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As states across the country and nations across the world have issued shelter in place and stay at home orders, a popular pastime of visiting malls and clothing shops has been snuffed out.  However, that doesn’t mean people have stopped purchasing clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories. In fact, with more time on their hands online shopping has increased in popularity in the past few weeks, showing a 91% jump in year over year sales in the week ending March 14th, according to a Nielsen report.  

While Amazon might only be restocking essential goods and has reduced its frequency of shipping and delivery, other major carriers such as FedEx, USPS and UPS are still delivering goods to your doorstep. 

One retailer I’ve personally enjoyed purchasing from in the past year has been ThredUP. More and more people are highlighting the positives of purchasing previously owned clothing and accessories as a way to minimize our impact on the environment. Influencers and brand ambassadors have taken to Instagram to highlight their finds from the online thrift store. In fact, one advocate you might recognize is previous Bachelor contestant and Bachelor in Paradise star Jade Roper Tolbert who has promoted the brand by posting finds on her Instagram. 

I made my first purchase from ThredUP last September, selecting two dresses and a knit cardigan. It is often hard for me to find clothes that fit well as I’m very petite and either have to accept an oversized look or alter them myself. For this reason, I’ve never enjoyed online shopping, but I found some items that I had been looking for for a while, but had not yet found at a price I was comfortable spending (shout-out to that knit cardigan). 

I put the items in my cart for a while and was going back and forth in my mind about whether I should purchase them or not. In the end, I decided to take a leap of faith and decided that if anything didn’t fit, I could simply alter it, since the prices were low enough for me to put some work into. 

The package arrived a few days before the scheduled delivery date, which made it a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t expecting it. The teal polka dots gave it a distinct ThredUP vibe, that I also enjoyed, as it is my favorite color. The items came individually wrapped up in more teal polka dot studded tissue paper with a little thank you note for the purchase and a reminder that you hadn’t just got something good for yourself, but had given something to the planet by choosing a more sustainable fashion choice than simply buying new. The wrapping and note made the package feel almost like a gift from someone thinking of you. 

Another purchase I made also included a little booklet filled with stories about the company and its people, which had positive messages thanking you for your environmentally conscious purchase. It was like receiving a little package of good vibes inside, which just happens to be the company’s motto and printed on every package they send. Even though the dresses were a little bit loose on me, it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed in a quick hour of alterations when I got home to my mom’s sewing machine. Some items list the size and brand they are from, but if you are unfamiliar with the brand’s fit, you might have to do some guesswork. 

The website allows you to set your size preferences and search by quality, so you can look at items that are new with tags, like new, in excellent quality, or ones that show some signs of wear. Every item’s description will say if there are signs of wear however. Based on what you are looking for, you might find some items that are basically a steal for the price you end up paying. 

One drawback to purchasing online is that if an item arrives but it’s not what you wanted or doesn’t serve your needs, there are restocking fees for sending it back. Sometimes, depending on what you get and how many items you buy, the shipping fee might be more than the value of the item. I think an easy solution to this is just to purchase multiple items at one time, rather than getting one item each time. There are also usually some deals with discounts for signing up, or for different collections, so even though an item might be listed for a certain price, you are most likely going to pay less than that price. 

They also do offer options to send in clothes for them to buy. I haven’t sent in anything yet, but sending in items doesn’t guarantee that the company will purchase them from you. They may choose to recycle what they don’t wish to buy or if you choose the option for them to return what they don’t want, they will ship items back to you for a fee. Since I haven’t personally sent in items, I can’t say how their Clean Out service works.  

However, I have enjoyed every purchase I’ve made from ThredUP. Receiving a box makes me feel good inside, because I know that I’ve not only found an addition to my wardrobe, but also made a more sustainable and planet-conscious decision, filling the experience with Good Vibes!

 

Anandita is a junior at TCNJ, majoring in economics and minoring in English
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