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!

70 comments:

Harberette said...

I'm 20 years old and I'm starting to feel like I'm taking myself too seriously. I'm still a youngin'!! You inspire me to stay playful. I might go play dress-up now. =]] Thanks,Tavi! <3

Isabel said...

I love when thrifters reveal their tips and tricks! Fantastic post, Tavi. Its so cool watching how your style changes/progresses over time. Fascinating!

P.S. -That Janie Fricke tee is totally mine now! :)

ipopheart said...

i also love trading all of your "why did i buy that???" kind off items for really exuberant items. Being that I am still size 10 kids...i dont really have much to trade. sigh.

ipopheart said...

ah--and also, may i attatch your link to me bloog?

Nadine said...

Y'know, I actually put EVERYTHING through my front-loading washing machine (on the 30-degree-celsius cycle, usually). Even that leather vest would go through, if it was mine (oh, if . . ).

The thing is to DRY clothes carefully - tumble-drying may be hazardous to your clothes' health. Most of my stuff goes outside on the line and I hang a lot of my clothes on hangers from my drying rack - it's an old wooden baby-gate hung up in my laundry. Knits that may stretch get dried flat on a towel in my hot-water cupboard (airing cupboard).

(I'm from New Zealand, so I hope you can understand my wacky colonialisms . . )

Eloise said...

great post! i enjoy thrifting very much. usually there are some wacky things that i enjoy looking at but don't usually buy.

Emy. said...

That flannel outfit is so 70's and I love it! This post was really helpful, especially for me who is, sad to say, horrible at shopping. :-p
Thanks girl!

Lily said...

great tips. :)

the late writings of me said...

Compiled a few best lines from this post which I enjoyed altogether too much.

"like -324839839 degree water and a special kind of bleach from the islands of Fiji"

and

"LET IT GO, MAN. YOU AND SHINY PINK NIKE WINDBREAKER WERE NEVER GOING TO LAST."

-chose these simply 'cos I've been there before. Once I purchased a garment and the label was not even in my language!!
Hello I don't speak bulgarian and how did you get here??


www.the-existance-of-me.blogspot.com

amber "the street chanteuse"

Claire said...

I can never bring myself to dry-clean my leather thrifted items because they would cost more to clean than what I paid for them :) Great post.

bobb said...

This is a terrific, informative, well written post Tavi. You explain very well the difference between the various types of secondhand stores. I also like thrift stores the best. As you say, they are cheap and the money goes to a good cause, but it is very tempting to overbuy. I often go to look for records, etc. as well as clothes, and there's often the thrill of finding something great that you never knew about.

The record and clothing store looks really cool. It's an interesting combination. There actually was store in Maryland that was a combination record and pet store. Very strange:)

Menagerie of Never-Ever said...

i must go thrifting with you, economy shop, brown elephant, S.A, and maybe belmont cuz i am addicted to you. but thats in the future when i have time-anne

CGHill said...

This might be the most sensible article on thrift-store shopping I have ever seen.

Belle said...

Thanks for the great tips.
belle

WendyB said...

You're way too young to have insomnia. Leave it to the old folks like me!

Gladys Lopez said...

I LOVE the $6 vest!!!

sayyrayy said...

When the smell of used clothes becomes inviting and exciting, you know you have arrived.
Sarainks.blogspot.com

vivien said...

i bought an oversized 80s-design sweater about a year ago and i haven't worn it more than once. now i realise my mistake.

whenmidnightcomesaround.blogspot.com

Megan Hallisey said...

I've been to that vintage/record store in saratoga. It's amazing!

lucille said...

Hey tavi , I love your image ( love the funky jacket !
Come on my blog (PLEASE )
if you have the time of course !

Shen-Shen said...

Great guide.. now if only I had some salvation army's less than 30 minutes away from me.

I❤PUKE said...

neat post, thanks for the great tips(:

alice said...

You are amazing gril, Tavi! Young and wonderful! I like your style and all the tips! Hugs

KD said...

How I love thrifting - I actually started when I was 8 and obsessed with super-soft, worn-in sweaters. Sadly, prices have risen sooooo much at what used to be my go-to cheapie place - $40 for a lacey blazer, and this is in a random town in Connecticut, not even NYC!

B said...

oooh, the joys of thrifting. :) Speaking of, I need to go soon.


anyway, sweet blog. oh, and I noticed the new header. nice.

want to exchange links? :) I'm going to make a blogroll soon, so that would be sweet, if you wanted to. let me know :)

Hilary said...

Wish I had the patience to thrift instead of vintage shop. You always find the most amazing things. Can I have some of your patience?

