People get on with life by purging pandemic clothing
NEW YORK — Alina Clark is about as tired of her pandemic wardrobe as her comfort clothes are stretched and torn.
“I have four sets of jeans, seven shirts and five sweaters that I wear every week,” said Clark, co-founder of a software development company in Los Angeles. “They’re everything I’ve worn in the last two years. Me and my wardrobe are suffering from COVID fatigue.”
A wardrobe purge is on for some as vaccinations have taken hold, restrictions have lifted, and offices reopen or finalize plans to do so. The primary beneficiaries: resale sites online and brick-and-mortar donation spots, continuing a trend that’s been building for the last several years.
At the resale site Poshmark, orders are up for handbags and work-worthy dresses when compared to last year. The same goes for blazers, suit jackets and heels.
Projections show the trend growing stronger. The secondhand clothing business is expected to more than double, from $36 billion to $77 billion in 2025, according to a recent report commissioned by the secondhand marketplace ThredUP and the research firm GlobalData.
The growth is driven by an influx of new sellers putting high-quality clothing into the market, said James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO of ThredUP. He estimates that 9 billion clothing items that are hardly worn are sitting in shoppers’ closets.
Even before COVID, buying and selling secondhand clothing was popular, but the pandemic made the appetite for thrift even more appealing.
The post-pandemic shopper is more environmentally conscious and is showing a greater appetite for clothes that have good resale value, rather than disposable fast fashion, Reinhart said. People who haven’t been able to wear most of the items in their closets for a year are more aware of waste and want to put their clothes back in circulation.
“There’s a new mindset around clothing consumption,” Reinhart said. “It’s not this buy, wear, throw out.”
Maia DiDomenico’s mother introduced her to ThredUp during the pandemic. A recent college graduate who began a new job working with kids on the autism spectrum, the 23-year-old in Cranford, New Jersey, purged some Athleta sportswear on the site and received $557.60 in Athleta gift cards in exchange.