Want to shop for greener, affordable pre-loved fashions — but don't have the patience to dig through the disorganized piles at Goodwill? Stop by one of the more stylish recycled fashion stores like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads — or another local thrift store that buys and sells used clothes.

Why? The clothes at these stores usually cost more than Goodwill — but also are more stylish and better organized, too. After all, the stock comes from eco-fashionistas just like you who got tired of or grew out of their clothes. Store employees with an eye for fashion curate these once-loved pieces, buying them back if they seem cute enough to attract another wearer.

I like to hit these pre-loved fashion stores once a season or so with a bagful of no-longer-loved duds — selling what I can back before using the money (and usually, more from my wallet) to find new-to-me eco-fashions. And late last month, a new branch of Buffalo Exchange opened on Main Street on Santa Monica — so I had to stop by and check out the wares last week!

This Buffalo Exchange is a bigger, better version of the old Westwood store, which closed down and relocated to this beachier spot. I browsed the well-organized racks for basics I needed — jeans, yoga pants and a neutral-colored tank — and found all three!

The green aspects of reusing clothes really appeals to me, but honestly, the prospect of saving green by avoiding retail prices appeals to me even more. My scores this time:

  • A pair of barely worn Guess jeans: $30
  • A perfectly fitting pair of Hard Tail yoga pants: $15
  • A basic tank for the summer, great for layering: $5
That brought my total to $50 — lower than the cost of a new pair of Hard Tail yoga pants alone!

Though secondhand shopping is a great way to save money, I still always recommend going with a shopping list and sticking to it — lest you buy stuff you don't need and won't wear. I was a little sad to leave these cute Coach sandals behind — priced at just $35.

white coach sandals at Buffalo Exchange in Santa Monica

I brought a reusable bag for my finds, which meant that the girl at the cash register gave me a little 5-cent token for the store's "Tokens for Bags" program, which reward shoppers for BYO-bagging by letting them donate a little cash to a good cause. On the way out, I got to pick from three different charities to donate to. I went with the Creative Visions Foundation!

Tokens for Bags at Buffalo Exchange in Santa Monica

What are the best bargains you've found shopping for pre-loved fashions?

Go pre-loved for spring fashions
MNN's lifestyle blogger likes to save money and the environment by shopping at pre-loved fashion stores that buy and sell clothing.