Canada: Thrift Shopping For Grownups - How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint And Look Great Doing It

Last Updated: June 25 2019
Article by Eden Kaill

What do fashion and environmental responsibility have to do with each other? A whole heck of a lot, as it turns out. Textiles are some of the hardest products to recycle, and among the most environmentally hazardous to produce. Textile manufacturing results in 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, which is more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping1 combined. Some studies estimate that around 5% of total global emissions come from the fashion industry.2

Gross, right? And when you take into account that, on average, 20 new garments are manufactured per person every year,3 buying fewer new clothes starts to feel like a pretty good idea.

Still, those of us who work in professional environments (especially law firms) tend to have some significant hesitation around the idea of second-hand clothes. We need to look put-together, and most of us don't have the time or energy to go through the racks at Value Village in the hopes that one of the ten suits they have at any given time will be both nice and in the right size. We worry that used clothes will look cheap, that second-hand stores smell funny, and that we won't find anything that fits.

That being said, here's where I can help. In the last 5 years, I've bought maybe 4 new pieces of clothing, and I shop a lot. More importantly, people seem to think I dress well.4 I happen to like Value Village, but there are lots of easier options if:

  1. you have more money to spend
  2. you wear standard (non-plus) sizes
  3. your tastes lean toward designer clothes and accessories.

To that end, I present:

The Fancy Person's Guide to Second-Hand Office Clothes in Toronto

  1. Consign Toronto

I LOVE THIS STORE. I go here for fun even when I'm not in a shopping mood, just to chat with the fabulous staff and the ultra-fabulous owner, Dag, who has a knack for making every customer feel like a best pal. They carry impeccably selected designer and higher-end clothes for all genders, and their prices are miles below retail.

Officewear Spotlight: This Lanvin blazer for $135

  1. Garb

Along with Consign Toronto and Fashionably Yours, Garb is a part of what I consider the Queen West designer-consignment district, and this wee shop has provided me with some of my favourite event wear and shoes. They don't sell online, so be sure to pop in and see what's on the racks first-hand.

Officewear Spotlight: This Burberry shirt for $120 and Armani suit for $395

  1. Fashionably Yours

Rounding out the Queen West trifecta, Fashionably Yours is like Garb and Consign Toronto's younger sibling.5 They carry pulled-together office wear and fancy dresses along with clothes that I, as a middle-aged person, do not exactly understand, but respect. Some of them have more buckles and/or zippers than are entirely necessary. Still, a number of my best work dresses and a couple of blazers, including the Dior blazer I'm wearing today, come from FY.

Officewear Spotlight: These Chanel boots for $445

  1. The Cat's Meow

Here's where we get real fancy – at the Queen West shops, you'll find BCBG and Calvin Klein mixed in among the Chanel and YSL. Not so at this Yorkville boutique! Everything in this shop is breathtaking, everything once cost a *lot*, and the second-hand prices reflect that. You'll still find some amazing deals, though, and it beats the sticker shock at Holt Renfrew. Our own Ellen Bessner wears a gorgeous purple Prada suit from Cat's Meow!

Officewear Spotlight: These stunning purple numbers from Carolina Herrera, Christian Dior and Celine (prices on request)

  1. L'Elegante

Like the Cat's Meow, L'elegante's clientele lean more toward Ladies Who Lunch than Fancy Hipsters (and also like CM, they don't carry menswear). They have racks and racks of blazers and suits, TONS of Chanel, and handbags you'll want to show off. They had a grey Hermes Kelly for a while that I used to visit and look longingly at. Their prices are reasonable, especially when things go on sale – my two favourite Oscar de la Renta dresses are both from L'Elegante, and were both on sale for under $300.

Officewear Spotlight: this Louis Vuitton bag (price on request)

  1. Common Sort

Look, you say. Designer pieces are all well and good, but I want some nice basics, and I don't care if they're from the Gap, but I don't want my wardrobe to contribute to climate change.

Common Sort is your answer! They have three locations and carry a wide range of second-hand clothes, from H&M to Chloe. I even have a Dior suit I snagged at the Annex location for $200 (SCORE). Everything is in great condition, clean and organized, and the staff are incredibly helpful and pleasant.

Officewear Spotlight: This casual Friday look featuring Wilfred, American Eagle, and Kate Spade, for a total (!!) of $132.

The Takeaway: If you live in the GTA and work in a professional environment, you don't need to rely on disposable fast fashion or budget-destroying designer suits. You can look like a grownup, save money, and reduce your impact on the environment, while supporting some fantastic local businesses. Happy shopping!

1 A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion's Future (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017).

2 Bauck, W. The fashion industry emits as much greenhouse gas as all of Russia. Fashionista (22 September 2017); http://go.nature.com/2Cj3ndP

3 Drew, D. & Yehounme, G. The apparel industry's environmental impact in 6 graphics. World Resources Institute (5 July 2017); http://go.nature.com/2jSaZfI

4 These people include me. I look great.

5 This is not to say that CT and Garb aren't hip. They're still on Queen West, after all

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions