My first job in Canada was working for a small non-profit company at their second hand clothe facilities. I worked for a short period of time in a warehouse and later in a store. I had an opportunity to buy good quality barely used clothes for myself at that time. Still remember fondly an Irish linen button down shirt. So, I’m more than familiar with thrift stores. I wasn’t buying used clothes for years after that but lately made some attempts for other than economic reasons. I was unsuccessful in 99,9% of cases.

I do not shop second hand online - I don’t have a standard size and don’t want to buy even cheaply something I might need to dispose. And how all that transportation good for environment?
But I’m trying to figure out thrifting in person.
Yesterday I drop by the Value Village boutique that sells kind of presorted clothes. It’s a popular place with younger crowd.
There were things I haven’t seen before and wished it would stay the same: clothes by Shein.
There were things I haven’t seen in more than a decade: old Liz Claiborne 90s clothes (sorry but question I had right away - who died?)
There were things no one wants to buy: lots and lots of fast fashion brands.
I saw a few BR and Club Monaco items mostly worn out or shrunk.
I left with a feeling that I’m not getting it. This is better than a regular thrift shop. I didn’t see any interesting brands or true vintage. Clothes looked well worn. Also, it looked like lower quality and in worse condition than clothes that I donate myself once in a while. It seems that better things are gone, picked up to be resold for profit or no one donates decent stuff.
I’m really trying to understand. Let’s take one example. I’m looking for a pair of white linen pants. Linen is a robust, long lasting fiber and could be bought second hand, so I thought. I found a pair from unknown to me brand but looked like not bad quality. The fabric yellowed and I was uncertain I would be able to bring it back to white. Also, I would pay for alterations as with usual pants but how long these pants would remain presentable? There is a high probability of me putting money into it just to donate them a season later. Too many doubts require too much time to figure it out.
So, what could be my motivation to shop there? I buy more clothes then I need but I don’t buy up the storm from fast fashion brands just to donate it a season later.
I don’t want to muddy the waters with discussing shopping in consignment stores. It is resale, for profit places. (Been in one or two and was shocked to see clothes with stains and damages.)
I know we have some forum members who shop mostly in thrift stores. What is your motivation? What makes one shop in thrift stores?Considering that it is a time consuming activity with an uncertain result. Does it come down to treasure hunting? Or you don’t want to give money to the fashion industry?
I have this nagging feeling that thrift shopping became trendy and actually makes people feel better about themselves when they put in donation bunch of fast fashion junk they bought. Kind of personal greenwashing of one’s bad habits.
I just want to underline one, very important thing - no questions asked if one buys clothes second hand for economic reasons. Done it myself in the past. My kinds are doing it with baby clothes - getting used and donate back what is still in good shape. Absolutely makes sense.