Pretentious b said...

i have been looking for sunglasses like those narrow purple ones you were sporting for a long time, but do they have a name? it would greatly benefit my search haha,
and great post!

-Sarah

thebasketcase said...

Awesome sauce post. It was interesting to read :) I sound like I'm grading you, rotf. I'm not. I SWEARRRR. :D

Lexi
thebasketcaseblog.blogspot.com

The Stylish Wanderer said...

I have a post on second hand shopping as well....?

Pixienish said...

Haha those sunglasses remind me of Margiela L'incognitos. I wish we had more thrift stores in Malaysia :(

S'more said...

I completely agree with saving for something more awesome, because it's easy to get carried away with really great deals, being in the moment and the middle of the hunt and all.

To add: Get the crazy stuff like that blouse! When you're older and some event comes round, or even tomorrow and you're in a particular mood, you will so wish you had :)Chances are, the instinct you felt when you grabbed it off the rack, will emerge again at a latter date when you circle round to having the same daydream or thought process moment. Sorry, I think about clothes in this way, because they usually come into my head this way.

Whenever I see something I really love I give it one week. Like it has one week to convince me to buy it...

Jane said...

wow,you are so cool! And I haven't even read your blog..I will start tomorrow though.

the iron chic said...

Good post, Tavi!
I own a vintage clothing store in Toronto but I don't buy stuff from local thrift stores. I have MANY different resources. I think that is why vintage can be pricier now...it is a tapped resource and it is getting harder to find. Also, there is a lot of competition in the biz. I make sure the stuff I get is clean, has no holes/stains. It is kind of like a service. I still love a good $1 skirt though!!!!

Tavi said...

Thanks for the tips guys, glad it was helpful.

nadine-I'll have to try that!
pretentious b-It didn't have a tag with a label or anything...sorry! I got them at Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown though.
stylish wanderer-Lots of bloggers probably do but I never came across yours as I'm not a regular reader. I wasn't going to link every single secondhand shopping guide on the web.

Rogue Vogue said...

Loving the sailor look! Your style is amazing - youll go far! :)

Im new to blogger - Please check out my blog - Rogue Vogue - Thanks x)

Nancy said...

The best way to thrift is to get together with a bunch of friends, everyone bring their cast-offs, and just trade and swap around, so that everyone goes home with new clothes, and inspire each other to stretch themselves, to be more adventuress, fresh and spontaneous in their dressing!

TheCrayolaEffect said...

Now I want to go downtown and meander aimlessly. :)

Elene said...

I absolutely love going to my local denton thrift store, esp when everything is 50% off which makes me giggle because everything is always around $5... so even cheaper on those sale days!! Your tips are wonderful, that is exactly what I think of while I am searching for a few "gems" among all the teacher denim vests (bahaha)...

OHHHH the pokemon card days... *let me transport back to 6th grade when I was so dorky... :)*

xoxo

bella said...

tavi this is sooo helpful
i've been planning my first thrifting experience but i didn't want to be overwhelmed by the choses?

Ashley said...

nice post, Tavi. <3

Kayla said...

I appreciate your tips for thrifting. I enjoy it but sometimes get a little frustrated with the Search. You've inspired me to keep looking! On a side note, I was a little suprised to see your photo with the vintage store in Saratoga NY. I'm from Albany and have been in that store as well, and also didn't have much luck. What a small world!

Cosmia said...

awesome. I'm a thrift-shopper as well.

alicia the amazing said...

because of this post i'm going to head to the thrift store right now.

Eyeliah @ stylesymmetry.com said...

great post, you already have so much figured out at your age, I assume you will solve world hunger by your mid twenties.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the tips! i went to savers a big thrifting department store and got some great stuff! You should see if they have one near you it has really good things!

also i love your tee shirts! i know you love edward gorrey you should try some ink drawings! i did alot of edward gorrey inspired for my art class!

Chloé the kid said...

I guess we don't have that much thrifts stores here in Paris.
I mean, of course we have some of them, but vintage & thrift is becoming sooooo "hype", it's really scary. Every little "fashionista" goes to "freep star" or "Killiwatch" to buy the perfect little jacket that EVERYONE has... Shopping there isn't really fun anymore, everyone's looking at you like if you were a monster because you don't have the skinny jean that everyone's wearing.
Anyway, we have SOME really great stores, but it seems like you've got hundread and thousands of thrift in US! I hate you!
But I'm going to Rome tomorow and there's many of vintage over there, maybe I'll find good stuff.
And thanks for the tips!
Love your blog!

/Ctk

stephanie said...

