Other than my fashionista sister's hand me downs, about 98% of the remaining clothes in my closet came from my favourite charity thrift shop. It's not that I HAVE to shop second hand, I actually prefer it.... and here is why:
#1 It feels good. The thrill of the hunt is exciting when there is only a 1ft long rack of shirts, and on that rack could be every colour, size and style from the last few decades! The mall just doesn't have that same feeling of victory when the "perfect" shirt shows up, AND the colour is great, AND the fabric is nice quality AND it even fits! The mall's endless stores with endless sizing is depressing to me somehow. I can't put my finger on it, but mall shopping leaves me feeling quite literally sick after a couple hours. Choice burn-out maybe?
#2 It feels good in another way too. By shopping at my favourite charity thrift store I am supporting their cause. It's nice to know my fashion choices are helping local causes.
#3 It feels good (again). That is to say, my "new" top did not use any extra resources to make, and it didn't need to get shipped either. I diverted this chunk of cotton (natural yes, but pesticide intensive to grow) from the landfill, and the more wear an item gets the less impact the original growth of that product equals per wear. I have to honest that I don't think about my cotton clothes' source terrible often, but when I do, I am happy that my thrift store gives me the chance to take my own environmental stance.
#4 My wallet feels good too. Finding that perfect shirt is always fun. Finding it at the thrift shop is always affordable - sometimes ridiculously cheap if there is a "sale" on. Name brands even! My wardrobe gets a lift and my wallet doesn't cry.
#5 I can walk away. Sometimes I DON'T find anything (wrong size, wrong material, bad fit, faded, whatever). And that's just fine. If that one rack doesn't have anything that day. Oh well. Maybe next time. The hunt is over and I didn't waste all day at it.
#6 I know what to expect. One of my pet peeves with buying new garments is that I am afraid what will happen when I wash them. Buying 2nd hand is a preview. Since they have already been washed, I know what the shape really will be. I also know if it will be prone to pilling, whether the buttons will stay on, if the seams are going to stand up and whether the zipper will continue working.
#7 If something happens, it's no big deal. Dog prints... cat claws... food stains... every article faces the risks if I'm wearing them. I do try to prevent these mishaps (because who wants to replace that hard-to-find item!) but when they happen I know I haven't wasted a ton of money on them.
#8 My inner minimalist is satisfied. I rarely get "attached" to the clothes (maybe because they are cheap and used to be someone else's?). Even my wedding dress I bought at a consignment shop (I thought it was romantic that another bride had been wed in it) and I consigned it at that same shop less that 6 months later (again I thought it would be romantic that someone else would have a special day in it). I can give up clothes easily! Those pants that no longer fit, that shirt that I no longer love, the dress that isn't my cup of tea anymore and I feel just fine about it. Bags head off to the same charity thrift shop.
I feel like I make a donation when I buy it and then make another donation when I drop the clothes off. Meanwhile I got the fun perk of having choices in my wardrobe. I can change size, cahnge styles, change favourite colurs and not have environmental (or financial) guilt about it. How cool is that?!
There are probably more subtle reasons to add too. Uniqueness of fashion, against the trend shopping, mall-anxiety avoidance, laziness (the charity thrift shop is by far the closest clothing retailer to where I live and right next to my bank and grocery store)... but those are the top 8 reasons.