Monday, April 23, 2012

Why Thrift? Thrifting for Mystery and Memories.

I started buying second hand clothing with my mom and I’ve been thrifting ever since. I remember finding a beautiful grey and blue plaid, reversible, and pleated skirt at the Goodwill. It was quality wool and probably from the 1960s if not earlier. I wore it to school looking very prim and proper. So prim and sensible that several of my older grey-haired teachers were commenting on how nice I looked and how they wore a skirt exactly like it. I was mortified. I was so embarrassed I never wore it to school again.

Eventually, it did not fit, so I donated it back. I wish I had it now, to wear in the full glory of my own self esteem and passion for vintage clothing. I would so rock it. Since then I have promised myself never to worry about feeling out of place wearing thrift again and that I would embrace it!

Sometimes thrift finds are things an older generations would immediately recognize. If you take city transit, you will understand how unavoidable someone’s nostalgia is when you are wearing one of their memories. But isn’t that exciting? So many of us like the idea that thrifted items are mysterious and have stories. The style of skirt my teachers wore in their youth. The owner of the coffee shop near my old job reminiscing over my latte about her engagement suit which was the same mustard yellow of my thrifted blouse. The pair of Dr Martens I scored from a clothing swap from my older and much cooler doppelganger who had worn them through the 1990s. She special ordered them at the time because she couldn’t get 8-eye chocolate brown ones in the city and wore the hell out of them in her glory 90’s party days; I love them!

I guess what I am trying to say is sharing stories and memories encouraged by thrifted or vintage items, or stories about finding these great things is the best part of thrifting. Anyone will tell you it’s all about the “the find,” but it’s not just the material object but the sense of life you get from it. The sense of another time. Your own interpretation. 

A huge closet is great, but that’s not the only thing modern thrifting is about. I hope to share my stories and thoughts on thrifting and hear some of yours in return! Has someone ever had a story about your thrift find? Do you have any great memories about thrifting or a certain find?


  1. I'm a thrift freak but a lot of it stems from being very frugal & tight-fisted with my budget. I care about my clothes and home decor items very much, but I am hesitant to spend money unless it's the absolute perfect item I have envisioned for my home or wardrobe.

    Thrifting is often my first shot at finding the item(s) I want/need. More often than one might think, I find something perfect (even if it's not what I originally sought) while thrifting.

    A year ago, my husband and I lost our home in a major tornado and I lost more than 90% of my carefully selected wardrobe and accessories. While we were insured and not in a true crisis to replace clothing items, I found it very satisfying to thrift shop for many things and not have to go out and buy brand new everything all at once. Some of the most unique and special items in my "new" wardrobe came from thrift shops, not from mall stores or boutiques.

    I could never thrift shop exclusively. But I don't think I could buy ONLY new items, either! I love the thrill of the hunt (and of finding amazing bargains) way too much.

    1. I definitely understand about having to be tight fisted with my budget, I am a student and living off loans is tough! I find it hard to spend money on something new because I know if I look hard enough I will find something second hand that I will love just as much.

      My thoughts go out to you and your family, I could never imagine such a loss. Thank you for sharing your bright spirit! The fun is in the hunt, and being able to start all over, find unique and special items that have meaning again is.... so awesome! But I agree, it is all about balance :)