Thursday, June 13, 2013

Old clothes, not yours.

Are they "vintage"?  "Pre-loved"? Or are they "used"?

When I was growing up on a shoestring budget, I loved going to a local consignment store called Ex-Toggery.  It still exists, although it's gone a lot more upscale than it was in the '70's and '80's.  I still remember things that my mom bought me there: a pair of clogs, a poncho, a red-and-white checkered nightie.  She was much less likely to say "no" in that store than in any other.

When I was in University I expanded my thrift shopping to Goodwill, Value Village, garage sales, and the various weird, musty stores of Kensington Market.  My go-to outfit in 1993 was a pair of beat-up, used Levi's and a man's grey wool sweater with the cuffs rolled up into bulky donuts. 

I continued to shop in thrift stores all the way through to the time when I met Ken.  He decided that I needed a make-over.  He managed to communicate that in a way that was encouraging, rather than insulting.  So I let him take me shopping in "real" stores and I bought a lot of new clothes.  I built a new wardrobe.  I learned that I can get clothes that fit really well, instead of just approximately.  I wore this year's trendy fashions.  It did make me feel better about myself.

Now I feel that I've come full circle.  I'm now confident enough in myself and my fashion sense that I've started adding a few choice items from thrift stores into my wardrobe.  Why?  Not because of economic necessity.  Mostly because I enjoy the treasure hunt of shopping second-hand.  You never know what's hiding on the racks!  I picked up a pair of almost-new pants this winter that became my favourite weekend-wear for months.  I paid $6 for them. 

That's another thing: if I get tired of something I paid $6 for, I don't have to feel like I wasted good money.  I can get rid of it (probably throw it back in the donation bin) without a second thought.

Yes, the stores can be a bit depressing.  And sometimes there really are no treasures buried in with the stretched-out pullovers and corduroys that are bald on the bum.  I have to be in a particular kind of mood to enjoy the experience.  I no longer desire to shop in dimly-lit stores that smell funny; the store has to be clean, bright, and well-organized.  But the siren call of the thrift store still sings to me.

What about you?  Are you with me, or does the thought of wearing someone else's old clothes give you the cooties?

9 comments:

DarcKnyt said...

I frickin' LOVE thrift stores. I always have. I don't know why. I can't explain it. But I do. I miss having one around within reasonable reach.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

OK... 2 things really 1. Thing is cooties scare me and B. I can never find something in my size.

LL Cool Joe said...

I buy second hand clothes and shoes off ebay sometimes. If I really want something I'll go for it. I never buy expensive clothes though anyway, because I'd rather have lots than just a few. I don't go to charity shops because they are a bit smelly sometimes. :D

You should have added to Macklemore's Thrift Shop to this post it would have fitted in perfectly with your theme! :D

G. B. Miller said...

I have no problem with wearing someone else's clothes. Besides, yesterday's old is today's very expensive vintage.

wigsf3 said...

There's an encouraging way to say "Honey, you dress like a hobo?"

Jameil said...

Bald on the bum and/or bulky donuts will be worked into a conversation today!!! I so rarely find good things at thrift stores. I wish I did. I do like antique stores, though for the jewelry or hats.

Granny Annie said...

Afraid of cooties? Just put them in the freezer for a few days. I love second hand anything! However it is so popular now to buy used that the prices there are greater than they used to be. Still we can find great bargains and rarely is it necessary to tell where it came from.

Vanessa T said...

When I was little, thrift store shopping was an economic necessity. Divorced parents, blah blah, you know the drill. :) I grew to hate my Salvation Army hand-me-downs. Once I got a job as a teen, I bought my own clothes. After Dane and I got married, he re-introduced me to thrift store shopping, and we went to one in a rather upscale neighborhood. Talk about finding treasure! 100% silk blouses for $3? Score!

One time, I donated a bunch of stuff to a veteran's service, and then next time I went to the thrift store, guess what I found? Yep, the vets sold their donations to the thrift store. Talk about a weird feeling seeing MY stuff on the hangers!

Jenski said...

I have no problem wearing other people's used clothing. I found a great consignment store where I live that is wonderfully picky about what they take. I've found great 'used' clothes that still have tags!