Wednesday, October 7, 2009

something old, something new, something borrowed...

Back when I was younger if my mom said she was going to a garage sale or a thrift store I would give her the inconspicuous side-eye and proceed to climb my ass in the back seat with my V-Tech laptop and neon swishy pants because I knew what it was (my mom would smack the shit out of me).

I used to HATE having to wear sweaters that my mom found for me from second-hand shops. I didn't like the thought of wearing used clothing and I was embarrassed to go to school wearing shit that I knew was once someone elses. But the thrift stores of yesteryear have since changed. Or maybe I just grew out of the notion that everything that I wore had to come from Kids-R-Us or Macy's.

Today thrift stores, garage sales, and even goodwill carry used and vintage clothes that look good! Take for instance the $3.49 speckled, tweed pencil skirt I picked up last week. Or the tan, oversized Ralph Lauren button up shirt I got for $2.00 that looks great with tights and high brown boots.

In the past, you would be socially shunned to say you got anything from a garage sale. But as I'm getting older I'm starting to see that you can get good, QUALITY pieces from these places that are classic and timeless.

I can't say that my closet will now only be comprised of thrifted items but the things I've found can well supplement my wardrobe. I still need to buy NEW shoes. I cannot really imagine someone else's feet anywhere near mine. And I also will need to buy new things or more high-end items from the store. I also can't stop online shopping for my life, but my advice would be to highly consider these types of places.

Mass retail merchandisers are getting away with raping people for the same type of stuff that was hot 20 years ago and you may be able to find @ your local thrift store/goodwill.

Today everyone's trying to invest less and get the highest pay out so alot of the stuff made now is poorly constructed with cheap materials such as thin threading. Also, merchandisers are looking to make as many items as possible in a short span of time so the craftsmanship is less legit.

Also, if you don't really like to buy the things that are trendy at the moment (ie. neon bullshit, graphic tees, "urban streetwear" blahh blahh blahh...) you'll be able to find things that you know won't go out of style and you won't regret spending $30 on one shirt -- although it's not likely you'll even spend that much.

Here's some tips for thrift store shopping that you might find useful:

1. Have an open mind. - Keep your mind open to new styles of clothing and be prepared to do alot of searching. Don't just dismiss things that don't instantly catch your eye or look like the things that you might find at the mall.

2. Check for tears, holes, rips, stains etc. - If it's something you really want/like you can probably try to haggle down the price and take it to a seamstress or the dry cleaner but you want to make sure that you're not wasting your money on wool sweater that's already unraveling.

3. Odors are not cool. - Smell it! Make sure that whatever you want to buy didn't carry any extreme odors of the person who had it last. To my belief, many thrift stores wash the clothing that they receive before they put it out, but I'm sure many don't. Also, don't mistake YOUR smell with the smell of the clothes you want to buy. Obviously some thing is going to smell different than what your used to.

4. Wash. - Make sure whatever you buy, when you get it home, you also wash it yourself. Like I mentioned, some thrift stores don't have the time/money to wash every single item that comes in so you want to make sure you throw your new-old stuff in the washer for thorough cleaning.

5. Don't impulse buy. - Alot of the stuff is priced low, which is great, but that doesn't mean that you should be dropping dime on everything JUST BECAUSE it's cheap! Spend wisely.

6. Keep a mental picture of your closet. - This is going to sound weird but when I go thrift store shopping I bring the pictures that I take of my color-coded closet/drawers so that I know what will look good with what. You probably may not want to take it that far but it really helps to at least have a mental pic of what you already own. (But trust me, the picture thing is THE BEST!)

7. Be willing to DIY. - Alot of times stores have the long, mu-mu, mom version of the shit that I would wear. I don't have the patience to sew things/I don't own a sewing machinge but I'm willing to pay bucks to get a really hot dress altered. Especially if I only paid $5 for it.

8. Experiment with fashion. - If there's any time that you want to take a risk and experiment with your wardrobe, you should be in a thrift store when you consider it. Fashion really does repeat itself so look out for things that you may want to try but don't want to necessarily go bankrupt doing it.

9. Be patient. - Thrifting isn't easy. It's time consuming and it's not promising. Bring a friend who isn't corny about trying new things or is already experienced in thrifting and comprise a list of stores that are close to you, and just make a day out of it. You might not find anything but you probably will.

10. Look in more sections than one - (Women) The kids section has great, retro t-shirts that fit cute. The men's section carries nice button-ups that can be worn as tunics or you can get a sweater that gives you that oversized look. Like I said, be open-minded.

Overall you'll be able to find good, most likely well-made pieces, that are one-of-a-kind. When shopping at second-hand shops, or thrift stores you can most likely guarantee you will be the only one who has it. Can I get a "You ain't got these on!"


khaki said...

I digs this... I keep telling myself im going to check ou the snobby thrift shops in the wealthy neighborhoods but I never go.... i think you have me convinced.

Anonymous said...

I'm a HUGE vintage shopper! I can start opening up my thrift store with the stuff I own. It's great because you're more than likely to be the only person who has what you got =)

Marie said...

i definitely went to the thrift store yesterday afternoon & i must say, i found some really cute stuff. it was a good experience. thanks for the tips too, they were a big help.