THRIFTING ON INSTAGRAM: How to be Environmentally Conscious and Look Cute Doing It

By: Miranda Heinrich

You are probably no stranger to fashion’s notorious reputation of factory abuse, pollution, and excess waste. Growing environmental awareness is reflected in our shopping decisions. However, buying ethically-produced fashion remains difficult and expensive. Alternatively, buying clothing secondhand/thrifted effectively reduces the expense (and your guilt), as it advocates the business of reusing and recycling fabric, and saves tons of clothing from the dump. It seems like a wonderful option until you have exhausted many hours at Goodwill, sorting through racks of T-shirts with witticisms printed on with the likes of “But first, coffee.”

Luckily, a growing community of resellers on Instagram has begun to carefully curate, market, and sell their one-of-a-kind finds. Instead of wasting time at thrift stores looking for the perfect jacket, you can buy stylish second-hand clothing from online resellers. In short: they do the thrifting for you, and you get to buy thrifted clothing from all around the country. There are hundreds of accounts from dozens of places with countless beautiful pieces to choose from. This new phenomenon is similar to selling on Depop and Mercari, but with better prices, added benefits, and personal touch.

So how does it work?

Instagram thrift accounts have several formats. The most common one features posts with photographs, sizing, and a bidding thread. People are able to comment on the “bid” price underneath an item of clothing. Think “auction,” but make it fashion. Many accounts also list a “BIN” price, which is the top bidding price. This secures the item for anyone who just needs the item right away. The seller will contact you and set up the method of payment and ship it directly to you. 

I curated a quick list of some of the best accounts for you, but once you start following a few, you will easily find many more related accounts on the platform.

1. TRENDY AND FUN: @CARLYKNIGHHT

Carly Knight, a huge Reformation, and Free People fanatic are one of the most uplifting people you’ll find in the market. Famous for her positive spirit and Tuesday night live sales, Knight has an eye for fluffy, pink, cottagecore items with a lot of boho inspiration.

Her feed is mostly for aesthetic purposes, but if you pop into her Instagram live you will find unique Patagonia jackets, rare Free People blouses and sweaters, Spell and the Gypsy maxi dresses, and vintage Levi jeans.

To buy from her, you simply comment “me” when she holds up the item, and she will send you an invoice or provide her Cash App/Venmo. She also does a monthly “Mystery Box Giveaway” where you can enter for a chance at a free personally-curated box of your favorite fashion items.

This account has garnered a loyal 25.2K followers, but she treats all of her customers with so much love and will hype you up whenever she gets the chance (I can speak from personal experience).

If you’re looking for a friendly presence while you shop thrifted rarities, Carly Knight is the one.

2. ROMANCE AND LINGERIE: @AMETHYSTLULLABIES

Annie Marie leads the way when it comes to vintage lingerie and accessories. If you’re in search of a lacy bustier top, silk slip dresses, or cute cardigans then this is the account to go to. With several themed drops a month, her Instagram feed is beautiful in its layout and color-coordination.

Each item in her feed is specially photographed and described in great detail—even if you aren’t looking to shop, it’s fascinating to read her descriptions of gold label Victoria’s Secret items and union worker’s clothing. Marie offers reasonable prices and utilizes the bidding and “BIN” system.

She also occasionally posts items on her story, which you can DM her about buying.

At 7.5K followers, Annie Marie’s aesthetic nightwear shop is among the best on Instagram, and definitely worth following for a dreamy Valentine’s Day piece.

3. STREETWEAR: @SUNMI.CO

To my street-style and casual fashion fanatics, this account is for you. Grace Yoo, the owner of this shop, thrifts high-quality sweaters and sweatpants, dismantles them and stitches them back together to create beautiful patchwork clothing.

Featuring color-block joggers, cropped and cinched Nike hoodies, and two-toned lettuce-hem tops, Yoo teases her unique pieces on Instagram before dropping them on her website, which you can find in her bio.

At a slightly higher price, these wonderful reworks (as well as original vintage finds) are definitely worth your time and money.

With an incredible 46.3K followers, this creative mix of vintage and streetwear has been featured on Pinterest and is sure to draw your attention.

4. HIPPIE-WESTERN: @THRIFTYPAPAYA

Thrifty Papaya is one of the more interesting thrift accounts you will find on Instagram. Focusing on a vibrant, golden-hour hippie look– this shop is laid-back, unique, and eclectic.

Scrolling through their feed, you will find paisley prints, florals, tie-dyes, and velvets. This reseller is even known for sewing the occasional marijuana leaf pattern into their thrifted finds for a true 60s-inspired look.

If you’re looking for a huge pendant necklace, a maxi skirt with a cowboy-western feel, or an upholstery jacket that looks like it was ripped straight off of a vintage armchair, this is the one for you.

With an average price of around $35, Thrifty Papaya also uses a bidding system, with the occasional set price option.

Running out of Santa Barbara with a 5.3K following, Thrifty Papaya is one the best places to find your next vintage statement item.

5. A BIT OF EVERYTHING: @GROOVYGALVTG

The last reselling account I’m introducing to you is based in Tempe, AZ! If you are as indecisive as I am, you might find yourself at home with Olivia Su’s simple, colorful, yet unique collection of thrifted finds.

Things spotted at Su’s small business: pastel cardigans, patterned button-ups, funky sweaters, and corduroy pants. Being the smallest account of this bunch, Su uses the bidding system and often sells at very low prices—if you are lucky, you might be able to land a flannel shirt for just $12.

Groovy Gal Vintage may only have around 3.9K followers as of late, but this shop is definitely one to watch in the months to come.

Becoming involved in the Instagram thrifting fashion community has been one of the best ways I keep in touch with various styles of fashion. Even when I’m not purchasing anything, I feel inspired, intrigued, and aligned with other’s unique fashion perspectives.

Instagram thrifting is fast, personalized, and easy; if you’re feeling ambitious, you could even start an account of your own. Elevate your closet with these distinct pieces, and promote a more sustainable future. It’s all at your fingertips.


Who’s your favorite Instagram thrifter? Let us know on InstagramTwitter, or leave a comment!

Reach the writer on Instagram and Twitter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s