My swim coach recently texted me during third period, asking me to drop by her office. I figured she wanted to check in. Instead, she explained to me her daughter, 25 and living in Amsterdam, had sorted through her closet and came up with two bags of clothes she wanted to donate.
She immediately thought of me, she said.
I was ecstatic and a little honored. The next day, I drove home from school with an entire wardrobe in my backseat.
That exchange, and my resulting joy, inspired this post.
So, here are three reasons why hand-me-down clothes are as good as it gets.
1. They’re free!
Here are three mostly true statements:
Clothes cost money.
Money is a limited resource.
I want clothes.
With hand-me-downs, the first statement is eliminated. And, while the second statement is true, it’s rendered irrelevant; hand-me-down exchanges don’t usually include money. All we have left is the fact I want clothes, and I get clothes at no cost.
Vintage Levi’s - Courtesy of my dad
Black top - Courtesy of my coach’s daughter
2. It's a grab bag surprise.
You really never know what you’re going to get from someone else’s closet. It’s like opening presents! Sorting through those two bags was a delight — something I set aside as a reward for finishing my homework. Anticipation preceded each article of clothing I pulled out, and that is an irreplaceable feeling.
Green, fur-lined coat - Courtesy of my coach’s daughter
Brown, vintage bomber jacket - Courtesy of my wonderful mom
3. It has a positive environmental and humanitarian impact.
The average American throws away about 80 pounds of clothing every year, according to Newsweek. Last year, 84% of all clothing bought ended up in a landfill and an incinerator, according to Newsweek. As an advocate for environmentally-friendly lifestyles, this is heartbreaking. Clothing can easily be passed along or donated to multiple charities that can re-sell it for more affordable prices or pass it along to developing countries for redistribution and reuse.
Hand-me-downs put old clothing to good use. After you’ve sorted through the clothes, and picked the things you like, donate the rest, or pass the clothes on to someone else. Not only are eliminating waste, you could be positively impacting someone’s life.
Red shirt - Courtesy of my coach’s daughter
Red flannel - Courtesy of Girls Off the Record founder, Savannah!
I do have a tendency to love old and used things. My thrift store trips are lengthy expeditions. Any garage sale I pass is a victim of my obsession with vintage items. My dad’s old jeans are a prized possession.
I understand this is not present in everyone. I also know hand-me-downs fringe on taboo. Some people do not want to wear used clothes, or they’re worried about how it will affect people’s view of their socioeconomic status.
I know they’re not for everyone, but I highly recommend accepting any offers that come your way. One girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure.
A brief thank you to my brother, Nathaniel who took all these lovely pictures of me, for the low, low price of $5.
Sweatpants - Courtesy of the one, the only, Nathaniel Rudman
Lucy is a college freshman and an avid pursuer of good music and cute clothes. She describers her style as "mom from the '90s" combined with "young, confident millennial." She values kindness and self-expression.