March 28, 2013

Fashion Friday: Thrift Away

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Believe it or not, thrift shopping existed long before Macklemore rapped about it in his eponymous song “Thrift Shop.” And yes, digging through clothes in Salvo is as awesome and fun as the song portrays, albeit not for everyone. There’s just something about going through musty shirt after shirt until you get your hands on an awesome top that you just know is unique and belongs to only you. It feels very gratifying after hours of hard, often sweaty work examining the many (and trust me, there are many) racks of clothing, to leave the thrift store with a couple hard won gems. However, it always helps to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve before entering a thrift store so you don’t become overwhelmed with too many options. Below are some of the things I have picked up over the years going thrift store shopping.

1. Always bring a friend. I found that out the hard way one afternoon after buying many dollars’ worth of clothes all in a couple of hours. The low prices combined with the almost limitless options has a numbing effect on logic so that by the end you think that almost anything will look good on you (including that tasseled leather shirt … yikes). Your friend will help you glean all the choices and narrow down the selection. In other words, they will become your voice of reason, telling you what actually looks good on you. Just because something for $5 does not make it a good buy.

2. Don’t forget about tailoring. You will never find a different size for the same piece of clothing in a thrift store. What happens when you come across the most amazing patterned dress but alas! It’s too long. Why, you can take it to a tailor and have it transformed into a shorter dress! Blazers? Same thing (I personally like them to be a little oversized, though). Of course, this is much easier to do with things that are too big on you rather than too small.

3. Check out the opposite gender’s selection. Most clothes you find in thrift stores have some wear and tear to them by nature of the store. This means that fashions follow trends from anywhere upwards of 10 years ago. And fashion trends were a lot different 20 years ago, so you never know what little treasure you can find in the men’s or women’s area of the store. I can’t tell you how many awesome flannel shirts and oversized sweaters I’ve found in the men’s section.

4. Bring your own shopping bag. A lot of thrift stores have carts to store clothes in as you’re perusing the aisles. It’s so much easier to bring your own big cloth shopping bag instead of pushing a cart around. Trust me, a good bag will go a long way. Moreover, they usually only have plain plastic bags to put your purchases in, which is terrible for the environment. Bottom line: A reusable cloth bag will definitely help you out a lot whenever you go thrift shopping.

5. Don’t be afraid of a little dirt. I think this is the most important thing I’ve learned. A lot of the clothes and shoes might be a little yucky or smell a tad funky. Honestly though, I bet you it’s nothing a high-powered rinse won’t take care of. Don’t let a stain persuade you against buying a shirt you know you would love. The same holds true with shoes. I know the thought of wearing someone else’s boots might gross you out, but I guarantee you it’s nothing a wipe won’t take care of it. Think of it this way: it’s probably the same thing as walking in the city with your flip-flops.

There you have it! A good YouTube channel to check for thrifting tips is Clothes Encounters. Hope you have a blast thrifting away!

Original Author: Eleni Konstantopoulos