Our second Friend Fridays installment comes from Wisconsin native and current Wichita thrifter Stephanie Barnard. When Steph isn’t writing in her capacities as a journalist and communications professional, you can find her blogging at Verbette.
Oddly enough, I don’t think I ever set foot in a thrift shop (other than for Halloween costumes) until I was 15 or so. That’s when I got my first job and was expected to pay for more of my own discretionary purchases. Of course, minimum wage only gets you so far, and Goodwill was within walking distance of school and work; it quickly became my new afterschool hangout. The rest is history, as became my first choice for clothes shopping during the rest of my high school, college and now post-college years.
A quick scan of my closet shows that about 50 percent of my clothes, if not more, are from thrift stores. I support thrifting clothes for the same reasons as for thrifting anything else – it’s economical, eco-friendly and unique. But buying used clothes can be a tricky business.
Over the years, I’ve learned that I should only buy a piece of clothing if (a) it fits well and (b) I will wear it often, no matter how cheap (or not so cheap) it is. For that reason, I rarely buy T-shirts or tank tops used; the stretchy cotton is just too conformed to someone else’s body, and it’s likely to wear out quickly because it probably wasn’t constructed well in the first place. (Shoes are tricky too.) Jeans can be hit or miss – I usually buy new or acquire from friends for “nice jeans,” and thrift for “weekend jeans.” I have much better luck with dresses, skirts and. If you like polyester blends, you’ll love shopping at thrift stores, that’s for sure.
There’s also the option of thrifting clothes and then having them tailored. For example, I’ve bought a sewing machine.)for $4 and then had it hemmed to knee length for $12.50. That might seem a little silly, but overall, you’re still spending about as much – or less – as you would buying it new, plus you get to customize it to your exact specifications. Of course, if you can sew, you can do this yourself for free. (Note to self: acquire
One of the great things about thein Wisconsin is that they often get Target’s old merchandise. This dress was new with tags, and I got it for about $5. I especially love the print.