I've walked into thrift stores only a few times in my life. The whole setup isn't really my thing. I hate digging through huge piles of stuff, I have a bloodhound's sense of smell (mold especially kills me), and I find itchy clothing depressing. I don't care who made it in what decade, I'll take a new jersey knit over vintage polyester any day.
I do own some vintage pieces, though. I'm not totally immune to their charms. All of mine were passed down from my mom. I wore Mom's old Calvin Klein cut-offs all through high school and college, her sexy red maxi dress when I was pregnant (the only time my boobs were big enough to fill it out), and you may recall seeing her sparkly prom purse on the blog from time-to-time. But here's the deal: They were my mom's. I didn't have to go scrounging through bins, worry about smells, or wonder about a stain. They all came with stories – familiar stories, stories that are now part of my family lore.
But thrifting…it's intimidating and impersonal and smells bad. Yet it's cheap. SO cheap. And it's better for the environment.
As a tree-hugger who is not independently wealthy…yet (snort)….if I'm really serious about reducing my own personal environmental impact (and saving some cash along with those trees), I need to take another look at how, and what, I consume. I'm all about CPW (cost per wear) and buying fewer, better quality items…so how can you go wrong with quality at $3.99?
I'm assuming, of course, that quality can be found for $3.99. Because Yentine said so, more or less. And she's pretty much the thrifting expert in my little online world.
So keeping Yentine's first tip in mind (HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE, which may have been the root cause of my past failures)….I went thrifting. At the Goodwill in my tiiiny hometown, population 25,000. If you ever wanted to set a thrifting bar low, go to a small, isolated town with an overabundance of non-ironic Carhartt. But unlike Philly, in my tiny hometown I can park without fear (the PPA is NO JOKE) and I have free babysitters (thanks, Mom!).
My thrifting trip was….hunh. Successful? Keeping an open mind, I did end up trying stuff on, and even walked out with an item or two. To prove I was there illustrate, I took pics.
I think I owned a dress like this in high school. HEY! I think this was my dress in high school! Sigh. Needless to say, I left it there.
If you are looking for a bunch of old, polyester Western shirts, look no further than the Marquette, Mich. Goodwill. Despite its Northern location, there's plenty of Yee-Haw.
You know how the '80s are back? And how '80s sweaters are kind of a thing now? Yeah – I thought that this *actual* '80s sweater might be perfect. Until I realized that it was staring back at me.
I tried layering it over a polyester secretary blouse. Still staring. Still no.
Besides, Yentine says to look for silk, not polyester. And then I actually walked out with this shirt:
Yes I did. And yes, it is one of those embroidered gingham numbers, found in the old lady section of JC Penny or Kohls, thank you for asking.
It's rather horrifying, I know. BUTBUTBUT…I like it? I thought it looked cool (in a slightly ironic way) with my tiny floral shorts, and figured it would come in handy at a cowboy bar? Maybe? Sigh. I don't know. I haven't actually worn it yet. But….I think I could, you know?
AND THEN WE COME TO THE GRAND FINALE. The one where I find herringbone flares (by Seven for All Mankind no less) for $3.99.
Per Yentine's instructions, I was checking the racks a size (or two) off my typical size. And these bad boys? Were marked two sizes bigger, yet fit like a glove. Even with a high waist. Love, love, love.
Sooooo……Mamas, what are you doing for Earth Day? May I suggest a little thrifting? (Cause only a true shopping enabler can turn a good Earth Day deed into a shopping trip.)
But seriously, Mamas, spill: Are you master thrifters? I know reader Nicole is – I was totally blown away by her thrifted maternity style video. Am I the only one who has run screaming from Goodwill? I am changing my ways, but MAN. Thrifting is hard work.
ps. I just found another awesome Thrifting Guide on Rookie Mag.