Shopping My Own Closet

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In the weeks leading up to my solo adventure, I stopped by several stores, looking for something cute to pack for my trip. I’m not sure why I think I need new clothes when I travel. This time it seemed like an automatic response to knowing I had an adventure coming up.

As I browsed clothing racks, looking for flowing pieces I could layer over tank tops or short sleeves, I had a realization. In fact, it was more of a “what are you doing??” thought.

The last couple of years I am more interested in slow fashion, rather than fast fashion. So what was I doing, out looking for more clothes to buy, just because I have an upcoming trip? Standing in a department store, I determined that day to do differently. I decided shopping my own closet made much more sense, on many levels, over purchasing more clothes.

These are the outfits I pulled together for my trip, shopping my own closet. Have a peek!

Shopping My Own Closet title meme

What is Fast Fashion and Slow Fashion

Fast fashion is the term that describes clothing that’s created quickly and inexpensively and moved into stores to take advantage of trends. Supply chains among retailers make fast fashion possible.

As a result, consumers can update their wardrobes quickly and affordably. Sounds good right? However, this over-consumption of cheaply made clothes is contributing to the huge growth in textile waste, pollution, depletion of natural resources and human rights violations in factories. The fashion industry has moved deeply into a throw away mentality.

On the other hand, slow fashion does the opposite. It advocates for manufacturing respectfully in regards to people, animals and the environment. It also supports creating clothing ethically and in a process that ensures quality made apparel that lasts for many years. Slow fashion focuses on high quality, sustainable materials. These clothes are often sold through small, local shops using locally sourced materials. Or they’re sold through online shops with sustainable practices including shipping methods. Toad&Co is such an online shop.

Thrifting is part of the slow fashion movement as clothing is kept in circulation rather than thrown away. Read more about the benefits of thrift store shopping here.

Shopping My Own Closet

Truthfully, I didn’t need to buy more clothes, not even through a thrift shop. All I needed for my trip, including the long flowing garments, hung in my own closet.

And, I enjoyed shopping my own closet immensely! I carefully considered what I needed for the trip. Although it’s warm, the evenings cool down, here at home and in the state I’m traveling too. I quickly discovered I could pull together the perfect outfits, a sort of capsule wardrobe, that didn’t require much room in my carry on.

I found the experience of doing flat lays for the outfits fun too, as I climbed up on a step ladder to snap photos. In fact the whole process was much more entertaining than shopping in a store.

Here are my outfits, shopping my own closet.

Travel Day

I’m flying to my destination. Airplanes are typically too cool for me, so long sleeves or a lightweight jacket or wrap are a must.

For the trip out, I chose black skinny jeans, a black and pink long sleeve button down shirt and my boots (man made uppers). My boots are the MOST comfortable walking shoe that I own. So they are going with me. However, they take up too much room in the carry on to pack. So I wear the boots.

I can roll up the sleeves of my shirt if I get warm or leave them down against any chill.

  • black jeans – 2 years old, purchased new
  • plaid shirt – 3 years old, purchased new
  • boots – 2 years old, purchased new
  • heavy socks – 1 year old, purchased at a discount shop for .50 for a pack of three

Shopping My Own Closet travel day

Day One Outfit

Black jeans again, paired with a light sage green racer back tunic and a darker sage green short kimono. The embroidery on this darling kimono is gorgeous and carries over to the back up near the neckline, although my long hair usually covers it.

The kimono is lightweight enough to allow air to flow during the day and yet offers some protection against cool evening air.

The gray and black shoes are my ONLY new purchase for this trip. I bought them a month ago, after wearing less supportive shoes at Silver Dollar City hurt my feet. I’ve been walking daily, for the last 30 days, also in preparation for this trip, and I properly broke in the shoes.

  • black jeans – 2 years old, purchased new
  • racer back tunic – 4 years old, purchased new
  • short kimono – 4 years old, purchased new
  • walking shoes – 1 month old, purchased new
Shopping My Own Closet green
Day one outfit

Day Two Outfit

This outfit is built around the long, flowing kimono is shades of gray. See? Why did I need to shop for flowing garments when I already own them?

Underneath is a gray, short sleeve, stretchy tee. If the weather is warm, I can always remove the kimono, although it is very lightweight, and just wear the tee. The skinny pants are dark gray.

I hope there is a breeze when I wear this outfit, so the kimono billows around me!

  • gray pants – 3 years old, purchased new
  • gray tee – 6 years old at least, purchased new
  • long kimono – 4 years old, purchased new
  • walking shoes – 1 month old, purchased new
Kimono outfit
Day two outfit

Day Three Outfit

This long tunic is one of my favorite garments. I typically wear it buttoned up over leggings. For this trip, it will serve as a lightweight open jacket. The sleeves can roll up or button at the wrist.

