TBT: Thrift Shopping

During a recession, sales of secondhand clothing go boom! I wrote the post below during the last recession, way back when I went thrift shopping at brick-and-mortar resale shops, for fun, every new season. Ha! This new recession is different for a couple of reasons. One is that fashion is kind of irrelevant while those of us with functioning survival instincts are all staying at home. Shoes? Handbags? Why? The only accessories that matter at all are things you can see on a Zoom call, like earrings, and pandemic face masks that are fun enough to distract from the horrors of why we must wear them every time we leave home now. The second major difference is the rise of options for buying secondhand fashions online.

Personally, I'm not in the market for new clothes at this time. I've fully embraced bog witch style, which is pretty much freegan meets Professor Trelawney for drinks, but if you must purchase new fashion items at this time, I recommend virtually pawing through secondhand goods online. Loads of rich people spent the first lockdown KonMari method-ing their packed closets, and secondhand vendors are still stacked to the roof with designer duds for dirt cheap. Go get 'em!


Thrift Shopping

Fashion magazines often talk about "investment" pieces to justify spending an obscene amount of money on a high-end item while making yourself feel responsible about it. I know it makes sense to buy high-quality clothing that will last instead of cheap junk that will fall apart on the first wash. But still, when I hear the word "investment," I always think of the old adage, "Buy low, sell high."

As a recessionista, I can't afford to make high-risk ventures or spend energy on psychologically justifying impulse buys. To stay on the safe side, whenever I make an "investment" in a material possession, I look for two things:

1. The purchase price is low.
2. It makes me happy to have it, regardless of whether I can profit by selling it.

That way, I benefit regardless of the object's change in monetary value, but if the value does increase, I win easy money.

I shop for new clothes about once per season, and I leave the house with a prioritized list of items that I want. It's usually very specific, but it's helpful just to write down a function, such as "work clothes" or "formal wear for weddings" so I make sure to buy what I need most.

My recessionista colleague Mrs. Waxx is like a high fashion magnet. She walks into a garage sale or thrift store, and designer garments fly right off the racks into her hands. I don't know how she does it, but it's fantastic. The last time we went to the Volunteers of America store, she nabbed this Diane von Furstenburg lace top:


If you can't read the tag, it says $3.99. Mrs. Waxx doesn't normally wear white lace, but that didn't stop her from making this little "investment." She'll either find a creative way to incorporate the piece into her look, or she can easily sell it on eBay at an enormous profit. The same goes for these brand-new leather pants I found for under $8:


I've never worn leather pants. I'm no biker chick, and I don't kid myself that these are in style at the moment. But they fit like a fabric-lined, buttery leather glove, and Mr. G is way excited about it. There may come a silly occasion to wear these pants... or, again, I can easily sell them on eBay to some size-four biker chick or punk rock lead singer for more than $8.

The following more practical items cost under $5 each:

A like-new glitter-trimmed tank top from Express...


...a Necessary Objects tweed black-and-white miniskirt...


...and a sweet pink Ann Taylor wool cardigan that I can wear to my church secretary day job.

Happy shopping!

Comments

  1. My husband is a self proclaimed expert at thrifting. Something that was passed down to him from several generations of thrifters! He once found a set of brass french pots and pans that cost only $8 to $10 each. He knew exactly what he was holding when bought them and was ECSTATIC when he told me about them. A little Googling told him that they retail for about $400. Of course the set he bought was no longer for sale on the market which made the experience even better.

    Having to dress 3 kids I hit the resale stores to sell the clothes the kids have outgrown. Most shops will give you up to 20% back if you take a store credit. I always do and then stock up on the sizes I need.

    Oh how I love thrifting!!

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  2. I had a friend who was a super value hound, but she also had really high end taste. She'd never in a million years go thrift shopping BUT,if she saw something she loved at Ann Taylor Loft or at White House Black Market, she'd wait to see if went on sale for a week or two. Then she'd buy it and check for two weeks to see if it went on sale after she bought it. She used to work retail and knew that if she kept the receipt and it went on sale, she could get a "price adjustment" on the item and she often ended up getting back 30-50% of the cost item because she was vigallent about checking to see if went on sale after she purchased it. She only bought new, but she knew how to maximize her savings.

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  3. Those are both excellent thrifty shopping tips, Starr and Miss M! There are many ways to obtain luxurious goods without paying retail.

    Never pay retail!!

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