Welcome back to my read along of The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline. Today we’re looking at part three, chapters 13-17, and learning about ways to shop consciously.
This section is called the Art of More and in it Cline explains how to take everything you learned about your style and closet back in part two, and go out and add to it. The purpose behind this section is really one of my favorite things about this book. Cline isn’t saying to only buy a set amount every week, nor is she saying to banish buying together, instead she is all about looking at affordable and conscious ways to still have fun with fashion but not be a part of the problem. “The Art of More is dedicated to strategies for sharing fashion and viewing it as a service we lease, access, and enjoy, rather than a product we buy.”
Chapter 14 is titled Resale not Retail and it is all about consignment stores. I am new to shopping thrift and consignment, but I will say I have found a few that I love. For in person shopping, one of my favorite businesses is Buffalo Exchange. There are also at least two smaller consignment stores in my town that I hope to hit up as soon as it’s safe to do so.
I prefer consignment stores mainly for the time aspect. Thrift stores can be hit or miss and you usually have to dig. The upside is you can absolutely find some treasures for cheap, but for me I like the stores that have done some of that work for me. I’ve still found good deals at consignment shops but mostly I’m looking for unique, special pieces more than I am a bargain.
However, I was particularly interested in the online stores Cline mentions, as that is really what we have access to right now. Here are three sites that I have used and thought I would share my experience with if you haven’t dipped your toe into the online resale world yet!
Thredup I have bought and sold on thredup and I will say it’s one of the easiest ways to sell your clothing. You sign up for a bag, they mail it to you, go through it, post what they think will sale, then give you a small percentage of that sale. I don’t know that you get the most bang for your buck with reselling, but it’s easy and then you can use the credit you earn to shop. I’ve had the most success finding kids clothes on the site as well as some work out pieces.
Poshmark is different in that you set up your ‘storefront’ to sell clothes and are in charge of getting it to whoever wants it (with a lot of hand holding along the way!) I haven’t sold anything on Poshmark but I would say you could definitely make more money off of this site, especially with quality or trending pieces. For shopping, there are a lot of great options and I’ve had success looking for really specific things. I’ve bought snow pants for the kids, a leopard skirt for me, faux leather leggings, and a sequined bralet (this all together makes me sound kind of exciting!). My only really con with this site is that shipping can get expensive, especially if you buy multiple things from multiple vendors, you pay full shipping for each item.
The Real Real I haven’t actually purchased from this site but I have to mention it if you want designer or are a collector. This is a really easy site to use and I have a few friends that have bought amazing things from them.
I know there are plenty of facebook groups that resell specific brands as well. I’m not on facebook so I can’t speak for these, but I have a friend that is a part of an Anthropologie resell group and gets some great pieces there.
Chapter 15 is full of tips on how to shop at a thrift store or for vintage pieces. I’ve recently found some great Youtubers that focus on thrifting and I’ve learned so much from them! In case you want some thrifting inspriation, check out
Taylor Made Style my favorite thrifter. Taylor does a great job of talking through what she’s looking for when she’s thrifting and has so much fun styling her finds that she inspires you to look at your closet in a new way. I always enjoy her take on things, even if it isn’t my style.
B Jones Style I know she’s been around for awhile but I only just started following her. Again, she has a different style than I do, but is able to show how different trends can be found in thrift stores or updated to look new. I also love her vintage collection and just her whole motto on playing dress up and having fun with fashion.
Little Acorn manages to thrift and make things look expensive and minimal. She’s someone that is very clear on her style and it’s fun to see her take things she finds in thrift stores and style them up in her unique way. She also mixes in new pieces with a focus on sustainability.
Sifted Clothing Their youtube channel isn’t updated as often as their instagram, but this duo thrifts and then sells what they find in their shop. I like seeing how they style up pieces and enjoy the thought process on why they think something will sell.
Chap 16 is called Rent your next wardrobe and this is something I absolutely love to do! I’ve ordered from two companies and have a lot of thoughts about them.
This is the first clothing rental company I ever used and it’s still my go to when I need a formal dress. There was a time when we had at least one black tie event a year and it just didn’t make sense to me to invest in dresses that I wouldn’t get much wear out of. But I also didn’t want to show up in something cheap or blah. Rent the Runway is a perfect answer (I know they have subscriptions too which I think would be great for those that work in an office or have evening events on a regular basis). They let you rent two different dresses or different sizes and one time they even sent me another size overnight because the original one didn’t fit.
I have used Nuuly quite a few times this year and the only reason I’m not using it now is because I’m not leaving the house and I’m participating in Me Made May. Nuuly is a subscription service where you pick six items of clothing to wear for the month, then return them to get six more. You can of course buy anything you fall in love with and don’t want to give back! I love that the clothes come in a reusable bag- there’s absolutely no waste- and the company is a part of Anthropologie so the styles and brands are all one s that I really love. I’ve had fun using this when we went to Austin City Limits and I wanted hippie, festival clothes and for our recent trip to Mexico.
Chapter 17 is about how to afford a conscious closet with tips on what is worth spending money on, how to budget, and factors that should go into your buying decisions.
My addition to part three is to share some restyling inspirations. These are women that take thrifted clothes and turn them into something else, which is a great option when you can sew yourself. It’s also an easy and affordable way to get into sewing. I like these Youtube channels
Lydia Naomi I just found Lydia and love her mix of sewing tutorials and restyles. She’s funny and cool and worth checking out.
Elizabeth Bryson is one of the first you tubers I found that restyled thrifted clothes and made them look cool. My only real gripe is that she often takes larger sizes and changes them. I’ve seen many plus size women comment that this isn’t the best practice for a number of reasons and it’s made me rethink how I look for clothes to refashion in a thrift store.
With Wendyhas a lot of fun tutorials and makes very fashion forward DIYS with great production value. She always stays true to her style and manages to make everything look cool.
And if you don’t follow Amy Nicole Studio, you should! She’s a pattern designer, a talented sewist, and she hosts the restyling exchange each year. She focuses on sustainability in her makes and again is someone with a very specific style point of view that is fun to see her create for her wardrobe.
I think the main point Cline tries to make in Part three is this, once you know what you love and what you will wear, it’s fun to treasure hunt for great pieces. Whether you do that through second hand shops or by saving up for more expensive clothes, you will become an expert at building a closet full of outfits you love to wear. I love her tips, but more than anything, I love this message and it’s made me look harder at things I want to purchase and things I want to make.