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):
–Swimsuits. I know some people buy vintage swimsuits, replace the lining, wash, and wear–more power to you! I don’t have those sewing skills, so my leisure suits get bought retail (though very infrequently–I’ve bought 2 in the last 7 years, 1 of which was maternity). So do any workout swimsuits–if you’re really racking up the laps, the elastic wears out quickly and it’s pointless to buy a used suit that’s already saggy and draggy.
–Underwear. This is probably the most common of the no-gos, though I won’t judge you if you thrift yourself some nice underoos—after all, thrift stores wouldn’t put them on the sales floor if someone weren’t buying them. A few apartments ago we were neighbors with one of the managers of our favorite local thrift shop, and he told us about a very wealthy donor who would buy Prada underwear, wear each pair once, then donate it. I have to admit, I might be down for that kind of luxe thrift score. (Also—thrift store managers have awesome stories.)
I did, once, take an exchange student’s new, unworn underwear off her hands when she was trying to pare down in preparation for her flight home. Thanks Christina! :)
–Socks. I’ve found a pair or two of novelty socks at thrift stores that sell new/overstock merchandise, but for the most part thrift stores are sock heaven–where socks go to die.
–Bras. Ditto. Your girls (and your back!) deserve a quality bra that hasn’t already been worn out. (I do buy sports bras in good condition–the brand I like seems to hold up pretty well post-donation.)
–Shoes. I have narrow, skiiiiiiny feet that are hard to fit even at retail shoe stores. I’ve found some good matches at thrift stores by looking for brands that run narrow, sandal styles that can handle being worn a little loose, or casual sneakers/boat shoes that lace up for a tighter fit. Running shoes I buy new (though not expensive!)–like your chest, your feet do best in new kicks to prevent injury. And workhorse shoes that get worn multiple times a week to work, walking the neighborhood, etc. I buy new (er, put on my wishlist at Christmas/birthday. Thanks mother-in-law!).
What do you skip at the thrift store?