One of the biggest questions for fashion-conscious teens has always been: how do I stand out among my peers? Parents do not always want to invest hundreds — or thousands — of dollars into wardrobes that could be “out of style” within months. Teens who work may think that the mall has the best options for unusual styles, but the fact is that retail stores stock multiples of each outfit. Trying to stand out by shopping at the local mall can backfire, leaving fashionable teens looking just like everyone else.
Even if they do not know how to sew using a sewing machine, there is a wide range of do-it-yourself fashion products for fashion enthusiasts of any age. Using used clothes donations from local recycled clothing stores, sometimes known as thrift stores, teens can craft unique fashions that will be memorable and fun to wear.
One clothing trend that never goes out of style is denim. Taking the time to see what a clothing donation center has to offer may be surprising. Often, used clothes donations are brand-name fashions and do not show any signs of wear. Checking buttons and zippers is recommended, and then lace can be added for a vintage effect. Some teens prefer a more “punk rock” look, and can actually fade or bleach denim jackets at home. Bleached jeans are coming back into style, and some teenagers are starting to use paintbrushes and bleach to make artistic patterns on their denim jackets or jeans.
Parents should know that another advantage of shopping at used clothes donations stores is the fact that instead of investing more than $75 in a name brand denim jacket, they can get name brand clothing for a fraction of the price. Their teens may have expressed interest in certain brands that they’ve seen on television or on the internet, and instead of having to throw away — or, hopefully, donate — an entire wardrobe, they can allow their teenagers time to experiment with their own personal style.
The best thing about going to a store that sells clothing donations is that customers know that they are helping the environment. Textiles are one of the largest polluters of landfills across America, and being able to have a positive impact on the environment can turn even reluctant teens into thrifty shoppers. Used clothing donations to registered non-profit organizations are often tax-deductible, and people may find that they have bags of clothing at home that they want to donate to charitable organizations.
People who donate clothing are doing more than just keeping textiles out of landfills. The process of making new clothes often involves spraying cotton plants with pesticides that are toxic: unfortunately, these chemicals can make their way into the water supply, and also create carbon dioxide gas that affects air quality and food supplies. Buying clothes donations can help parents set a good example for their children and is a “teachable moment” about the effects of waste on the environment.
So children and teens who want to experiment with fashion choices can tear and bleach their clothing, add lace or sequins, and can even customize jackets with paint or permanent markers. Teens who are interested in learning how to sew by hand or on a sewing machine can also look for clothing pieces with interesting patterns and then remove the thread completely. They can then use the pieces as a pattern; teens may find that their friends appreciate their fashion sense and creativity.
Letting teens experiment with discounted used clothing donations can give them a sense of confidence, and can give parents a sense of relief from high clothing bills. Talking with children about helping the environment can be a great conversation starter, and teens may be pleasantly surprised by the quality of clothing they find.