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We asked ELLE insider Joëlle Paquette, editor of the blog Very Joëlle, to share her love of second-hand stores and explain how she builds a conscientious wardrobe that doesn’t skimp on style.

On her passion for sustainable fashion “Learning shocking statistics piqued my interest in responsible fashion. The idea that the aver- age North American throws out 37 kilograms of textiles per year and that 60 percent of clothing ends up in the trash just one year after being produced is an abomination. For me, thrift shopping is the ideal solution. It gives me the freedom to experiment with my look with really cool, unique and high-quality pieces that cost a fraction of what they’d cost new—all without putting anything new into circulation.”

 On her best vintage score “Last summer, I searched high and low for on-trend kitten-heeled mules. Just as I was about to pull the trigger on a pricey new pair, I came across a similar style at Value Village. Needless to say, I snagged them on the spot and couldn’t have been more thrilled to save some money while prolonging the lifespan of said sandals.”

On her thrift-shopping process “My favourite time to shop at Value Village is in the morning, when I have the most energy. You have to be on high alert so you don’t miss a gem. When I find something I like, I check the size, and if it seems like it can work, it comes with me to the dressing room. Remember to always keep an open mind: It’s amazing what a good tailor can do for a garment’s fit and silhouette.”

On making sustainable choices “First and foremost, ask questions before adding to something to your cart. Will I still want to wear it in six months? Is the quality durable or will it get ruined in the wash? Do I already own something similar? In other words, it’s about buying less, but better.”

Bringing fashion full circle

Did you know it takes up to 2,650 litres of water to make a new t-shirt? That figure jumps to 6,800 litres of water to make one new pair of jeans, but it takes 0 litres to make a thrifted pair! One of the goals of Value Village’s Rethink Reuse® program is to educate the public about the environmental impact of clothing and, most importantly, share information to help curb textile waste. Help save our planet by joining the movement.