Saturday, September 3, 2011

double take

Someone asked me why i bothered to spend time op-shopping the other day.
Here is where it began...I first got into thrift shopping when i was 12. We didn't have much money, and i wanted to express myself more through my clothing. I stumbled into one of our local church opportunity shops and came out with a shirt i loved...for 10 cents. There was no turning back. Its a pretty fundamental part of my life.

My take on thrift shopping:
= I think there is enough stuff in the world, i don't want to contribute to that by buying more new stuff...not when i can source it secondhand. Okay, underwear i buy. (i know someone would email and ask me that one!). I do want to try making some though. Yup, really.

= I really don't get paying hundreds of dollars for any item of clothing. I don't have that many hundreds of dollars for clothes to begin with, but still...

= i like the unique aspect of buying second hand. It's perhaps a little different, or vintage.

= everything comes with it's own story, my imagination likes that.

= it's kinder to my skin as well as my pocket...i wrote a piece about organic clothing for Organic NZ magazine awhile back and the chemical residue in new non-organic clothing blew my mind. Cotton mainly. Not good for the earth, oh no. Or me...if i buy secondhand the yuckies have mainly leached out. I am not a purist but this is a bonus.

= If i am walking past an op shop i usually pop in and do a quick scout. I am always on the lookout for good fabric (it is so expensive new and i use vintage prints for my GrowMama babies and kids range of clothing), craft supplies, books and clothing to upcycle. My eye is pretty finely honed after all these years. I can speed rummage an op-shop and be out smiling in ten minutes easy.

= Thrift shopping has furnished homes and whole wardrobes for me. It has me feel like anything is possible, even if i have only a handful of dollars in my pocket.

= i like the whole underground economy, LETS systems, thrift stores, free stores, garage sales...

= i like the interactions i have with the people that shop in the same places i opens my world to a broader one, a friendly one at that.

= I like that the money i pay goes (mostly) to charities doing good work. That's a good feeling.

= Oh yes, then there is the thrill of finding quality labelled clothing for a teeny tiny fraction of the original cost...i do find that perversely satisfying.
I have a thing for knitwear. A few days ago i came home with this top. I had ripped off the Salvation Army $5 tag when we'd gotten home. This morning i took a closer look at it. To find it was brand new with original tags ... for $238. I did a doubletake. I had quibbled internally over paying $5. Eek.

1 comment:

  1. I especially agree about the environmental side of buying secondhand - both from not buying too much new stuff but also that particularly for children's clothing, sheets, etc, the more washed, the better. I wish I had more time, patience and imagination to look through the racks for myself - reckon you need that to find the really good scores!