I never saw myself becoming a thrifter. I used to be among those who wondered why someone would willingly shop second hand fashion. I had this vision in my mind of hoards of ragged, outdated clothing. And the germs? Oh my, the germs! You know what? I was wrong…dead wrong! One weekend, a friend asked for my help with finding outfits for an upcoming trip. We went to a few stores and then she suggested that we go to Goodwill. We perused the racks and I came upon this gorgeous African print dress. It blew my mind that this beautiful, apparently handmade creation was sitting there with a tag on it for $5.99. I examined that dress inside-out, convinced that something had to be wrong with it. I put the dress back on the rack, still skeptical, but it kept calling my name lol. I could not leave it there…a perfectly beautiful dress. My friend could not fit the dress, but it ended up being exactly what a client was looking for as a birthday outfit. I was hooked! I knew that if this treasure was sitting at the thrift store, there had to be so much more to be found. The treasure hunt was on for me.
Along the way, I let go of my hang-ups with second-hand shopping. The germs? Here’s the reality. I haven’t found this to be a problem. In fact, when you consider the lax return policies of most retailers, we are probably wearing second hand clothing more than we even realize. Furthermore, the vast majority of thrift/resale shops that I’ve visited have been just as clean and organized as any other retailer. I recently visited Seeds Resale Store in Woodstock, GA. The store is beautifully organized and offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The store has a wonderful selection of fashionable items (home décor and nursery items, too) at very reasonable prices. I can’t wait to visit again! Needless to say, thrifting has become a new way of life for me. Read on to find out what I enjoy most about it!
You will often find new items
How many dresses, blouses, or pairs of shoes do you have in your closet with tags still on them or that have only been worn once or twice? For many of us, the answer is “a lot”. These unworn and gently used clothing are very likely to end up donated to a thrift store or sold in a garage sale. During most of my shopping trips, I find clothing with tags still on them. Like this Doncaster dress pictured below. MSRP $295
The Thrill of the Hunt
I’ve known people to decorate entire homes with items found while bargain-hunting. You never know what you may find…from home décor to sporting equipment and so much more. What I have found is that you have to have an open mind. If you go shopping for a very specific item, you can become frustrated and disappointed. You’re likely to be more successful if you are shopping for a certain category of item (e.g. special occasion dresses versus looking for a purple mini dress, living room decorations versus shopping for a gold lamp). My favorite finds are usually retro looks like these dainty pink dresses by Talbots.
Yes, you can save lots of money by shopping thrift/resale shops. My expenses for wardrobe for photoshoots and fashion events have decreased substantially. However, be careful. Some shops brand themselves as resale shops, but their prices are more in line with standard retail stores. Another fact that you should keep in mind is that consignment shops generally have higher prices (though usually still reasonable) than most thrift stores.
When evaluating your thrifting haul, be aware of items designed by high end designers who have produced lower priced fashion lines in collaboration with mass market retailers. Still great finds, but know that the value isn’t the same as high-end pieces by these designers. Here are a few examples:
Simply Vera by Vera Wang available at Kohl’s and Macy’s
Christian Siriano for Payless
Stella McCartney’s sustainable fashion lines with Gap and H&M
Karl Lagerfeld for H&M *In 2004, Lagerfeld became the first designer to collaborate with H&M
Alexander McQueen for Target
If it’s what you like, pick it up! But make sure that you’re knowledgeable of the actual value of various fashion lines.
I enjoy hunting for fashion treasures so much, that I have transformed my online boutique into a resale shop. If you’re not up to the bargain-hunting escapades, I have done the work for you! Shop Charmed Life Apparel for new, gently used, and always fashionable women’s clothing!
I look forward to sharing my thrifting stories with you along the way, so stay tuned!
Do you enjoy thrifting? Tell us about your favorite thrift story!
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The creator of Truly Charmed, Antoinette Cain, delights in all things fashion, all things fostering empowerment, and all things that inspire ambition. Antoinette started this fashion and lifestyle blog to celebrate those who are living their Charmed Lives and to empower those who haven't yet realized that life may be imperfect, but in every day there is a Charmed moment.