One my absolute favorite things to buy at the thrift store is winter coats. Growing up, I always hated how I had exactly two choices in winter coats, and I would have to cover up my different outfits with the same thing every day. My parents would buy me a ski jacket for outdoor activities, and a dress coat that I would wear for church and school. While it was a logical and financially responsible decision for a parent to make, I simply hated the lack of variety that winter would bring.
As I started getting older I realized that the two-coat method didn’t have to be my way of life, but quickly recognized the cost involved with investing in numerous coats. I was a high school student, and not made of money. It was also around this time that I started to notice how the fashion trend cycle worked, and that coats were one of the slowest items to go in and out of fashion. A simple concept to me now, but at the time I was just beginning to catch on.
When I started thrifting, I was immediately drawn to the coats. The Goodwill® store that I frequented had a massive coat display, with everything from fur to leather to wool. What I found there was the best possible solution, in my opinion, to the two-coat method. The modern coats being sold in department stores really had lacked in quality, at least the ones I could afford, but here the coats were actually warm, made with real wool (not some synthetic fiber), and had all the style and originality — maybe even a little more elevated! — than what I was finding elsewhere.
Basically for the cost of one coat at a regular retail store, I was able to stock up on a whole menagerie of vintage coats, each serving a particular type of outfit need. No longer was I a prisoner of my solitary winter coat, but I could mix and match them for each day like a treasured part of my look. I started getting compliments from strangers on my coats as well, “Where did you get your coat? I love it!” No longer was I covering up my carefully chosen outfit, but rather highlighting it with a beautiful topper.
Another reason I’m a complete advocate for winter coat thrift shopping is because of the environmental aspect. By giving these coats a second life, you’re helping reduce the adverse environmental impact that conspicuous consumption can have on our planet. Goodwill is an entrepreneurial leader, environmental pioneer and social innovator of the “reduce, reuse, repurpose” practice. Through its entrepreneurial business model of collecting and selling donated in its more than 2,700 stores and its auction site, shopgoodwill.com, the first and only nonproft internet auction site, Goodwill helps communities extend the life of usable items in environmentally sound ways.