece, with “Banff” stitched across the front. Not only could I already see myself wrapped in this sweater for the entire canoe trip, but – having been born in Banff – I knew it was especially perfect for me. After two weeks of canoe tripping in Northern Quebec, the sweater became christened with my fondest memories – and a few burnt holes from the campfires we had each night.”
Alexa Margorian, Online Editor
“I’m super into layers in outfits, especially for everyday! I usually have like a sweatshirt or a sweater on that kind of completes the fit. I’m not really into hoodies, so crewnecks are my go-to. A typical everyday outfit in fall/winter/spring consists of sneakers, jeans, a t-shirt and a crewneck. I also like to wear items that are unique – I want to know that unless it’s super basic (like a black hoodie), nobody else will have the same item. I like to be on-trend, but still have something that allows me to differentiate myself! I really like this particular sweatshirt because almost every time I wear it, someone comments on how funny it is. I hate it when people look at it and say, ‘I don’t get it.'”
Maya Ginzburg, Creative Assistant
“I would say my personal style is very eclectic. I don’t try to focus on an overall aesthetic but instead, make sure I feel like myself and love every outfit I wear. It definitely incorporates a game between masculinity and femininity and is also influenced by retro and street styles.
I wore these converse for the first time to go hang out with a friend who I wasn’t very close with at the time but thought was a very cool person. He had invited me to come over to play guitar, which wasn’t something I was very confident in at the time. We ended up having an amazing time, becoming much closer, and having many more jam sessions, but I still remember how excited I was, at the entrance to his apartment, looking down at my new favourite shoes, waiting for the door to open.”
Cassidy McMackon, Online Contributor
“I consider my style to be comfortable yet functional; I like simple pieces that let me look and feel my best, and I really like to incorporate fun elements into basic pieces. I have an affinity for slouchy graphic t-shirts, whether they are emblazoned with graphics from my favourite bands, artists, and breweries. I bought this particular shirt after discovering Depop last summer. The Catcher in the Rye is one of my favourite books, so the shirt caught my eye immediately. I wore the shirt within the first few days of me moving into the house I currently live in, and the house that introduced me to two girls that soon became two of my closest friends. One of my housemates immediately recognized the shirt as something identical to something one of her best friends from back home had offered her during a big closet cleanout. It turns out that after my housemate declined to take the shirt, her friend posted it on her Depop account, only to be found later on by me.”
Header Image Source: Sophia Yang