Beneath is a long white tank top and the gray skinny pants. Boots and a pair of dark socks complete this outfit.

  • gray pants – 3 years old, purchased new
  • white tank top – 3 years old, purchased new
  • long tunic – 4 years old, purchased new
  • boots – 2 years old, purchased new
  • heavy socks – 1 year old, purchased at a discount shop for .50 for a pack of three
Shopping My Own Closet long top
Day three outfit

Bonus Outfit

This is an extra outfit, in case I need a change of clothes, get caught out in rain or just decide to wear something different one evening.

Black jeans pair with a white sleeveless top with a few buttons near the neckline, and a white tasseled shawl. The shawl actually has arm holes which is nice as I don’t have to hang on to it. It stays put.

  • black jeans – 2 years old, purchased new
  • white sleeveless top – 5 years old, purchased new
  • white tasseled shawl – 5 years old, purchased new
  • walking shoes – 1 month old, purchased new


Shopping My Own Closet bonus
Bonus outfit

Travel Home Outfit

For my final morning at my destination and the flight home that afternoon, I’ll wear the Toad&Co camp shirt paired with black jeans and walking shoes. If my boots won’t fit into my carry on, I’ll swap out the walking shoes for them.

I love the organic cotton camp shirt and its high quality construction. This shirt will last me many years. Toad&Co is an eco-friendly company I appreciate and want to support. Click LINK if you want to learn more about this brand.

For the return flight, I’ll drape the white tasseled shawl over my arm to serve as a lightweight blanket, if I need it on the plane.

  • blackĀ jeans – 2 years old, purchased new
  • camp shirt – 5 months old, purchased new
  • walking shoes – 1 month old, purchased new

This was outrageously fun, creating these looks and photographing the flat lays. And more than having fun, which I’m a big fan of, I feel really good about supporting slow fashion and making wiser, more eco-friendly choices for myself.

My desire isn’t to make anyone feel that they have to do what I do. It’s about me learning how to live more sustainably and then doing better.

Which of my shopping my own closet outfits is your favorite?

Shopping My Own Closet camp shirt
Shopping my own closet – travel home outfit

Books about fast and slow fashion, from Amazon:



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Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

August 17 is National Thrift Shop Day. This day brings awareness to supporting local thrift stores, especially those that charitably help people in their communities.

For us, the consumer, there are good reasons to regularly stop by thrift stores, resale shops and charitable organizations’ “closets”. Check out these five benefits of thrift shopping.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping title meme

The History of Thrift Shops

Thrift shops didn’t always exist. Up until about 100 years ago, people routinely repurposed old clothing. When children outgrew clothes, those garments were handed down to younger siblings. Additionally, old clothes were recut to create new garments. Dad’s shirt might become junior’s shorts. Mom’s dress made a cute miniature version for sis. Eventually, when repurposing an item simply wasn’t possible any longer, those old clothes became rags for cleaning or recycled into furniture stuffing. Nothing went to waste.

Enter the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. Clothing production increased dramatically. Buying new clothes happened more frequently. Old clothing ended up in scrap yards. The Salvation Army and Goodwill changed that story.

In 1897 The Salvation Army launched the “salvage brigade”, sending people outĀ  scouring neighborhoods for used clothing, in return for meals and lodging. And in 1902 a Boston Methodist minister founded Goodwill, hiring poor and disabled people to collect used clothing and repair them for resale. Initially these thrift shops provided immigrants with a place to find clothes. Over the years thrifting became popular as people hunted for bargains and treasures.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping Salvation Army
Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping – The Salvation Army Store in Joplin

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping

Joplin has four thrift shops that provide for others in the community, through the resale of items. Plus, we have consignment shops, such as Plato’s Closet, and charitable “clothing closets” where people who need clothes can shop for free.

Thrifting is fun. Since these shops rely on donations, you never know what treasures or bargains await when entering the store. You might find a collectible, an expensive garment with the original price tag attached, for a fraction of the cost, or the perfect items for a one-of-a-kind Halloween costume. The daring shopper can even create her own unique fashion style.

However, beyond the thrill of the hunt, thrift shopping…also called thrifting…is beneficial. Here are five benefits of thrift shopping that you might be unaware of.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping Goodwill
Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping – Goodwill Store in Joplin

Thrift Shopping Benefits the Environment

Did you know that the average American throws away 81 pounds of clothes, every year? That means that annually, 26 billion pounds of clothing end up in landfills. And they sit there for many, many years.

We live in the age of cheap clothing and fast fashion, resulting in a throwaway mentality. After a season…or even after wearing a garment a couple of times… we toss it.

