A thrift store pitfall is any clothing item that for some compelling reason calls your name but which, after the first trial wear, will molder away in the back of your closet/bureau, never to see the light of day until you have mercy on it and finally donate it back to the same store from whence it came.
How do you avoid thrift pitfalls? By listening to what I like to call your Style Conscience.
This week I had to go to the Goodwill for work (lucky gal, I know!!) to drop off some items we were no longer using at the office and to look for a gag gift for a departing coworker. I found the gag gift, along with a perfect little ramekin to keep the rubber bands that had been procreating like bunnies all over the inside of my desk drawer. I had gone through the checkout line and was halfway between the cash register and the door when I spied a display area placed strategically near the entrance. Normally these displays catch your eye as you enter with hand-selected merchandise–some stores go with the outfits-on-mannequins approach while others (this Goodwill included) go by theme: designer or upscale clothes, all denim items, all white shirts, etc. But since I’d gone in on a mission and with a tight schedule, I had totally missed these racks. Good thing they caught my eye on the way out, though, because what was the theme of these display racks but navy blue trousers, for which I had been thrifting at least a year!
Lesson learned: don’t let a great find pass you by just because you didn’t think to look somewhere unexpected. More on that later–because sometimes your new favorite piece will be hidden in the kids’ section.
This past Saturday on the 4th of July my friend and I went thrifting–the perfect activity when it’s raining out, especially on a day that’s supposed to be about outdoor activities. Adhering to thrifting tactic “Know Before You Go”, I had 2 goals in mind:
We covered strategy–your overarching approach to The Thrift–in Thrifting Done Right, Part 1. Now it’s time for tactics–how you actually operate in store. If this is sounding like a military operation or a major league playbook, please excuse my enthusiasm. And remember, I’m not here to be a thrift dictator, so take the principles you like and make them your own.
Thrift store shopping can be overwhelming for the uninitiated–aisles upon aisles of clothes, a mishmash of styles and colors that looks like a muppet threw up everywhere, and the siren call of cheap, cheap prices that can make you think “It’s only $3…I can buy 10 shirts here for the same amount I’d spend on one shirt retail!” Even people who are thrift pros still occasionally get sucked into the vortex of inexpensive and plentiful clothing.
This post covers some basic strategies for your approach to thrifting. Part 2 covers tactics for once you’re in the store (see what I did there? Strategies are for how you look at the forest, while tactics are the methods you use to negotiate individual trees…or something). Oh, and let’s be generous about the “done right” part–I’m not here to be a thrift dictator, so take the principles you like and make them your own. Continue reading “Thrifting Done Right, Part 1”→
I’d say 95% of my wardrobe comes from thrift stores. The other 5%? Christmas gifts from my mom and mother-in-law, the occasional fair trade or Made-in-USA (where labor practices can be monitored) item, and things you just don’t really want to buy in a thrift store (your mileage may vary):
Okay, for me–an avowed thrift-vangelist who dresses almost entirely* in thrift store finds and who believes EVERYbody can find SOMEthing that’ll make their heart beat faster at their local Goodwill or Salvation Army–it’s not a question. But maybe for you, it’s a legit quandary–maybe you’re curious about thrifting or looking for a more economical or ethical way to shop, but the rows upon rows of donated clothing seem overwhelming. Or maybe you’re wondering how that thrifty coworker of yours always seems to find the coolest pieces at the second hand store while you never seem to find anything but fuchsia muumuus and old lady loafers in that weird greige color. Well, this post is for you–to help you determine if thrift shopping is for YOU.