February 13, 2009

first hand guide to second hand shopping (lol punz omg)

To save time that would be spent writing a bunch of emails and satisfy my insomnia! This is long but hopefully of help. Mary and Belle have good posts on secondhand shopping, too.
The difference between these three types of secondhand stores:
THRIFT-The main purpose of stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army is to sell used clothes at a low price to make them more accessible for a lot of people. They're not that interested in making a huge profit for themselves and as with most thrift stores the money goes to charity. They just want people with less money to have more access to good clothes. It takes a lot of patience to find something you like but can definitely be worth it.Why I love thrift: everything here was $1 each. The polka dotted skirt was in great shape and still had it's H&M tags, which read $20.

VINTAGE-Usually vintage owners go to the nearby thrift store to pick out a bunch of well-kept, vintage-looking clothes for 3 bucks and sell for 15. The thing with most vintage stores is that their prices are more for the environment or convenience of the store's location than the actual dress or shirt itself. The good thing about vintage is that you already have all the thrift gems picked out for you and don't have to spend a lot of time looking through the racks of a thrift store.I got them on sale, but the original price for these sunglasses were $12 at a vintage store.

CONSIGNMENT/RESALE-If you're an Aberzombie-turned-fashion blogger these stores will happily take your old clothes and give you pretty good money for them. Consignment and Resale stores generally cater to the clothing interests of people that are just looking to save money on a pair of jeans rather than paying the full $45 at American Eagle. It's hard finding cool, one-of-a-kind period pieces here because they want to sell to more generically dressed folk. Also, most people that have brains will sell their 30's dress on eBay and make $40 instead of selling it to a resale store for $10.

Thrifting is my personal favorite because it saves the most money, supports a good cause, and is most fun! Buying secondhand in general is also a nice choice because it helps the environment.

  • Think about what you already have in your closet. When you're contemplating buying an item, think of something you would wear it with so you know you'll get use out of it.Everything here is thrifted. I bought the shirt because I already owned the rest of these items and wanted to wear it all together.
  • Inspect the item a little. You don't know how long it's been sitting around, so if there are stains or smells, they've probably set in and won't come out. Especially important if you're looking for stuff to sell on Etsy or eBay.
  • Look at the washing requirements. If the jacket you want requires like -324839839 degree water and a special kind of bleach from the islands of Fiji or something, it might not be worth it. Most of my clothes can be washed in our basement washing machine, so I rarely buy anything I have to get dry cleaned. If I do, it sits around for a while before I actually get to it. If you are less lazy than I and will actually get it done then buy it and congratulate yourself for being so efficient!Oh, the days of summer. Everything here was thrifted. Flannel shirts and jeans aren't hard to wash.
I have still not gotten around to getting this leather vest bought on new years drycleaned. On a lighter note, the lace shirt was 15 cents!
  • Some things are one-of-a-kind and you feel like you HAVE to get them the moment they catch your eye, but sometimes one-of-a-kind doesn't always equal versatility. You will always find tons of zebra striped skirts or oversized sweaters. LET IT GO, MAN. YOU AND SHINY PINK NIKE WINDBREAKER WERE NEVER GOING TO LAST.No need to fret young grasshopper, you will always be able to find sweaters like these!
  • Make sure something will fit you how you want it to fit you. Some thrift stores don't have dressing rooms, but just holding a shirt up against your chest should give you an idea. Moohoop has a good post on dressing for thrifting, very helpful. When you tell yourself you're going to hem a skirt, will you actually get around to it? Psh, I haven't. Um, this post is truly exposing my lazy side.This $6 vest works well oversized.
This blouse does not (I didn't buy it).

Thrifting might not seem like something that requires much thought because it's all so unexpensive, but it all adds up. When I purge my closet, usually 3/4ths of what I'm taking out I have thrifted. Even though each item individually was $3, I could've saved maybe $30 just from thinking more about how much wear I'll get out of an item. I know the blazer you have your eye on is just four bucks, but that money could be better spent on kid drugs (candy). Or lots of shitty tabloids. Or some Pokemon cards. Or a more awesome blazer you'll actually wear.

Hope this helps, sending good thrift vibes your way!