Thrifting Your Way to a Sustainable Closet with @i.thrift.shit

Tamar layers thrifted goods.

Tamar layers thrifted goods.

Tamar doesn’t know a lot about sustainable brands. But her closet is still pretty sustainable. Learn how she does it and get her tips this Slow Fashion Season. Hint: it’s in her Instagram name :).

Who are you? 

I’m Tamar Esperanza from @i.thrift.shit. I’m an almost 22-year-old English literature and linguistics student from Amsterdam. And oh yes, I’m an avid thrifter. When I’m not thrifting I am a big YouTube content consumer (soon to be creator!). I try to read more books, discover vegan restaurants with my friends, and explore the Netherlands by train with my free public transportation student card.

How did you get into thrift shopping?

It all started about 7 years ago when my mom brought me and my little sister to a thrift store in the small town where my grandparents live. Honestly...you know the cartoons right, where the jaw of the little character drops all the way to the ground? Yes? Well, that was me. When I was 15-years-old I applied to work at the local supermarket and almost all my hard-earned money to clothes. However, fast fashion at the time, even Zara and Mango, were above my budget. So, when I saw all these clothes, gems in my eyes, that the older women of the small town had probably donated, and the prices, (oh the prices!), I started digging through the racks and quite frankly never stopped. That year I also became a vegetarian, later to be vegan. I started to develop a deep care for the planet we all get to inhabit. When I made the connection between shopping secondhand and the environment I was 100% sold and have since almost exclusively shopped secondhand when it comes to my clothes and accessories, all while having a blast showing off my finds within the thrifting community on Instagram.

A thrift queen.

A thrift queen.

What are your top thrifting tips for someone who has never gone thrifting before? How does someone get started?

For some, my friends included, thrifting can be a little overwhelming and that’s OK. You will get better the more you do it. My top tip, if you have the time, is to look at every single item. It is fine if you don’t get to see the whole store that day but commit to a rack and take a few seconds to look at the pieces. Feel the materials and get a sense of the style. So many times I go thrifting with people and they always seem to be surprised when I pull something super cute out of a rack they just checked out. Paying attention is key. I personally never really go in with a list but for many people this does work. Make a list in your head or on your phone of certain pieces you would like to add to your wardrobe, colors you like, styles you would like to incorporate more and let the search begin.

What is your go-to look?

My go-to look is a strappy A-line black dress (sometimes layered on top of a t-shirt or turtleneck) with either a jacket or open button-up blouse on top. If it is not my little black dress it is a cute little skirt as I don’t often wear pants. I like to wear my dresses and skirts with a pair of bulky boots or sneakers to make them a little bit more interesting. Every piece I add is most likely thrifted. I do own fast-fashion pieces I bought awhile ago and hope to continue to wear those pieces for a very long time to come. I always tag the stores where I found my thrift gems on the pictures I post on Instagram and that definitely made me realize that most of my wardrobe comes from the thrift store Het Goed.

Cool student alert. (I wore sweatpants to class…)

Cool student alert. (I wore sweatpants to class…)

What's a piece in your closet you wear to make more of a statement?

I have a butterfly 2-piece (matching pants and top) I found at a neighborhood flea market in New York. It is amazing and a real compliment catcher. I mean who doesn’t love a butterfly (disregard that one SpongeBob SquarePants episode)? Every time I wear it all the memories from my New York visit come back. Last summer, my 2 best friends and I went to the Big freaking Apple! We had the best time ever, amazing people, great thrift stores, delicious food, and just the best city. Anyways, this piece is quite the eye-catcher and can be worn for many different occasions and was only $10.

Note to self: stripes and butterflies do look great together.

Note to self: stripes and butterflies do look great together.

What brands and stores do you love?

If I am being honest I could do a way better job at researching and supporting ethical and sustainable brands. Thrifting for me is just so fun and easy that my wardrobe is already quite well-rounded and I don’t often feel like there is something missing with buying something new. However, not too long ago Organic Basics approached me and I received great underwear and socks from them. They were very kind as to reply to all the questions I had with regards to sustainability and I was happy to support a brand that sells sustainable options for items that are harder to thrift.

When it comes to my favorite thrift stores I am a big fan of Het Goed and Rataplan. You can find these stores throughout the Netherlands. De Lokatie in Amsterdam Noord is also amazing. In the same part of Amsterdam we also have the IJ-hallen, a once-a-month flea market (the biggest in the whole of Europe!) and a must-visit.

Yup…definitely did not dress like this in college.

Yup…definitely did not dress like this in college.

What's your advice on finding a style and building a closet you love (that is sustainable!)?

Stay close to you. Be your own muse. So corny but it is helpful advice. Trends pass so fast. By the time you have finally thrifted those platform sneakers you were seeking out to find nobody is wearing them anymore. And thrifted or not, I personally do not like to have items in my closet I never get to wear. This doesn’t mean I don’t have any crazy or eye-catching, even trendy items in my closet—I genuinely love the pieces I picked out that are a bit loud in my closet and wouldn’t mind wearing them for years to come. If you thrift pieces that make you happy, confident, and comfy when you get to wear them—SCORE. These items will live with you for a long time and then boom—you have created a sustainable wardrobe.

Thanks, Tamar!

This article is from my series highlighting kickass women who don’t buy new. From upcycling to eBay, get inspired and learn easy ways to keep your pledge to not buy new this Slow Fashion Season.

See more articles:

Making Secondhand Clothing Fun with @girlwithbellsandwhistles

The Magic of Upcycling Your Clothes with Drea Johnson