just a thought – thrift philosophy
Do you have a thrift store philosophy? If I do, it is “thrift without looking thrifty”. There is an art to selecting items – Tricia of Bits & Bobbins is the master of this. After much practice, I have discovered my own simple tao of thrift, resulting in some truly satisfying (if less colourful) finds. This weekend I picked up a never-worn pair of Paper Denim & Cloth jeans, in my size and my favourite wash – dark, no stretch, no fade. Other great finds I wear all of the time like these sandals, and this shirt in the outfit on the left. The costs per wear are practically nothing, yet nothing about it looks like cheap second-hand clothes.
I used to be quite awful at thrifting as a teenager. I would select things without much thought – desperately wanting to find something cool and picking up less-than-ideal bell bottoms, fur coats full of moths that ate my wool sweaters, long polyester skirts, ill-fitting jackets and of course, cheap old slips, filling cardboard boxes with the unworn spoils of my pocket change. Back in those days at those prices (most things were under a dollar, imagine!) the financial damage was limited – the moth damage was devastating.
Once I came to Toronto where the prices were higher and the choice was much broader, the stakes were raised and I stopped thrifting for a while. But I have come back to it, and now I put more thought into it.
I go as frequently as possible, and set aside at least an hour or two to do it. Weekdays are better than weekends, less busy and more recent deliveries. I never go looking for anything specific, and often leave without buying anything. Like the library, the thrift store is best approached with an open mind, allowing serendipity to draw you towards what you don’t know you’re looking for.
Here is my thrift technique:
- Run your hands across the fabrics looking for good ones. How to tell a good fabric – a good fabric feels good. If it does…
- Look at the label. Is it a size that might fit you? If so…
- Look at the colour and style. Does it suit your taste? If so…
- Look at the fabric content if possible… natural fibres are often indicative of quality – but always consider the touch of the fabric. A soft, top quality polyester blend is better than an itchy 100% wool.
- Anything else that makes it worth trying on… an interesting label? Made in an interesting location? Nice pockets and lining? Good condition? A good price?
- Only if it satisfies all these criteria, try it on. Is it an absolute yes? If not – a slight yes, any mixed feelings at all, its really a NO. Only buy things that are great without reservations. That is the trick to thrifting without looking thrifty.
Do you have a thrift store philosophy? Any great finds lately?