Friday, September 16, 2011

Why I Love to Thrift

It’s like a sport (so that counts as exercise right?)
There is nothing like the thrill of the hunt.  Some people walk into a thrift store and are instantly overwhelmed.  I see possibilities and treasures lurking in every corner.  My first foray into thrifting began when I was 10.  We had recently moved to the US when my mom took me to the Salvation Army for school clothes and I remember being transfixed by the winter coats with touches of fur at the collar.  It took a while for my love for thrifting to develop because honestly if thrifting is your only option, it’s not quite as fun.  So I am fortunate that at this point in my life that thrifting is an enjoyable hobby where I can supplement my wardrobe and hone my hunting skills.

It’s eco-friendly
Thrifting is about reusing a product and giving it new life and function.  However it's still important to buy responsibly as sale goggles are a danger even at thrift stores.  Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean you should get it as it only increases waste.  I remember standing in the middle of a huge thrift store in Chicago wondering where all the merchandise came from and where it all will go.  I am guilty of being a mindless consumer so now I mentally bring my fashion wishlist with me to stay on task.

It’s affordable
Thrifting is an affordable way to supplement your wardrobe or try on trends that you may not be willing to spend a lot of money on.  Fashion is cyclical and what comes around goes around so there are many ways to choose items that will still feel current.  I look for skirts (easier to fit versus pants), boys blazers (great shrunken look at the sacrifice of the full mobility of your arms), dresses, and accessories such as belts and clutches.  Another tactic I use is to scan the racks for specific colors like cobalt blue and deep purple which are welcome additions to my wardrobe this fall.

It all goes towards a good cause
I once had an acquaintance in college question why I thrifted because wasn't I taking away clothing from those who need it?  After much thought, I realized that thrift stores exist to serve needs either by providing items at a lower cost, or by creating jobs or donating proceeds towards those that need it.  The thrift stores I frequent are ones that fund hospice care, children’s homes, and domestic violence shelters; and Goodwill frequently advertises that shopping at their store helps create jobs and provide funds for job training.

It’s addictive
What I love about thrifting is that you never know what you're going to find.   I truly believe in the old adage that one man's discards are another man's treasure.  Thrifting is also a bit of a history lesson, a photo album into certain seasons of your life.  More often, I'll find something that I have worn in the past hanging on a rack in a thrift store.  I'll spot terry cloth shorts from the 80s and fondly recall my favorite romper set I wore constantly as a kid.  I glimpse the 90s floral slip dresses and skirts that flash me back to high school when I wore them with my Doc Marten boots.  And then there was that Banana Republic phase when I was fresh out of college and diving into my career.  Most excitingly, the best part about thrifting is when I come across something vintage (defined as being at least 30 years old so the 80s really are creeping up to us now!).  But that's another story for another day!


  1. Where are your favorite thrift shops in Austin?

  2. Hiya Jamie, I cannot resist popping into any Goodwill when I'm near one. Savers and Thrift Town are pretty good too. Austin is full of savvy thrifters so I usually find my favorite items while traveling to other towns and cities!