Monday, September 17, 2012

A Thrifter's Apologia

Part I: The Apologia

Some of you may know that I love to go to thrift store shopping, just as I know that some of you love it as well (I won't mention any names). I also know that some of you have yet to be won over to this particular sport of skill and instinct (again, I won't mention any names). What started as a necessity - my sense of creativity and style couldn't be accommodated by the mall and my high school income - has really blossomed into an enjoyable adventure. For some, the term thrift store conjures up images of dirty spaces filled with heaping, disorganized piles of stained and tattered clothing, a faint whiff of smelly feet and armpits in the air. Though such places do exist, they are few and far between. Most "chain" thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc), sit pretty high on the spectrum of cleanliness and organization, and many carry overstock goods from large retailers (such as Target). That being said, here are a few of my strongest arguments for becoming a "thrifter."

You try brands you might not otherwise, and are often pleasantly surprised. I recently found a pair of jeans from The Limited that I love. The Limited is not a place I regularly shop, I just don't, but now I know that their size... fits me perfectly.

You find styles that aren't widely available. Sometimes trends that just don't work for your body can really take hold, reducing other options, or an item that you love isn't trendy at the moment so it disappears. Two examples. One, when low rise jeans reached their zenith, many retailers reduced their other pant styles to accomodate the trend. This style is not the most flattering pant for people with a pear body type, though many attempted it. Two, the turtleneck. Turtlenecks are making a comeback this season, but I have never fallen out of love with them, even when nobody sold them because they weren't cool. Go ahead. Judge me.

You can get more clothes and better quality on a tight budget. This is one aspect that really got me from the start. I would often find special occasion dresses (often from Banana Republic or Gap) that were of much better quality than what was available for teenagers in "teenage" stores, at a fraction of the price.

You can create a unique look that isn't strangled by trend, but is "pre- trend." When I thrift, I might try on fifteen things and take home just one. I try to select things that are in colors that I know look good on me, but are styles that aren't currently ubiquitous. Some are flops, and they go back to the rack, but others just feel right even though not alot of people are wearing it. For example, before dolman sleeves were all the rage, I found a really unique sweater with this type of sleeve in its most dramatic form. It was in excellent condition, was a color that flattered, fit perfectly, and just felt like it "worked." The style seemed a bit iffy at the time, but for $2 I could take the risk. It turned out to be a real winner, and people alway ask where I got it. Consider my secret revealed.

And finally, you do the earth a favor when you reuse, well, most things.

Part II: A [Plaid] Practicum

On a recent visit to the local Goodwill, I ran across this red and blue flannel button down shirt. Which, as you can see, I bought. Not so adventurous, you say, but I have a thing about plaid flannel. I just can't seem to wear it and feel pulled together. Maybe its because I'm from the country and I associate flannel with farmers and cozy pajamas, or because I wore a bit too much of it in the grungy days of the 90's. Whatever the reason, this is the first plaid and/or flannel shirt I have bought in years. Well, the colors were flattering, the fit was good, and the price was right, so I took the plunge despite my fear of looking sloppy. After some playing around, this is how I styled it for the transition into fall. I include this gratuitous Part II because I know you people like pictures.

And a special thanks to my photographer.


  1. LOVE your blog! I also rate thrifting as one of my favorite past times and began for the same reasons. Love the photographer tribute! Too cute!

    1. Bernadette! Thank you, and thanks for reading! Hope all is well!

  2. I love this shirt on you, Masha!!!

  3. Lovely blog!!! I am smitten with your topics and ease of writing! :) Also, I have to commend your ladylikeness in notttt broadcasting your size jeans, though from your cute pics I'm sure it would be a brag-worthy number. It's more old fashioned to preserve a little mystery about such personal details - and I love that! Very Grace Kelly :).

    Anyways I am a new follower! Looking forward to more of your thoughts!

    1. Kallah, thank you for your kind words!

  4. Oh! And right on about the turtleneck! I buy a new black one every winter and wear it to shreds :)


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