The Art of Thrifting

Tokyo Thrift Store
Image by Jeff Kramer via Flickr/ Creative Commons



The Art of Thrifting


By Contributor Patrice R. Talley:


As a child, my mother and I would visit thrift stores on Saturday afternoons. It became a routine—a quick shopping spree followed by lunch in the park. I remember my embarrassment when I walked into the two-dollar-stores and imagined what I would say if I ran into a classmate or friend.  On one particular visit I even begged my mother to let me stay in the car while she browsed around the store.
Of course, she said no.
I eventually had to realize two things:
First: no one cares what I do. Second: if a friend sees me at the thrift store they are probably shopping there, too. Besides, who doesn’t like finding one-of-a kind clothing for great prices?
Perceptions of the Thrift Store:
Recently, thrift store shopping has become popular. Fashionistas are saving dollars, using pocket change to buy cute clothing. Yet I still recall a time when thrifting was something to be frowned upon due to ideas people had about used clothing.
When you think about it, life is used. The water you drink is used and reused because of the water cycle. Think of the paper dollar in your pocket and how many thousands of people have touched it.
Used clothing does not equal unsanitary clothing.
Effective Thrifting Strategies   
Strategy 1: Though I’ve been guilty of feeling this way, the thrift store is not a lesser entity. Pretend that you are walking into Saks Fifth Avenue. Look carefully because you never know what treasure you will find.
Strategy 2: Keep an open-mind, and allow your creativity to flow. Be thorough when looking through the clothing racks. Look at the clothing, and think about how much you can change it to fit your personality (cutting off sleeves, threading embroidery, bleaching, etc.).
Strategy 3: Visit various thrift stores on different sides of town. There might be a rich lady who decided to give away her Chanel vintage purse somewhere on the other side of town. Maybe an older guy got a CD signed by Marvin Gaye and threw it in your nearest America’s Thrift Store.
Strategy 4: Visit frequently, but not too often. When your visits are random you tend to find the best treasures. If you are a thrift store addict (like myself), you probably know about delivery day. Do not go on the day of delivery or even the day after. Wait approximately three days to find great pieces for lower prices.
Strategy 5: Thrifting is a COMPETITION! You do not want another fashionista or fashionmista to steal that great deal so make sure that you are alert. Concentrate, and most importantly, have fun!
 Let the Competition begin!
A gift to readers in Birmingham…
Thrift Stores in Birmingham Metropolitan Area: (In no particular order)
1.     America’s Best Thrift Store (Fultondale, Fairfield, Forestdale)
2.     Plato’s Closet (Hoover, Trussville)
3.     The Foundry (Fairfield)
4.     The Attic (Green Springs)
5.     Salvation Army (Hoover, Green Springs)
6.     Love Lady (Crestwood/Irondale)
7.     Mission Impossible (Forestdale)
8.     Vapor (Inverness, also known as 280)
9.     What’s On 2nd (Central Downtown)
10.  Renaissance (Inverness)


Patrice Talley About Patrice Talley

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