Closest Closet thrift store reduces fashion waste

Maddie Gee and Kathryn Lazich

Located in downtown La Grange, the new second hand clothing store, Closest Closet, aims to create a more sustainable method of shopping through a cycle of buying and donating clothes. 

Unlike regular thrift-stores or other retail shops, this shop utilizes clothing hangers for pricing: gray indicates $5 cost, black indicates $10, pink indicates $21, and blue indicates $35. Shoppers can choose between three purchasing plans: paying full-price as a guest (in-person), a monthly membership for $20, or a yearly membership costing $160. Individuals with memberships are granted access to donate pieces of their closets either online or in-store. The online platform encourages shoppers to upload photos of items they no longer wear, with the intention to donate them. 

Once a donation is made, members will be rewarded with redeemable hanger credits, and this cycle repeats after more donations are made. With these hanger credits members have the exclusive ability to shop without having to pay in cash for their final purchases. When shopping online the only expense members need to pay is for shipping costs unless they opt to pick up their purchases in stores. 

Walking into the store, we were immediately greeted by the warm ambience in natural lighting, along with an employee at the front register who was happy to explain how the system worked to shop in-person. We chose the guest option, as this was our first time. Although the process was daunting at first, we quickly navigated around the racks of pants, dresses, and shirts with ease using a key of the price labels on the wall. It was incredible how well the quaint store utilized the compact space inside, having the white walls that made the space appear bright, homey, and the section downstairs for off-season apparel, posing as a bonus department. With a wide variety of brands and clothing types, there was truly something there for any type of fashionista. The quality of the clothing itself was also nothing short of what was expected: used but in good shape. 

Also, an aspect we thought was interesting was the ability to hone in on each unique individual’s style. The employee explained that as customers stop in more regularly, Closest-Closet employees are able to recommend pieces that they are more likely to reach for based on learning their personal style. We thought that this aspect of personal connection with customers was a unique aspect that set Closest-Closet apart from other clothing stores in the area. 

However, we both noted the strange difference between the non-member option’s inability to donate clothes compared to the member option that allowed them to exchange clothing with only paying their subscription price. For the guest option, it did feel more like a regular shopping experience as opposed to the cycle of thrifting and donating clothes for a bargan. 

Other than that slight annoyance, we walked away with a pair of plaid pants originally priced at $35, and light beige thin sweats for $21. After some negotiation, the employee offered a discount of $10 off for the plaid pants. While the quality of the clothes was good, we felt the total we paid was slightly overpriced for second hand clothing.

After shopping with the guest option at Closest Closet we feel that for common thrift shop goers it would be beneficial to sign up for a membership option merely because of the costly expenses without hanger credits. The whole concept of making sustainability a priority within the fashion industry was very moving, however from a guest’s perspective, the aspect of spending practically market value for secondhand items tainted our collective experience.  

Overall, we thought this new, innovative way of shopping benefited shoppers and the cause alike, and would recommend it to friends interested in a shopping adventure. 

Closest Closet is located at 46 South La Grange Road. 


4.5/5 paws