Friday, March 17, 2006

Thrifty Chic

I broke my resolve not to shop today by venturing into a part of town that was, well, I won't say scary, but I will say, um, interesting, to go to a Salvation Army. Since I didn't necessarily want to go back to said part of town, it seemed like a waste not to shop. It's an interesting thing, thrifting; most of the stuff at thrift stores is junk, but thrift stores just continue to get more and more popular, more and more picked-over, and more and more expensive, which you would think would all add up to a return to retail, but nope, everyone wants something that someone else wore. And I'm no exception.

Y'know, one thing (and, admittedly, not the only thing) that I miss about living the in midwest are the thift stores. They're just much less picked over, and considerably cheaper (I'm talking $1-3 per garment, usually). The vintage hasn't been all snatched up by resalers who make a 300% profit, and sometimes, you don't have to fight a 50-person crowd to see the clothes. Still, good stuff can be found in thrift stores out east and in other people-dense places--but a few rules for thrifting wouldn't hurt.

And I don't see anyone else stepping up to write them, soooo:

1. Be choosy. Don't just think, "Well, it's only $8, so I might as well get it." If you don't truly love something, even $8 is too much. Don't buy crap just because it's there and it's cheap and thrifting is trendy. Trust me, there are plenty of 40-year old soccer moms who are "trying to save money" to snap up the bad stuff. But still. . .

2. Be daring. You can afford to take chances for less than $20. This doesn't mean to wear something ugly, but if there's something that catches your eye that you wouldn't normally consider to be your style, go ahead and give it a try.

3. Know what flatters you. There might not be dressing rooms available, they might be swamped, they might be sketchy. If you can look at something on a hanger, or at least poke around a piece of clothing for a while and know if it'll look good on your or not, you'll save a lot of precious time, and money as well.

4. Stay away from solid polyester.

5. Stay away from shoulder pads. I don't care how cute that 80's print is, put it down. Just don't.

6. Don't shy away, however, from pieces that might need tailoring. A $5 dress that needs $15 of tailoring is still only a $20 dress. Plus, it'll be completely unique.

7. But do know that a tailoring job is doable before you buy something. I was thinking about buying this dropwaist dress from the 80's with a navy and white print today, but it had massive awful puffy sleeves, and I just didn't know if it cutting them off would ruin the structure of the dress or not. Plus, with my midwestern past, $13 seemed like an awful lot of money to pay for something that someone else wore.

So those are my rules. Like I said, even in New York, there is stuff to be found--I got a navy little boy's hoodie (odd obsession of mine. I love little boy's clothes because the fit is girly, but the colors and prints never are. It's a good combo), and a beaten-up brown leather bag with an embossed logo of some obscure company on the front. $10 total. No complaints there, really. But to all my friends in the midwest who read this, go to a thrift store. Now. That's an order!



Blogger Crabby Rangoon said...

I just moved to Hong Kong from the MidWest and BOY! DO I MISS thrift-store shopping. They are completely non-existent here. Going back to the states in a couple of months for a visit and going thrift shopping is on the top of the list. After visiting my mom, of course.

Thanks for your blog. I just found it and am enjoying it!

3:52 AM  

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