Do you wear second hand clothing?
Are you abhorred by the idea of wearing anything a stranger has worn before you or are you the type who finds browsing throug 'unique' items of all fashions and times in the thriftshop the ultimate shopping experience?
I belong to the latter group, but I've taken this one step further and now get my clothes from the curb. So I get them for free, but more importantly save the most beautiful items from the landfill.
Read these blog posts if you want to know more:
I've only posted a few items so far, so keep track if you're interested. Or do you think i'm not completely sane to do this?
02-23-2008 03:53 AM
Every month I''ll go to a vintage store and find the neatest thing, then a month later cut it up into something amazing, just today I made a vintage dress into a purse.
Just a protip to new vintage shoppers: never put it on right when you get it, because skin infections are never fun, so wash it!
Most of my clothes are thrifted or dived. In thrifts, I have to be very selective because I'm paying for it even if it is very little. For dived stuff, I just gather anything that looks remotely interesting or usable and then sort through a pile on my porch. I'm far more likely to deconstruct a dived item, but any of it is fair game.
I can usually find someone for the things, or know of thrifts that will take them. Some stuff could be resold, but I haven't been doing that lately.
I tend to imagine stuff about the previous owners of these things. A bag of clothing may suggest a mother and daughter, one heavy and one slim, and both love jewel tones and work in offices, or maybe it's from a conservative couple who buy Brooks Brothers and L.L. Bean, or a family with lots of kids and no spare cash.
Save buttons and possibly trim and notions like zippers if the item needs to be discarded. Rags, even of polyester knits, come in handy. There's always a bag started for donation or allocation.
there's this spot here in san jose called black and brown that sells new and used clothing (as well as purchases your used clothing.) their prices are great, which of course means that you don't get a whole lot for what you sell but that's nothing unusual for that kind of joint. i just have issues selling designer stuff that i paid a lot for, but the latter issue i have works out to your benefit if you are purchasing designer items from them - got the best skirt on the face of the earth there a couple summers back. my sister saw it and asked how much i paid for it. i told her it was $12. she said that brand skirt at regular retail would easily have been over $100.
i used to frequent thrift stores for many years. however, i think i've gotten to the point where though i'm very fond of the great 70's items and old man cardigans i find, i must control myself. but this is due almost completely to watching far too much what not to wear! i do still check out thrift shops in areas with larger elderly populations because you can still find some great items from the 40's and 50's at some of those spots.
<delurk>count me in for the thrift shops- they're the best. i don't do street clothes anymore, cuz i can afford to buy nowdays- like to leave the stuff for people who can't buy. i do pick up buttons though.</delurk>
I would like to buy things at thrift stores, but I can't say I have ever had much luck, aside from the occasional costume party ensemble.
How much time do you guys devote to your quests? I feel like I'd need to dig through racks at 4 stores before I would be likely to find a pair of pants in my size, in my long length (or at least with a cuff I could let out) and in a style I would actually wear.
Is there hope for someone with limited (okay, no) alterations abilities? Or should I stick to the housewares department?
It's always a matter of perspective. I'm short and round. Finding clothes that look good on me is hard, but I know what I like and I know how to remake things.
PinoyBlaze started a thread on Threadbanger.com that has articles clipped from all over the web on thrift shopping. Lots of other random tips on the topic, too. threadbanger's thrift shop tips
If you don't want to go through all those pages, just keep a couple of important things in mind as you thrift shop.
- Do not have a specific item you are seeking.
Do not expect to find anything in less than fifteen minutes.
Do look for any specials the thrift store may be offering that day.
I may generally know that I want a new used pair of jeans sometime soon, could use a red t-shirt, and want to replace my dog's food dish. I might visit four thrifts and not find anything suitable for those ideas, but I did get an autographed cookbook, a black wool cardigan, and a cool looking watch that needs a battery. Maybe the next trip out I'll find the perfect t-shirt and the dog bowl. The jeans? Who knows when?
When you've hit a few places with a buck a bag sales, you start realizing that you could actually buy three bags and come out with two great purses, three new to you outfits and the teapot that matches your good china. Plus assorted rags and notions. You might not sew, but you probably can change out buttons or repair a seam.
It takes a bit of self-training to spot the type of material you prefer or the cut of the shoulders to indicate what the jammed in blouse looks like. Then you start noticing things like collar rings and cuff wear and three missing buttons, but it's not that hard.
i've definitely come across some great craft supplies like tons of yarn, a daisy maker and bags of random stuff.
i DO have one tip to add to the above list lizzymahoney posted though:
do avoid getting anywhere near the bedding section on hot days - especially here in cali when we have the 'spare the air' days and stores don't use their air conditioning.... it becomes VERY apparent that people do not thoroughly launder their linens before donating them! need i say more???
I have no problem with buying second hand clothing. I dont get to thrift stores very often, but there is a goodwill store in the plaza near the YMCA I go to, which I try to hit at least once a month. Sometimes I find items worth picking up, sometimes not.
Last time I was there, I picked up a denim sleeveless sheath dress for about $7. It's a little tight for me still, but I've been gradually losing weight, so it hangs in my closet as motivation to keep up my exercise and healthy eating.
One of my close friends is a thrift store junky and pretty much knows which days they have their best markdowns. I don't know how she remembers this stuff, but she does. She's not terribly discriminating, though, and has a wardrobe full of "bargains" that don't necessarily flatter her shape. Nor is her wardrobe what I'd call mix and match because she buys such random pieces. Add to that the problem of her medications causing her weight to fluctuate frequently, and it's just a big mess! Her bedroom floor always has a HUGE pile of laundry.
She also brings stuff home for her teenaged daughter which is mostly immediately rejected for it's lack of coolness.
I have it easy w/ 2 boys~ IF I manage to find anything decent at all for them, it's usually pretty current styles, and they're just not all that picky.
I've read all your reactions so far with interest. Thanks for taking the time.
I (curb) shop much like Lizzymahoney. I have no expectations, take home what's available then sort it out, experiment with combinations, try on things I may not have chosen retail... and surprise myself often with a new style I'd never expected would look good on me. It's a lot more exciting than following fashion!
I don't blame you if you shop for new things if you have a difficult size, but then I take it you cherish your garments and don't just throw them out when the colour isn't to your liking anymore or a seam is a bit torn. I least I hope so. You could still buy second hand for accessories though.
I've found bags of clothes that smelled cleaner than my own laundry (cause I don't use fancy perfumed soaps), but of course everything goes in the washer first thing. And stuff I don't want to keep at first glance goes to goodwill (means only a walk around the corner where there's a large collecting container), unless I want to keep the fabric, buttons or zippers. Yes, I do that too.