Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Don't fear the thriftstore

When I was a kid it wasn't cool to wear second-hand clothes, so that meant usually not telling people wear I got my clothes, unless they really really liked what I was wearing. I had a dress that literally every friend I had borrowed at least once, it was a floor length Japanese blue beautiful thing that was shear (you had to wear a dark camisole and slip under it) and it was gorgeous, IS in fact still so beautiful and timeless that I have the thing today. One of my cousins asked to look through my closet for something to try on for a church outing, and of course she grabbed the dress. "This is beautiful!!" and then the follow up, "Where did you get this?" I had been asked that a dozen times, over and over I had said it was a gift, or at the mall or something completely made up on the fly, but she's family right? So I could tell her. "Goodwill." and her face was instantly sour, "Oh..." was she disappointed because there was no sister dress she could go grab at sears? Or whatever was the most popular store when I was 15 I don't know I was home schooled. Was she upset because she had learned maybe I was under privileged and couldn't get the latest things? I don't know but I look back now and think, you were in-love with it before you knew where it came from! So whats the hold up now?

We have a stigma in our culture about something using something before us, either it being gross or germy, but it only goes with clothing, you can share pay phones, hotel rooms, atms, cars, computers, books even toilet seats but noooooo way are we going to buy a used pair of shoes, now that's just disgusting.

There are a few reasons we feel this way, other than conditioning:

                                                     Fortune -   Fashion -  Friends/Family

Okay the last one was really two, but here it is.

Big Business is making bank on our desire to have "new" everything. They take advantage of our need to look beautiful by distracting us with what they are doing daily to make us look sick, fat and miserable. They sell us food that is so processed its hardly even food anymore, its not nourishing, its not even filling so we have to eat triple what we used to just to be satisfied, the cheap by products that our bodies cannot process, so it sticks around in our skin causing acne and early aging, it clogs our guts and gives us bloating and intestinal problems, it sticks to our backs and rears and thighs and stomachs so we cannot fit into anything and we feel badly so we turn back to whats comforted us since the day we were born: more and more food.

Fashion changes every five minutes, so those skinny heels you bought yesterday will be replaced by the chunky wedge tomorrow, the thin slim cut sweater by the loose bulky cable knit one this winter.
Why do we chase trends? Because we feel badly about how we look so we are told, to BUY more things rather than eliminate the cause of our emotion. We could take time to work on ourselves, start a garden, go for a walk with our mates, play with our kids, but if we do that, we're not working, if were not working we can't make money to spend and if we don't have money to spend Big Business fades. Does it seem like a pattern?

Our friends and family exacerbate the issue by falling into the same traps we do, so we are encouraging bad behavior in each other. If your buying new clothes, I want to as well. If I see you eating huge portions...well you get the idea.

All that is why people feel the need for new new new all the time, its not because we need it, were slapping a band-aid on a severed limb, it just wont cut it.

Now that I've led you down a crazy rabbit hole, let me get back on point, eh hmm, so after your done using that public toilet and sitting naked on the hotel couch I think you can buy that second-hand pair of leather boots.

Give your wardrobe a look over, how packed is it? If your in the minority, its pretty slim.
Maybe you have a t-shirt or two, maybe three pairs of shoes and two sweaters, but if your like me and most people, your closet is throwing up piles of junk you haven't worn, won't wear and is taking up space and cluttering up your life.
Take a day, go through it, keep the most precious pieces, and donate the rest.


My Dad has been a garbage guy for most of my life (almost 30 years) you would not believe the waste, brand new shoes still in the box, toys, books, perfectly good, not mildewy or molding, just didn't want them, threw them in the garbage.

So try to donate whatever you can because every item you recycle one less has to be made and you are actually saving this little rock your standing on every time you do so.

Only keep the best looking, most classic items in your closet, I mean you, drop the MC Hammer pants, if you must keep them, turn each leg into sleeping bag for your kids or something.
Every classic item will always be in style they can mix and match with the few in style pieces you have and save your closet from bulging again.

 I get compliments on my clothes to this day (that is not important, its more important to wear what you feel great in, I state this only because you can be fashionable and not work an extra three months a year to pay for it) and I'm no longer hesitant to tell people where I got this skirt or those boots. I understand now as an adult that its okay to work less and spend more time with my family, that I should be proud I paid $2 for the leather purse that was originally $199 

Its okay to skip the mall and instead of paying the fifty bucks for one pay of jeans, pay the same amount for your kids entire school wardrobe, its better than okay, its the way it should be.
You now save 75% or more on clothing (and a lot more than just clothing too)  your money goes to those working in your area and not to somewhere over seas, treating their employees deplorably.

Tips for thrift shopping:

Bring your own shopping bag and let the cashier working in the front you brought it.
Wear easy to remove clothing and or light thin clothing that you could try things on over top of.
DO NOT TRUST SIZES this applies to any clothes shopping, I range from a size 2 all the way to a size 9 (in the same day!) this is why you must try every item on, find a mirror check every angle.
If its not crazy comfortable/flattering leave it there, you won't wear it anyway.
Check for stains, rips, broken zippers, missing buttons. If you can repair it fine, but ask yourself, "Will I make time to fix this?" Its likely not worth your money if its entire lifetime will be spent in your closet.
The clothes are likely to have been worn, washed and stored, if they look good now, that's a great indicator of quality.
If you find a pair of shoes you like, wear them through the store for most of your shopping, you'll find out if it was discomfort that caused the previous owner to donate the shoes or simple disuse.
If you bring in an outside article of clothing to match color, size or whatever, always tell a cashier to avoid frustration or confusion.
If your not certain of an item, ask about the return policy, if they don't have one you may want to put the item back.
Remember, brand names usually have very little correlation to quality, the softest most comfortable pair of yoga pants I've ever worn are a brand I've never heard of. I've had them 3 years and they are still like new. Don't go label searching, you'll likely miss out on some gems that will last a lifetime.

If you are still having a little thrift shop dread, google celebs that shop vintage/yard sales/thrift shops, the results will likely surprise you.

Remember, when shopping this way your teaching others (including your family and friends) that the environment and your time is more valuable than chasing the latest five minutes and gone trends, that you can look professional, stylish and comfortable on very little green all the while saving something much more precious, hours of your life that should be spent with those you love.
There is no dollar value on life lived, I know at the end of mine I won't be wishing I had bought the $500 suit over the vacation with my kids :)

As always vote with your cents

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