Though thrifting seems to be on the up-and-up there are always going to be certain misconceptions about it. Sean Brown, founder of The Art of Reuse, has created a list 7 Tips to Thrift to clarify common misconceptions, apprehensions or for those who just don’t know where to start.
1. GOD MADE DIRT: The first step to this is letting go of the fact that more often than not you could be buying someone else’s old stuff. The art is finding the treasure in things people throw away or let go. Thrift is not about a class system (anymore). Shopping second hand doesn’t mean that you’re poorer or lesser than anyone spending big bucks at the mall; in fact, by shopping thrift you’re outlining a unique style that is all your own while (as cliché as it sounds) sustaining the planet you live on.
2. VINTAGE vs. THRIFT: Thrift shopping is different from vintage shopping; vintage hunting is only one aspect of thrift shopping, if that makes sense. Thrifting is buying something for less than its original value. That being said, when you shop on Ebay, you’re thrift shopping. When you shop at Winners, Marshall’s, and even when you’re looking to get the most for your dollar at the mall, you’re thrift shopping. It shouldn’t be confined to visiting your local vintage shop. Vintage, as described to me by mentors, is a piece of clothing or an object bearing a time stamp of 20 years or that illustrates a particular era in history. Your dad’s high school varsity jacket, Mom’s wedding dress, and the first Polaroid model, these are vintage pieces. All in all, thrift, whether it is widely understood, has now blurred the line into contemporary.
3. BUY LESS BUT BUY BETTER: I don’t walk out with bags full of clothing like I used to when I first started thrifting. Now more than ever I’ve become extremely picky about my final choices before I line up to cash out. I ask myself if I’ll wear something years from now, if this is an impulse buy, do I even need it? This approach allows me to narrow in on keeping my wardrobe straight to the point. This won’t be the case for everyone, but there is no longevity buying in excess. We all know that one person with closets full of stuff and will forever claim they have no clothes.
4. THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Style isn’t just how you present your outfit, it’s your taste in where to eat, the music you listen to, and of course how and where you live. If you’ve got your own space, I’m sure you take pride in how you present it. The amount of time spent on finding the perfect pair of jeans should transfer into defining the character of your humble abode. I couldn’t possibly break down what house wares (in particular) would work for you but luckily, The Art of Reuse has an extensive collection of them available at interim.theartofreuse.ca. #shamelessplug
5. TAPER TANTRUMS: Even after you bought a piece of clothing, you may realize it’s not entirely what you want it to be, and that’s okay. Go crazy! Make friends with an amazing tailor. Alter the fit, deconstruct, it’s yours! I haven’t altered things often in my experience with thrift, but I’ve seen people do remarkable things to items that were once basic or unflattering.
6. WHATS OLD IS NEW: Thrifting is not just style hunting, at times, it’s a history lesson. All the world famous brands and even brands you’ve never heard of all come with their own stories that hang on the racks. American Eagle, now a haven for teeny boppers, was once a store that carried American heritage brands like Timberland, Woolrich and even Sperry’s.
7. NO RETURN NO REWARD: Thrift is persistence. You don’t just go once, you keep going. This develops a habit for what I call ‘The thrill of the find’. Even at The Art of Reuse we have trips where we find nada. It’s all a part of the art. Timing, patience and good taste (which I suppose is subjective) are the keys to successful thrift shopping.
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