It just so happened that my brother walked by just as I scrolled to the picture of the wicked shades, and asked what the heck I was looking at. I had to go on a rant justifying your absolutely unique and mind-boggling 12-year-old cool. Be proud, lady. And never stop.

Lani said...

i'm pretty sure i was not as cool as you when i was your age. i love reading your blog and comments because you're so right and so sassy. haha, i love it.

by the way, when you get a chance, please check out this video my friend and i made http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnSk0djCLMQ you already know all of this, but i just wanted to share.

keep up the good work, lady!

yoncto said...

holy shit, that vest
and it was ten dollars
damn
i wanna live where you live, even in the thrift stores way out in queens shit is still more expensive than that

blahblahgirl said...

almost all my clothes are second-hand. my mom and dad never believed in spending money on clothes. so i lived on oversized hand-me-downs and thrift store clothing. Actually I still have tights from the 3rd grade that used to come up to my armpits. i still have them and they still fit

xoLauraox09 said...

Great tips!
:D

Natasha said...

Love the junk under your bed. As am mother and have two girls...when did your mom start letting you wear crazy (no offense) stuff? Sometimes my 8 year old goes to the thrift with my mom but she comes home with crap and I like hide it or throw it away.

Lyndranette said...

i wish my mom would let me wear this cool stuff. ill check out my local salvation army for good "junk". love ya!

kim said...

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Thanks you

Lisa said...

i saw a note about you in Russian Vogue today. i wish my mom give me time&money to shop till i drop! all these stuffs are cool) i love ya=)

brodie said...

wow. these comments. just...wow. lolwow. ps- 15 cents!? them amerikan thrift stores is coo-coo bananas!

R said...

I was recently informed (by an ex employee) that Goodwill is NOT non-profit. And they actually destroy old items before throwing them away so that people won't be able to dumpster-dive. Stick with Salvation Army when you can.

Meg said...

Amazing advice! Thanks lovely, thrifting is definately one of my fave things :) Support the planet, save money! Win win win and win some more.

Suzannah said...

WOW! Your closet must be PACKED with clothes. You have an amazing and wacky sense of style! Keep it up!

sidnee said...

wow! i love you style! your so lucky to have all these neat stores near you!!!

so if you'd like come check out my blog and tell me what you think about it !!!!

Love and Rockets,
Sid.

Miss Sofie said...

Oh, Tavi, if you are ever for some reason interested in getting rid of that black cardigan with the awesome pattern on it, please let me know. Please.

Jennythenipper said...

Sometimes Consignment stores do have treasures. It's not all Aberzombie. It really depends where you are. If you live in a small town/remote suburb sometimes the consignments take in vintage designer stuff and sits there and the person dies, but eventually you walk in and see it and are like OMG! Yes!

Estate Sales too, are great places to find second hand treasures especially if you're into vintage.

It always helps to find a thrift store that hasn't been picked over by hipsters looking to resell stuff on Ebay. Google map all the colleges/universities in the area and then google map all the thrift stores. Put the two together to find your special thrifting place.

Finally, never go out without a tapemeasure. The by the pound salvation army reject warehouse that smells like pee is not a place you want to remove your pants.

Sydney said...

I love second hand shops, mostly consignment shops. both my mom, my aunt, and I shop at them, though the places we shop at are very different.
Having a rather low budget to spend on clothes, it's great that I can get designer clothes for such a low price.

Alli The Totally Wicked Novelist said...

Reading your blog has inspired me to go thrifting and actually do what I've been wanting to do for a while, which is go through my old dress-ups and alter them (that is, if my mom will teach me how to sew).

Anne said...

Cool. I write about fashon too.

XS. said...

Hi Tavi, I have to tell you that you inspired me to write my blog about things I like, I create and things I want to share to the world.
Thanks for telling the world what fashion truly means. You are GREAT.
You truly is!!!!!

Keep up the good work!!!
HUGS!

christine said...

Glad to see the next generation embracing thrift stores. They are THE BEST. It's like you step out of your life for a while, then when you step back in, you bring alot of cool shit with you.

Sadly, some stores have got the memo that their buisness is cool and have jacked thier prices up.

TAVI - you have GOT to learn to sew. As a kid, I started making Barbie clothes cause we couldn't afford new ones. Then applied the same principle to MY clothes. It is so fun, and pretty easy! I'm gonna go get a pattern and attmept to make a 'caftan' dress soon with silky oriental material, for summer when it's hot. I just can't find what is in my mind's eye, so I'll try to make it myself.

Anyways, I love your ramblings. Reminds me of me. Stay awesome!
I heart the butterfly window clings.

: )
Chris

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