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”→
This week the best kind of friends came to town–friends who find spending an hour or two at Goodwill to be a fun group activity! In 90 minutes or so we replaced a pint glass we had broken, grabbed a wooden mini tambourine for our kid, snagged Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, and Santana records for maximum dance partying at home, and stocked up on some summer reading (including Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal–which I’m pretty sure we used to have, but gave away at some point. Ah, the perils of decluttering. Good thing it only cost $2 to replace).
Now on to the part you actually care about: clothes!
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):
I’d been thrifting with the concept of “capsule” in my mind as it’s a great tool for getting your wardrobe to that sweet spot where you love and wear everything you have. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the term “capsule wardrobe” was coined in the 1970s by Susie Faux, a London boutique owner who used it to describe a core of classic pieces that will never go out of style and which can be supplemented by a selection of fresh, trendy pieces each season. In more recent times, Courtney of Project 333 re-conceptualized the capsule as a series of fixed, small collections–one for each season–and it took off, with myriad bloggers coming up with their own twists, rules, and definitions.
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.