Photos: Top- My thrifted finds, Bottom- The Patagonia Equivalent  

Indulging in some seriously targeted thrifting has lead to results!

After carefully assessing the ‘field work’ and ‘labouring work’ sections of my closet I realised I really needed a new pair of functional plant nursery shorts. These need to be long enough for meetings with professors, breathable, not too low waisted (no-one wants to see butt crack while weeding), hardwearing, have pockets, and be seriously comfortable. Having purchased all previous plant nursery clothing at the thrift store there was a high likelihood that the next pair would be easy to find. At present I own two pairs of nursery shorts, one pair is sublime to wear and the other annoy me to no end. There is something about the waistband that doesn’t quite sit right and they aren’t very comfortable. So the challenge was to find a pair cut identical to the current favourites. After six thrift stores the perfect (near on identical) pair appeared for just five dollars. In fact, without having given them a full days test run, I could boldly state that I think they may be better than my old favourites due to better fabric quality.

Another item that has been lacking in my closet for a very long time now is a lightweight hooded rain jacket. I have a non-hooded ‘North Face’ one that I thrifted around eight years ago, and while handy to have, really isn’t suitable for most of my field work due to a fleecy lining and no hood. Most of the plant sample collection times occur in summer our rainy season. Polar fleece and hot humid rain isn’t fun and neither is a wet head! So this lightweight and seriously stylish seven dollar bargain will be my best friend when the rains kick in, both in the field, nursery work, and for dog walking.

Although thrifting can be a hit and miss activity there are some wonderful bargains to be found out there. Pre challenge I had a problem with finding ALL the good stuff. My closet was overflowing with incredible thrifted finds. By taking the wardrobe planning strategies I have learnt through the INTO MIND Workbook I feel like I can safely venture back to thrifting with a set list of ‘needs’ and no go wild with unnecessary purchases.

Better still thrifting is recycling!

If we didn’t have charity stores for people to donate unwanted goods then many of these items could end up in landfill. If you work through the process of ethical shopping (check out the infographic in my leggings purchase post) you will see that attempting to buy your items second hand is one of the most sustainable ways  to purchase as nothing needs to be made from virgin resources to fill your needs. If I wasn’t able to find the right products secondhand, which given my track record for these kinds of items would really surprise me, a similar looking kit (the performance would most likely be better due to a higher attention to detail with construction) from Patagonia would set me back around three hundred and twenty dollar (capris here, jacket here) as opposed to my twelve dollar outlay. If I were to invest in a new item my research would have lead me to a more technically constructed jacket than this one, but considering it will likely only be worn half a dozen times per year it will be perfectly suitable for the purpose.

Overal I can safely say that thrifting can be a really useful and winning strategy when it comes to sustainable consumption. Savings for natural resources and for your bank balance!

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