Thrifting is recycling. By purchased pre-owned clothing over new trends that quickly fade, we shrink our carbon footprint. We use less of the resources that creating new clothing uses up. And we keep items out of landfills. Best of all, when we no longer want a thrift item, we simply donate it to another thrift store so it stays in use.

I love Toad&Co as an eco-friendly clothing company that not only creates durable clothes that last for many years, they encourage the donation of items no longer wanted. They also wash, repair and renew old Toad clothes and keep them in circulation. Shop Renewed Toad.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping Red Racks
Joplin has two locations for Red Racks Thrift Stores, a division of DAV

Thrift Shopping Benefits the Community

Many thrift shops offer benefits to the community. Some hire and train people to work in the shops. Others fund a charity or mission or offer free or low priced clothing to those in need.

When we donate garments or other household items we benefit the community. And when we shop in thrift stores, we benefit the community as well by keeping our dollars local where they can do the most good.

I regularly donate to a ministry that operates a clothing closet. Anyone in need may visit and shop for free. This shop is especially popular when school starts back up.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping DAV bins
Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping – DAV collection bins, benefitting disabled American veterans.

Thrift Shopping Benefits the Planet

Buying second hand clothing reduces the amount of new clothing produced. Mass production of fast fashion often comes with human risks. The highest risk people are women, children and the impoverished who work long hours in poor working conditions for very low wages.

It’s always important to shop for ethically produced clothing, when purchasing new items. Buying recycled clothing takes ethical practices to the highest level.

Plus, thrifting reduces the chemical pollution in the world. Creating and shipping new clothes contaminates surface and groundwater and pollutes the air.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping Disney
Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping – recycling saves the planet’s resources and protects people. I saw this Disney shirt at Goodwill today, for $2.99

Thrift Shopping Benefits Your Wallet

Compared to retail clothing stores, thrift stores offer very low prices. Plus thrift shops often have discount days or fill a bag days, dropping prices even lower.

I wandered through my local Goodwill today, just to see what was available for sale. I spied the Disney shirt, for $2.99, a J. Crew dress for $4.99 and an assortment of garments from name brands such as Levi, Lee, Old Navy, Cato and Worthington…all for under $6.00.

I didn’t buy anything today. However I’ve snagged bargains at my local thrift shops. And they are my go to stores when I need a Halloween costume or an item I don’t often use, such as a rain jacket.

For my 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday, I enjoyed a fun thrifting trip. I took a $20 bill into Goodwill and left with a new to me outfit: slacks, shirt and a unique jacket.

Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping $20
My under $20 outfit from Goodwill, that was part of my 62nd Birthday game.

Thrift Shopping Benefits Creativity

Shopping regularly at thrift shops allows us to create one of a kind wardrobes. Who wants to look like everyone else? I don’t.

Buying used clothing not only reduces the production of new items and prevents waste, it allows the purchaser to stand out creatively, fashion wise. It’s a fun challenge to pull together an outfit from a wide assortment of vintage and used clothing.

Some of my favorite wardrobe items came from thrift shops. And I still have them and wear them.

Personally, thrifting also taught me the value of slow fashion and keeping garments out of landfills. In the past, I’ve purchased new clothes for trips. The last few years, not so much. In fact, for my upcoming trip I decided to only shop…out of my OWN closet. I’m putting together new looks, and new outfits, from articles of clothing that I don’t normally pair together. It’s fun and it shows me that truly, I don’t need to purchase a thing. Watch for an upcoming post highlighting my travel outfits.

Making a Difference

One day, a couple of years ago, I sat in my car outside a local clothing closet, after dropping off items. I happened to see a young girl, about eight years old, skip out to the car where her father waited.

She held up a small shopping bag, and proudly proclaimed to her dad that she had everything she needed to start school. I smiled over her genuine excitement…and my heart broke a little.

As they drove away, tears filled my eyes. The father seemed uncomfortable that his daughter picked up her school clothes at a charitable organization and yet he expressed gratitude too, for the help.

I asked, aloud, why I witnessed that interaction. The answer I immediately received was that only that morning, I asked to see compassion displayed in the world. Here was compassion given…to the girl and her father. And here was compassion stirring, in my heart, for the father’s plight and the daughter’s enthusiasm. I’ve continued to donate to that clothing closet, so that other children in need can go to school with something new to wear.

Do you thrift shop? Share with me your favorite shops and finds.

And do you donate the clothing you no longer want, to shops and charitable organizations? It makes a difference, in the world and in someone’s life…like that beautiful girl returning to school.


Five Benefits of Thrift Shopping J Crew
A J. Crew dress at Goodwill.

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