Teacher Style: Ethical Fashion on a Budget

Let’s face it– shopping ethically can get pricey. And, if we’re being honest here, teachers don’t exactly pull in six figures. So I thought I would do a short post on how I shop as ethically as possible on a budget.

The great thing is, conscious consumerism doesn’t have to be expensive. The most environmentally friendly way to shop is to buy resale, which is what I’ll be talking about in this post.

For a long time, I avoided resale. I had this idea that it was low-quality cast offs, and that good, quality items were found purely by luck. However, now that I’ve purchased a fair few items from my favorite consignment and resale shops, I know that this is not at all accurate.

My first bit of advice is to scout out the consignment boutiques near you. If the establishment truly cares about their clothing, the items will often pass through multiple sets of hands before ending up on the shelves, which helps to ensure you won’t be buying low quality items. You’ll want to do your research, but I can tell you it’s well worth it if you can find a shop that is under good management and has a constant influx of new clothing. This will insure both quality and variety.

If you can’t find a local consignment/resale shop you’re happy with, online companies offer a great alternative.

**Side note–I know some of you may be asking–what about the pollution caused by freight to deliver from online sellers? My response–I still feel this is a more environmentally friendly alternative to the production of new items.

Poshmark is the platform I’m most familiar with. It has a large variety to choose from and I feel I can hone in on what I’m looking for pretty easily. They feature independent boutiques selling new items as well as resale. The downsides: you buy from individual buyers, so you can’t guarantee quality or consistency in price. Also, you have to pay shipping for each individual buyer you purchase from. Shipping times vary depending on the seller, but if the seller takes more than a week to send your items, Poshmark will cancel the order and refund your money. The company acts as a liaison between buyer and seller, rather than as an actual shop. I’ve purchased a handful of items from Poshmark, and overall I’ve had good luck. The biggest thing is to make sure the seller has good photos, is quickly responsive to any questions you have, and has good Posh Stats.

The other platform I’ve used to browse, but which I haven’t purchased from yet, is Thred Up. They are more like a traditional consignment shop– purchases are made directly from Thred Up, which then pays its suppliers. Each item comes with a quality description, and you don’t have to pay shipping for multiple sellers. The downside I’ve noticed just from browsing is that they don’t seem to have as much variety as Poshmark.

Whichever option you decide, do your research. Ask questions. Be thorough. You want to make sure that you are getting what you pay for. But overall, take comfort in knowing that you’ve made an ethical, conscious decision, rather than blindly buying from companies you know little to nothing about. Small changes can make a big difference!

Happy shopping.

Extending the life of clothing by a further 9 months would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20-30% each.




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