Most consumers fall on one or the other side of the secondhand divide: they either do it or they don’t. Whether one’s choice stems from childhood memories, associations with un/pleasant memories, a desire or need to purchase clothes for a (lot) less, or some other factor, there doesn’t seem to be much of a wishy-washy position on the subject.
I’ve always been an avid thrifter. As a child, it was simply a necessity to make the family budget work. As a teen, I was able to stretch a retail salary quite a bit by mainly shopping thrift stores instead of the mall; a zebra pencil skirt and a plethora of vintage leather belts were some of my favorite finds as a teen. Now, as an adult, shopping secondhand allows me to reduce waste and my impact on the environment while finding pieces that every other woman in town won’t be donning. And the price tags don’t hurt either.
Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite finds, straight from the thrift store…
Silk blouse from Jcrew: This simple black blouse must be from an older collection, because the silk is thick and luxurious, quite unlike the thin, transparent silk of Jcrew’s current tops. Not only did I find this blouse fro $3.99 at a thrift store, I have worn it countless times…and it’s still going strong. That’s quite a contrast with today’s pieces from Jcrew: buttonholes that aren’t cleanly stitched, material that is so thin it sports holes after one wash. I haven’t seen this sort of thick, velvety silk at Jcrew in quite some time.
Sweater from Vince: Another $3.99 find, this grey Vince sweater was simply missing its belt. No problem! It’s extremely cozy and should keep me warm for quite a few winters to come.
Silk skirt from Wyeth by Todd Magill: Wyeth by Todd Magill is a defunct line that produced beautiful, wearable pieces. I keep a sharp eye for Wyeth pieces to scoop up, but so far this has been my only score. The heavyweight satin is luxurious and perfectly cut; the drape and movement are simply perfect. This classic skirt was a mere $6 , and I plan on keeping it forever.
Heels from Nine West: I don’t really discriminate when it comes to shoe shapes, but the pointy toe–whether “in” or “out”–will always be my favorite, especially when I find a comfortable, never-worn heel for $7.99. And is anyone else annoyed that regular heels are now being referred to as “single soled”? This sort of reference turns a basic, timeless shape into a trend and pushes fashion ever more into a fad-driven machine where even a classic shape is viewed as such.
Whether a shopper is looking for timeless pieces or a way to emulate trends without hitting the mall, the secondhand market is a great way to stock a wardrobe with quality pieces for less.