Its funny how thrift shops have ceased to be solely patronized by the poverty-stricken. These days you’ll see yuppies and society matrons pulling hangers in second-hand stores, trying on second hand shoes, modeling preloved clothes and squealing with delight over their purchases.
For a decade now I’ve been getting my clothes (jeans, slacks, shirts and blouses) as well as shoes (trainers, mostly; and hiking boots) from second-hands stores and I haven’t bought anything new (read ‘from the malls’) in years. It’s not only an economic issue even though it is true that I’m as poor as the proverbial mice who inhabit churches and the occasional museum, it’s also an issue of fashion.
Fashion. Yes, you read that right. But I’ll get to that later.When you to the department stores or the malls, you might think that your choices are wide and limitless because there are so many stores. But after going into, say, four or five stores, you begin to notice that the clothes and the shoes are mostly alike. Stores follow trends, and they stock merchandize based on current trends and what the glossy magazines on what’s new and cool to wear given a certain period. So, after the three or four or stores, all the stocks look alike, and you end up buying what many others have also bought. Imagine how embarrassing it is to walk down the street and meet someone who’s wearing the same kind of shirt or pair of jeans.
Now the case is totally different when you buy from thrift shops. You literally get one-of-a-kind items. The clothes and shoes you get there cannot be found elsewhere for the same price, and you can be certain that there’ll be less than a 5% chance that you’ll find someone else wearing the same stuff you’ve bought.
Sure you have to get over your initial squeamishness about wearing some stranger’s cast-offs, but hey, think of at least two benefitsof wearing second hands:
(1) You are actually helping the environment by recycling clothes and clothes. Do research and find out how many pairs of shoes and how many shirts/blouses/jeans/shorts etc etc are produced on a daily basis. Think of the resources used, the manpower, the costs. How many pairs of shoes does a person need anyway? And so many people can’t even afford to buy food, much less clothing. Think of starving people in India, in Africa, in the Philippines and stop yourself from buying that $175 pair of shoes. Donate your money instead, or something else;
2) You are actually being fashionable by buying stuff second hand. You’d be amazed at how many high-end name brand clothes and footwear with name brands can be found in thrift shops. Many of them can’t even be bought in the local department stores or malls and can only be bought from online catalogs. One time I found a pair of Marc Fisher shoes (wedges) , and then in another store, another pair of the same well-known brand – leather boots! I would never in my life would’ve been able to afford buying Marc Fisher shoes retail from the mall; but thanks to second-hand clothing stores, I now have two pairs.