Friday, October 29, 2010

The Art of Thrifting

Picking the brain of fashion's greatest thrifters.
After one of my weekly thrifting escapades I couldn't stop thinking about how many seriously stylish people I came across.  I was so fascinated by what they were choosing that I almost forgot to look for myself...almost...hehe. I'm pretty sure I looked like a creepo stalker staring sneekily through the racks but I can't help it, I'm just a Curious George!

I figured the best (and less creepy) thing to do would be to talk to fellow thrift fashion bloggers and figure out why they do what they do. So I decided to contact Shannon of Dirty Hair Halo since I'm really loving her style right now. Luckily she quickly responded "Bring on the questions! Thrifting is a real passion of mine." Thanks Shannon you are just too too sweet! Let me know when you're in the mood for a little East Coast thrifting!

I'm thrifting when I'm buying clothing second hand and getting a cheap price, whether it be at a Goodwill or Salvation Army, a clothing exchange store, a consignment store, or a vintage boutique. I consider spending between $1-$20 on any one item a good deal, and anything beyond that needs to be highly justified and special.

I can recall thrifting in high school, if not middle school. I often went to the local Goodwill or to Haight-Ashbury on the weekends, but at that time my sole motivation was to find cheap clothing. My motiviation now is that the finds are priceless.

I have mutiple rules that play into each other.

I try to think really hard about why I'm purchasing something and how versatile it can be. I've found it's easy to get caught up on a cool novelty item where once it joins the rest of my closet it becomes unwearable because it's either inappropriate, ill-fitting or just straight-up too weird.
I don't like buying something because I'm getting it at a "steal." I don't look at the price tag until I know I love it and it fits, otherwise the low price factor plays too much into my purchase decision.

I feel like the point I'm trying to make is somewhat roundabout, so here's a question I often ask myself when I'm thrifting as a small reminder that I think sums up what I'm trying to say:

"Would you buy this item in it's (used) condition if it were at it's full original price at a retailer?" If the answer's Yes, then you've got yourself a killer deal.
Additionally, it's easy to buy in bulk while thrifting. There's this mentality that if you're getting a discount, you might as well buy more with your "savings." Wrong. I force myself to let go of things I "like" in favor of the things I "love"before I hit the checkout line. That way I walk out with anywhere from 1- 3 great items rather than 10 so-so items.

Once every week or two, which is often. However, I try to walk in with certain goal items in mind, i.e.- work trousers or sheer blouses. It gives me a focus based on a need I've pre-identified in my closet, and if I find anything other than that need I try to take a step back and think about what I'm doing, like, "Do you already own anything that resembles this, where would you wear this and with what, what makes it so darn special, etc., etc.?"

I use the word thrift to represent both used and vintage clothing because I honestly can't tell the difference and I don't want to mislabel something as vintage. My priority, however, isn't vintage classification, labels or era. It's quality.

I love Buffalo Exchange and Everyday People Clothing Exchange in Minneapolis.

I have a patchworked faux-fur jacket that I bought from Everyday People Clothing Exchange for about $45. When I saw it I gasped and my heart dropped, almost like an emotional moment. It conjures up the weird, extravagent, over-opulant, eclectic hippie in me.
SHANNON @ DirtyHairHalo Blog

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  1. Hi, i just came across your blog and i have to say it's awesome! i really like your style! check out my blog and if you like it we can follow each other...

    love irina!

  2. Thanks Irina! I checked out your blog and its great. I love the way you mix-and-match. I already added myself as a follower.


  3. Hello! I follow your blog, and recently posted a link on the Facebook group I facilitate as part of my 9-5 working for Salvation Army Thrift Stores Canada... feel free to visit and share at - you've been quoted! :)



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