Feature photo courtesy of @vinokilo
When you have too many options and too little money
When Carrie Bradshaw was ‘totally broke,’ she would buy Vogue instead of dinner because she felt it fed her more. I feel the exact same way - except instead of relying on glossy pages for sustenance, I turn to the saved Instagram posts I’ve accumulated after God knows how many hours of endless scrolling.
Even though I harbor a great desire to grow my wardrobe in order to accommodate the ever-changing fashion trends, doing so isn’t sustainable - both for the environment and for my wallet. If you have a knack for fashion but don’t want to cause needless damage to the Earth, thrifting is a great alternative. By buying second-hand clothing, you’re giving these pieces a second chance to be loved and exempted from a lifeless fate of becoming textile waste. Not only is it beneficial to the environment, but you’re also taking a stance against fast-fashion and its mass production and inhumane labor practices.
In a city like Amsterdam, with so many fashion-forward trends that it can seem overwhelming to keep up, people are constantly experimenting with their styles and incorporating new, in-vogue pieces into their wardrobe. Thrifting in Amsterdam is like waking up on Christmas morning - it’s filled with surprises. I love finding one-of-a-kind pieces and feeling the rush of millions of outfit possibilities race through my mind.
If you ever find yourself in Amsterdam, inspired by the street trends, and feeling an immediate, dire need to scavenge for extraordinary and matchless pieces, use this as a handy guide to navigating the vintage scene here.
After not finding much luck on Depop, I started using United Wardrobe through a friend’s recommendation, both as a seller and buyer. United Wardrobe focuses on sellers and buyers in the United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands, and Germany, and takes a €1.99 administration fee for each item sold and bought. As a seller, you can start selling from your bedroom and the platform gives you the flexibility of setting the price (and provides recommendations based on the brand and condition). As a new seller, I saw more traffic towards my products on United Wardrobe than on other platforms and sold items significantly more quickly. As a buyer, you are able to search up very specific items through their thorough categorization system (a little bit too thorough when you’re trying to sell half of your closet).
United Wardrobe enables you to communicate with the seller and buyers through an open comment section rather than a private messaging system; this way, you’re able to compare offers from buyers and access additional information that’s been provided by the seller.
If you’re a student with limited storage space, selling your clothes is a great way to earn back some of that space and make room for more pre-loved pieces.
2. Swap Fashion Exchange
I recently discovered Swap Fashion Exchange and it has easily become one of my favorite stops for vintage finds. It functions as a consignment store, allowing you to sell your clothes directly to the store and get money in return. Swap Fashion Exchange offers either 25% of the final selling price to you in cash or 50% of the selling price for in-store credit.
I love going to Swap Fashion Exchange more than any other consignment store in Amsterdam because they save you from losing face. I had previously gone to ReLove Exchange just down the street for selling some of my clothes, and their sales assistant somehow thought it appropriate to lay out each piece, one by one, and tell me -- no, scold me on -- what was wrong with each of my pieces. Although I believe there was no real malevolence, the overall process felt a little humiliating and like I was being shamed for the stores I shopped at and the designs I’d bought. My experience at Swap Fashion Exchange was notably better as I was told I could roam freely around the store as they went through my pieces, and afterward, they told me which pieces they did like and what kind of pieces they were also looking for.
View this post on Instagram
Rock on in leather & panther prints ! 🌹❤️🐆 Rebel Rose jacket: €25 Panther printed blouse: €19 All items still available in store DM to reserve, in store pick up only. Albert Cuypstraat 99, open 11-19. #brand, #swap #exchange #swapexchange #amsterdam #sneakers #trainers #leather #whitesneakers #minimalistfashion #sunglasses #designervintage #collectorsitems #vintage #fashion #sustainable #recycle #upcycle #amsterdam
The overall price point of the store is comparably lower and more affordable than most thrift and vintage stores in Amsterdam, and I’m always able to find unique pieces in great condition here!
3. Facebook Events
If you’re getting sick and tired of digging through the piles of clothes out off the ground at Waterlooplein each week, try logging onto Facebook and letting the algorithms take charge of where you should thrift this weekend!
I’ve been able to go to a number of events in Amsterdam (and Utrecht) through what I’ve come across on Facebook. From Square Eight Vintage to Vino Kilo, I’ve encountered great events hosted by an empowering community that embodies the very spirit of fashion whilst being environmentally conscious. Do note that many of these events do not have a changing room, so you’ll be stripping down to your underwear next to vintage loving strangers in no time.
For many of these events, preloved pieces are measured and sold by the kilogram, which is great if you’re just picking up a few vintage t-shirts, and a little less exciting if you had just fallen in love with the perfect sherpa-lined pleather coat.
4. Your Friends
If none of the above choices are your cup of tea, turn to your friends. While you might have outgrown your clothes (emotionally and physically), your friends might love them! One of my favorite sweaters right now is from my friend, Femke, and it has become an irreplaceable part of my wardrobe.
View this post on Instagram
Ideal storage weaves a rainbow in your home. Photo by @ponderbird. - - - - - #mariekondo #konmarimethod #sparkjoy #tidytips #tidyingsuccess #mykonmari #lifechangingmagic #ideallifestyle #tidyhome #spacesaver #storageideas #stayorganized #folding #organizedliving #organizationideas #drawergoals
Take a deep dive into your closet, pull a page from Marie Kondo’s book (this can be literal), and reach for the pieces you don’t reach for anymore. Once you’re all sorted, ask amongst your friends to see who’s down for some new additions to their wardrobe. If your friends have similar tastes as you, organize nights for closet raids and go through each other’s closets. It never hurts to have an extra pair of eyes to tell you why you should really get rid of the hoodie you never wear yet have been clinging on to for years because “it was such a good deal” when you got it.