Are you thinking of different ways to help the environment? Maybe looking for ways to be easier on the wallet while not sacrificing your style? Thrifting is SUCH a great way to do both! I thought I would ask the (in my opinion) thrifting and Sustainability Queen, Bea aka @thebeaologist for some expert tips on how to get the most out of your plus size thrifting experience.
Bea grew up in a very sustainably-minded household, where hand-me-downs were coveted, and trips to the local thrift shop shaped her style at a young age. Her style, which she describes as a blend of Angela Davis and Angela Lansbury, is also currently influenced by the work she does as a fit consultant and model. Her feedback helps brands with fit and wearability, as well as advocates for larger plus bodies. Now that you’ve fallen in love with Bea (let’s face it, it’s hard not to), let’s get to these thrifting tips.
- Go in with time on your hands. It can take lots of digging to find gems, so give yourself a good chunk of time to work your way through the store. I like bringing my water bottle with me and listening to music to really make it a pleasant experience.
- Know your measurements. If you’re at a store that either doesn’t have a fitting room available or you don’t have it in you to try on in-store, knowing your measurements and bringing along your measuring tape can take a lot of the guesswork out.
- Ignore sizes. This rule applies beyond thrift shopping because as we all know, every brand’s sizing can be vastly different. The best thing to do when something catches your eye is to hold it up against your body to see if can work, whip out that measuring tape, or try it on!
- Don’t be afraid to check out the Men’s section. Clothing is gender-neutral, so wear what you love and what feels good to you, no matter what the label says.
- Don’t settle. Bea strongly recommends only picking up pieces you absolutely love and can see yourself wearing multiple times. Don’t resort to picking items only because it’s what’s available if you can help it.
- Know the return policy. We’ve all been there… we pick up something that we think might work, and then get home only to be filled with buyer’s remorse. Don’t hide in the back of your closet. Check the store’s return policy and set it free! If returns aren’t possible, consider gifting it or selling it on an online platform.
There are so many online platforms that specialize in selling second-hand clothing. My favorite is Poshmark (you can sign up using my code, SIMPLYMAYRAAA, and get $10 purchase credit). There’s also Mercari, Swap, Etsy, ThredUp, and eBay just to name a few! While most of the same rules apply as shopping in a physical store, there are things you can do to make your online plus size thrifting experience a bit more hassle-free.
- Know your brands. Having a general idea of what brands you like and how they fit will take away a lot of the guesswork and make you feel more confident at checkout.
- When you find a piece you like, follow the seller. They might sell more items in a similar style and size from their closets in the future.
- If you are looking for specific pieces, check back often. New items are being put for sale every day, so don’t give up on finding your dream item!
Underwhelmed? Try These Alternatives
- Find or create local/regional swap groups. Get together with other plus size folks and do a closet clear out. Search your local Facebook groups or create one in your area. Don’t forget to check the Facebook Marketplace as well.
- Instagram. There are tons of specialized shop accounts, either run by brick and mortar shops, or independent sellers, that specialize in plus size second hand and vintage. Just search a couple of keywords and follow tags and accounts to discover new places to shop. I recommend Shop.Fatties, SellTradePlus, and LuvSickPlus!
Be More Mindful When You Buy
Another way to incorporate sustainable practices when shopping is buying from slow fashion creators, as well as supporting Indigenous, Black, and other makers of color. I highly recommend the website BuyFromBIPOC, which was founded by Emi (@Little_Kotos_Closet), and is co-moderated by Brooke (@YokeAndBore) and Bea.