Thrifting and Other Ethical Options

Me and my fishy face still continue to muddle through my style/fashion dilemmas. Since writing this post and this post, I’ve been turning things over in my mind ad nauseum. And you guys have been brilliant offering your two cents and telling me how you handle buying, shopping and being all-around conscientious consumers. And so it continues! Here’s how I’ve progressed these past few weeks:

When in London I was not at all lured by the siren call of high street stores. Mega-huge Top Shop? Nah. H&M on every corner? I didn’t even see you! I spent most of my money on food and museum fees: feast for the tummy and the eyes. I did manage to buy a few things at Spitalfields Market and at this wonderful thrift store of designer finds called Dress for Less.

Thrifting/shopping vintage. Nothing new there (literally. hardi har har), but it is something I’ve been doing much more now. Most of it is just popping into charity shops to see what’s what and then leave empty handed (still very much trying to buy less even if it is recycled/re-used). I thought I would do the same at this lovely shop, but I found this gorgeous Reiss coat (left). I also tried on this buttery/dreamy Celine bomber (right):

I also found these pretty rings. One for me, one for Cath:

The owner of Dress for Less was so sweet. I’m always kind of weary of designer vintage shops. I’ve met with a fair share of snootiness going to the American equivalents. Dress for Less’ proprietor was just lovely and welcoming (makes sense that’s just been in business for 19 years). Her shop assistant was also the cutest thing this side of the pond — if a bit camera shy:

Now you might be going “Thrifting/schmifting. Thanks for pointing out an obvious way to be an ethical-consumer, Lar!” So here are some actual helpful ethical fashion links to make this muddle less. muddly (p.s. None of these lovelies are sponsors, just so lovely I had to link them):

Cri de Coeur: vegan-friendly shoes and purses. Check out Jesse.Anne.O to see how she styles her’s. not super-cheap, but a lot of beautiful, ethically made clothing, accessories and home goods.

• I love Fashion Change’s “Wear this, Not that” where they show you similar yet more ethical versions of things J.Crew, Gap, Urban Outfitters, etc. sell

• The Mother Nature Network has a terrific Eco-Fashionista blog: sample post title, “‘Mad Men’ Style Goes Eco-Friendly”

• You guys have to check on {r}evolution apparel. It makes me want to stop shopping full stop, or at least cut way back and be much more creative. Thanks for the link, Spatial Drift!

• LearnVest Daily made this super-helpful chart that rates major brands (American Eagle, Zara, Asos, TopShop) on their eco and ethical friendliness.


Dear Cath,

Off the to the Highlands today. I hope we can skype video soon. Isn’t that doggie photo the cutest thing ever? I want to blog it up poster-size and frame him 😉

Miss you so much! I promise I won’t climb the whole mountain. Found out Ben Nevis means Terrible Mountain. Trying to tell me something?



17 thoughts on “Thrifting and Other Ethical Options”

  1. So glad you’re not going to hike Ben Nevis. I don’t care that it’s almost April. It’s going to be cold dark and rainy. You know you can only see it’s peak about 50 days out of the year? Eesh! Plus, hiking/camping isn’t for us. Drinking a warm cuppa on a blanket with Ben Nevis in the background is more our thing 🙂

    All those links to eco-friendly shopping are so wonderful! I wear my gold ring all the time and will include it in an upcoming post.

    I want that doggie to be mine!

    xoxo, cath

  2. Such an awesome post! I too have been trying to cut down on my clothes spending, as well as trying to shop more ethically. Sadly, I have a major soft-spot for Anthropologie and Free People, BUT the plus side is that shipping to Canada is ridiculously expensive, so I can’t really shop at either! Thanks for all the ehlpful links.


  3. That is so great that you’re looking at other ethical alternatives. I actually met the girl who created! She’s super nice and I love their styles.

    I haven’t done too much shopping lately except for furniture, but I really should keep in mind my ethical alternatives for clothing.

  4. I like this approach, Lauren. You are re-using, you are supporting small local businesses, and you look great. Nice job!

  5. What a cool post! I’ve always heard near mythic things about the thrift stores on that side of the pond. Or uh, charity shops, rather. They even have a cooler name!!!!

  6. I’ve been TRYING to cut down my clothing spending, but it’s been hard. Even though I’m unemployed, I still manage to spend a bit here and there on clothes. I’m terrible.

    While most of the recent acquireds have been designed and manufactured here in the US, it’s set me back insanely as it could have been had I just stepped into Target or Forever21.

    I left a comment on your February post that actually examines the other side of the coin. I wouldn’t kill myself with guilt if I were in your shoes (in fact, I am, and I don’t) if I buy something made in China, knowing that I make a big effort to buy things made in the US and from conscionable companies whenever I can afford to. The reality is: we have a budget to live on, if it’s super modest, we can really only afford to shop at places like charity shops and places like Target, H&M, Forever21. We also don’t have a wealth of time to comb through racks and racks of second hand clothing. time is money, after all. I’m not trying to justify my habits, but the fact that there is a reality to live with, and not all of us can always afford to be stylish AND ALWAYS only spend our limited cash only ethical clothing. we do our best, and hopefully that best makes a difference.

    Anyway. I said my piece in the other comment. I hope it helps.

    me ke aloha, Mae

    PS. the article was a part of NPR’s All Things Considered. I’m looking for the link to the article, but I can’t find it.

    1. Thanks so much, Mae! And yes, I do remember your comment! It is such a tricky balance. And so far I’ve been on the “less stylish, but more ethical” side of things: BUT I do really miss having fun cute things to wear that are within my budget and doesn’t cause paralyzing guilt. So difficult. But onwards! I’m trying to stick with it and hopefully come out of it more stylish. eventually.
      Thanks for your words of encouragement too!

  7. Those links are great!! Thanks so much for sharing them. Did you know your posts on ethical shopping actually sparked a change of thinking on my end? Thanks A LOT (sarcasm). No but really, it kind of reminds me of how I became a vegetarian. by stopping and thinking about where my food was coming from. So my transformation in clothing consumption has begun. But I also find myself questioning everything. Ikea furniture, CVS, extremely cheap sandwich baggies from Big Lots, where did all of you come from?

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