Secondhand Wardrobe: Sweatshirts

Ethical, sustainable sweatshirts | How to find secondhand sweatshirts | Litterless

Above is a tale of two Everlane sweatshirts, one new, one secondhand, both loved. In case you too are searching for sweatshirts in which to live out the winter, I wanted to share some favorite sources for sustainable versions. When I look for sweatshirts, what I'm after is a version that I can pull on over jeans and feel like I'm not exiting the house in my pajamas. You might be looking for a cozy hoodie to wear to yoga, or a zip-up to layer in. No matter: there's plenty of secondhand out there for all of us.

I tend to look for pieces that are 100% cotton, which sometimes excludes the ultra-cozy fleece versions, which tend to have some polyester in the mix. But I think pure cotton holds up better over time and pills less, it doesn't release plastic microfibers when washed, and I just like the way it feels a little bit better. There's a particular too-warm, slightly-weird feeling I come to associate with too-fleecy sweatshirts since I was young: I can't tell you why that is. Anyone else feel the same?

With sweatshirts, it's key to look for secondhand items that are in really good, like-new condition. Otherwise you risk having someone else's stretched-out neck and pizza stains on your new-to-you purchase, because the ease of sweatshirts sometimes means we treat them, well, too easily.

Here's where to look for some secondhand, and a few brand-new, finds (some links are affiliate links):

-In a store near you! Despite what sometimes think after a particularly discouraging stop by a once-favorite secondhand shop, in-person thrifting isn't dead. If you have a spot that consistently turns up gems for you, chances are you can find a sweatshirt you love there, too. (Especially this time of year, when they're nice and stocked with winter gear). Go forth and thrift.

-Online secondhand: I've talked about a few of my favorite resources for this before. ThredUp, Instagram,, whatever strikes your fancy. If you've had an eye on a particular sweatshirt from a company you love but are reluctant to buy it new, choose something with a search function, like Poshmark or eBay.

-Etsy: If you'd only like vintage sweatshirts to appear in your search, you can search "sweatshirt" or "cream sweatshirt," etc., then check the box for "vintage" rather than "handmade," ensuring that all hits will be secondhand. I particularly like the selection of vintage sweatshirts curated by Rawson here in Chicago.

-Patagonia / REI: If you're okay with a part-cotton part-synthetic blend for your sweatshirts, it'll open up a whole new world of fleecy choices. Check out Patagonia's WornWear site for secondhand Patagonia sweatshirts and fleeces, for one, or REI's used clothing site for more outdoorsy goodness.

Ethical, sustainable sweatshirts | How to find secondhand sweatshirts | Litterless

And, some options for a brand new sweatshirt as well, with sustainability and natural fibers in mind:

-Everlane: I've purchased two of these crewnecks already this winter, and I'm keeping my eye out for a secondhand one in a third color. They're 100% cotton and hold up so well. Everlane also just released a few new sweatshirt styles, like this oversized model and a comfy, but not sloppy, hoodie. (I've often had good luck finding secondhand Everlane sweatshirts by searching online, as well).

-Amour Vert: This pretty version, with a slightly cropped sleeve, is made in the USA from cotton and modal, both natural fibers.

-Rudy Jude Co: Rudy Jude's organic cotton crewnecks are naturally dyed and ethically sewn in the United States, and come in pretty shades like a deep, rusty salmon. They're meant to be hard-wearing and long-lasting, and because they're made of naturally dyed organic cotton, you could compost them many years down the line once they've kept you warm for years and been cut into rags for years after.

-Baserange: My things by Baserange are some of the very softest that I own, favorites that I reach for several times a week. Their crewneck sweatshirts are made in Portugal from 100% cotton. I like the cream colored sweatshirt, but all of them are subtle basics you could wear day in and day out.

-Noble Denim: Pure cotton goodness, grown and sewn in the USA for men and women alike. (Their crewnecks, like this one, are currently on sale, too).

Particular favorite secondhand sweatshirt finds of yours, or any thrift shopping questions? I'd love to hear.

Previously in Secondhand Wardrobe: Favorite spots to shop online for secondhand clothing, and a primer on the subject.