A beginner's guide to thrifting
Pre-loved fashions at The Address Boutique in Santa Monica. (Photo: Siel)
I managed to put together a reasonably presentable and totally recycled outfit for $14. And that’s not counting the $10 Seven for All Mankind black jeans, the $4 Michael Stars long-sleeve tee, the $4 cashmere-blend cable cardigan, and the many $3 real leather belts I’ve also adopted into my wardrobe over the past month.My secret is threefold: patience, pickiness and perseverance. I flip through every item on the rack, and I never go into the store unless I have at least half an hour to browse. For every 20 things I pick up, I try on maybe one and from those, I like maybe one out of every three items I bring into the dressing room.
What I learned from all those detours is that buying truly interesting and worthwhile items at an antique or thrift store takes a little practice, a little intuition, and a lot of patience…. If there’s something very particular in mind, I hold out until I find something that’s just right — or close enough with a modification or two.
Know your recipient. Some people, for whatever reason, would probably never embrace an item that wasn’t brand new, in the packaging (and returnable). Obviously, you will have to leave these people off your thrift score list. But do keep those in mind who have a “greener” mindset, or like funky, one-of-a-kind things. I would be quite flattered if a friend knew me well enough to show up with some weird vase or a velvet painting that made them think of me, since I have been an eager thrifting beaver since high school. I like old, funky, loved things, and I am not going to find that at a department store.
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