The hunt, the chase. I am not a 'brand' person. But there is something exciting about finding something deemed 'valuable' by its label. More so when the store hasn't realised it either. Many thrift stores or op-shops are clueing into 'labels' and charging higher prices for these items: it's a whole other debate about the benefit of additional money for charities against the disenchantment of the customer. I was excited this trip that the staff hadn't yet realised the value of eighties revivalist items: they were still awesomely priced.
The individuality. People I see and admire in the street are often wearing something unusual. A detail, a cut, a fabric that I have never seen before. I can't find that in stores. In stores everything looks the same. It stifles your creativity. There is always debate in the blogosphere about age-appropriate dressing—see this amazing post over at Suzanne Carillo Style Files, and the subsequent comments for some opinion about this. It is what got me thinking about today's post. For me thrifting takes away the associations clothing has to a certain style or age. It allows garments to be themselves and it allows you to reinvent what you can do with them. Thrifted clothes lose the judgements that retail throws on them. I'm not sure I am explaining this well, but thrifters know what I mean.
The value. This is detrimental to the times when, for some reason, you do need to go Retail, and suddenly realise how incredibly expensive Retail is. I bought twenty three items last Saturday including two hardly-ever-worn pairs of shoes, a velvet dress and a wool and merino, loomed in Italy, made in Melbourne (when they used to do that sort of thing) winter coat for $216. That's an average of $9.39 an item. The only advantage of retail—and this is dubious—is time. There is a perception (or is it just me) that when you need something—let's say a dress for a wedding barbeque—you are more likely to find it quicker if you go retail. The expectation that you will be able to find something proves more frustratingly elusive than the unreliability of thrifting. There is really no reason—besides for under-things, tights and essentials like plain t-shirts and singlets—to go anywhere but thrifting! Retail isn't worth the time or money.
The sustainability, the morality. Cost is one thing. You could possibly get something on one of the mass producing sites like Choies or SheInside for similar prices to thrifting, but the quality and the quirk is not there. And then there is the ideology of mass production in labor-abusive places. There is an awful lot wrong with the speeded-up carousel of 'what's trending', with over-consumerism, with the effects of production and waste. Thrifting is the answer. Of course there still have to be the 'morally corrupt' who purchase quality items retail and then send them to op-shops for me to peruse. But I am willing to be less judgemental if it benefits my feel-good buying.
Who Wore It Better?
Getting linky today with:
And What She Wears with: Dawnelle from Just Dawnelle Brandi from Run Style Run Jalynn from The Red Closet Diary Rebecca from Mommy in Heels Meagan from Because of Jackie